Maximizing Your Workout Time

Whether you are busy working long hours, taking care of kids, or running around trying to fit everything into a day where there never seems to be enough time, fitting a workout in can often feel impossible. Couple that with the lack of motivation we often feel during the cold and dark winter months and before you know it, it’s spring and you are scrambling to try and fit back into your summer clothes.

Here’s a workout that will help you stay fit and can be done in 30 minutes!

Circuit training has been known to torch calories in a short period of time. Instead of running on the treadmill at one pace or straining yourself in the weight room for an hour, combine cardio and strength training circuits for an overall, calorie-burning workout. Because you are not resting (rest periods are only 30 seconds) between sets, you keep your heart rate up, giving you a cardio workout while you tone and strengthen your muscles. Circuit training and interval training is often used during the off season with athletes to keep up their fitness levels, improve endurance, and create stronger muscles.

I find doing this 30 minute workout in the morning is a great way to start my day. It kicks my day off on the right foot and I know that no matter what comes up during the day that I’ve already gotten in 30 minutes of exercise in the morning.

Here’s how it works:

*Warm up for 5 minutes (brisk walking, jumping rope, jumping jacks, etc)
*Combine 3 minutes of strength training with 2 minutes of cardio for each circuit. Repeat 4-5 times.
*Cool down for 5-10 minutes (depending on how much you need). Don’t forget to stretch really well at the end of your workout.

Exercises in the workout can be changed depending on which part of the body you want to work. Circuits can contain upper body moves to solely work upper body one day and then switched to work lower body another. Choose a combination to get a total body workout.

Example Circuit:

Warm up: 5 minutes of walking, biking, elliptical, jumping rope, jumping jacks, etc. (you choose something to get your blood flowing and your heart rate up)

Circuit 1
Strength: 3 minutes (upper body)
10-15 reps Lateral Raises (works shoulders)
10-15 reps bicep curls
10-15 reps triceps dips
15-30 reps abdominal work

Cardio: 2 minutes
30 seconds of jumping jacks
30 seconds high knees
30 seconds of jumping jacks
30 seconds high knees

Circuit 2
Strength: 3 minutes (lower body)
12-20 reps forward lunges
12-20 reps squats
12-20 reps calf raises
15-30 reps abdominal exercises

Cardio: 2 minutes
30 seconds jump rope
30 seconds lateral skaters
30 seconds jump rope
30 seconds lateral skaters

REMEMBER – This is just an example of circuits you can incorporate. A circuit equals 3 minutes of strength and 2 minutes of cardio. You can choose what strength moves and cardio moves you do. Switch it up each circuit to work different muscles and maximize your workout. It’s only 30 minutes, so challenge yourself and try not to spend more than 30 seconds of rest in between moves or circuits. This will help keep your heart rate up, burn tons of calories, and give you the most bang for your buck..err time.

Use this to substitute longer workouts on busy days or do the 30 minute circuit routine 3 days per week (not on consecutive days) along with 30-60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise (walking, jogging, biking, swimming, etc) 2-3 days per week for a healthy, weekly workout routine!


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