Fitness

How to get the most out of an express workout

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Fitness

How to get the most out of an express workout

Finding time in your busy schedule to work out can be difficult. We've found a solution: express workouts. These five- to 30-minute workouts are becoming popular around the country. With the promise of helping you get fit in 30 minutes or less, express workouts are popping up in quick-hit fitness classes and in apps that promise results in as little as seven minutes.

We asked two experts what express workouts are all about and how they can really help us get fit.

What are express workouts?
We live in a time when everyone wants to fast-forward moments—get tasks done quickly, efficiently and without affecting their daily schedules. That's how you can look at express workouts: a fast-forwarded version of exercising. Express workouts can take as little as five minutes or as long as 30 minutes. But the workouts aren't just a stroll in the park. According to Jason Bay, a personal trainer based out of Hamilton, Ont., you'll want to get as many muscles working at a time as possible, which ups the intensity of the workout. 

Are express workouts effective?
If you're looking for short-term, immediate results, this workout isn't for you. Bay explains that even if you perform express workouts every day, you're not going to immediately lose fat or gain muscle. That's because you're probably not stimulating the muscle enough to quickly create muscle growth. And there are 3,500 calories in a pound. Ask yourself: how many calories are you burning in 10 minutes?

Still, if you perform 10 minutes every day, your body will change, but the results will be gradual, says Bay.

How do I get the best results from an express workout?
First, consider your goal, explains Susan Stuart, personal trainer based out of Burlington, Ont. Then you can determine how to tailor your express workout to achieve the best results.

If weight loss or achieving long, lean muscles is your goal, Stuart says the intensity of the work performed during the session is more important than the length of the workout. Try performing 10 reps or 30-second drills of four to five different exercises. Continuously repeat them with little or no rest for the duration of your workout. It's important to remember proper nutrition is also a factor in weight loss.

If getting stronger is your goal, then your recovery time needs to be longer. Stuart suggests taking three to five minutes of rest between exercises, depending on how hard you are working your muscles. The rest time allows for full recovery.

If enhancing endurance is your goal, then you have to focus on both rest periods and intensity. Instead of short, intermittent breaks, she says intensity and rest periods should occur at a 1:1 ratio. Stuart recommends sticking to 30- to 60-seconds intervals.

When should I do express workouts?
Before a meal, when you wake up, around lunchtime or when you hit that mid-afternoon lull. Bay suggests not performing these exercises after dinner or before bed because with short, intense workouts, you get your blood flowing and your body pumped with energy.

Are there any benefits to express workouts?
These workouts can help even the busiest among us to fit exercise into our daily routines. But that doesn't mean you should ditch all your full-length workouts. Both Bay and Stuart suggest that express workouts are more of a starting point than an everyday routine.

Bay believes express workouts will help you maintain a schedule and eventually lead to a longer workout regiment. He says if you commit to 10 minutes a day, at one point down the road it might turn into 30 minutes or a 10-minute workout, three times a day. His philosophy is that small and immediate change will have longer-lasting effects.

Stuart says we all need 30 to 45 minutes of exercise a day. However, 15 to 30 minutes is better than nothing.

How can I do express workouts at home?
Bay recommends doing multi-joint exercises (or compound moves), which require moving more than one muscle group at a time. They are known to impact your full body and are great calorie burners.

Bay and Stuart recommended trying the following moves for 10 reps or 30 seconds each. Rest then repeat all five moves, continuing for 15 minutes.

1. Mountain climbers

2. Burpees 

3. Renegade rows

4. Squats with shoulder presses

5. Run on the spot

Try functional fitness to help you get in shape for everyday activities. 


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