OK, so treadmills and crunches aren’t everybody’s cup of tea. But if you are looking to get into better shape or improve your fitness this year, there are a few things you can do to make it a little bit easier.
The personal trainers at Nuffield Health have shared some top time saving exercise tips that will get you on the right track and keep you there – even when your schedule is against you.
Time saving exercise tips
1. Head out early
You may not like it, but getting up early to go to the gym really does make sense. If you have a partner at home, squeezing in your exercise first thing in the morning means that they will be there to handle the task of getting the kids up and dressed while you get fit (yes!). By leaving early, you can miss the traffic and get to use your favourite gym equipment before everyone else arrives. And then when your session is done you can simply slip back to your usual daily routine with minimal disruption.
2. Join an express class
Express exercise classes get the job done quickly on those days when time is at a premium. High intensity (HIIT) classes pack a punch in just 15-30 minute. Doing two or three HIIT sessions a week will help increase your cardio fitness and get your blood pumping and burn calories in no time. Speak to your gym to find out if they run these express exercise classes.
Remember that any high intensity training should be mixed with lower intensity exercise to keep your body in peak condition. Here’s a simple guide to what an optimal 7-day fitness routine looks like.
3. Pack your bag the night before
You can cut down on the morning madness by packing your gym bag the night before. Lay out all your kit – trainers, socks, top, bottoms, underwear, towel, water bottle, headphones – so all you have to do is get up and go. If your new to the gym and not sure what to wear, you can get some tips on what kit to buy here.
4. Go bare faced
Putting on a full face of makeup before heading to the gym is going to cut into your prescious time without any real benefits. Streaky mascara and patchy foundation during a workout isn’t a good look! Save yourself the effort and go makeup-free – you look gorgeous enough without it.
5. Mix up a post-workout smoothie in advance
When the clock is against you, it’s tempting to miss out any part of your gym routine that doesn’t feel important – like your post-gym snack. However, this element of your workout is essential to your recovery and overall fitness. So, prepare your post-workout snack the night before you head to the gym. Whipping up a berry smoothie with berries, oats, yogurt, milk, nuts and seeds and popping it in the fridge will allow you to quickly refuel straight after your workout.
6. Run, cycle or speed walk to the gym
If you live close enough, you can save time on your pre-workout warm up by running, cycling or speed walking to your gym or leisure centre. Not only will you arrive completely ready for your workout to begin, but you’ll also have added an extra element to your exercise routine, too.
7. Leave your mobile phone in your locker
The urge to read texts, check social media, answer calls or shuffle music is far too distracting when we’re trying to focus on a speedy workout. Save yourself some time by leaving your phone in the changing room and use the gym’s entertainment system to listen to music instead. If you really must have your phone on in case of emergencies, change your settings so only priority calls can come through and then put it out of arm’s reach.
8. Set yourself a circuit and repeat
Planning what exercises you’re going to do in advance can save lots of time. Come up with your own circuit (or ask a personal trainer at your gym to create one for you) and run through it as many times as possible over 30 minutes, taking as few rest periods as you comfortably manage.
9. Alternate body parts
In order to exercise effectively you should rest each body part during your workout. To save time on breaks between exercises, plan ahead to alternate the body parts you complete your routine. For example: work your torso during the first part of the circuit and then move onto your legs – you torso will rest while your legs works out and vice-versa.