Exercise Efficiently

By John Hart Published 07/12/2007 | Fitness

Many people do not workout because they are unwilling to make the perceived time commitment associated with starting a workout program. To get folks over that hurdle, below are two relatively simple strategies to build the most muscle, lose the most fat, and become fitter in the least amount of time:

  • Perform only basic compound exercises when strength training

  • Perform high intensity interval training rather than enduring long cardio sessions at a relatively slow pace.

Compound Exercises

Compound exercises are exercises that involve multiple muscle groups. Some examples include squats, bench press, and pullups. When performing these exercises you are getting the most bang for your buck because you are working several muscle groups at the same time. For instance, bench press works chest, shoulders, and triceps. Unless you're a bodybuilder and have hours to spend in the gym, why spend your time doing specific isolation exercises when you could hit many body parts at the same time? Instead, do three sets of squats, pull-ups, and bench press for eight to twelve repetitions to failure and you've got yourself a full body workout in 30-40 minutes. Do that twice a week (feel free to switch in and out exercises working similar muscle groups such as incline bench press or dumbbell bench press instead of bench press) and you will be well on your way to adding muscle. The more muscle mass you are able to add, the faster your metabolism will become because muscle burns up to ninety percent more calories than fat. By adding three to five pounds of muscle you could actually burn 100 - 250 additional calories per day.

High Intensity Interval Training

Have you ever spent 45 minutes or more doing cardio because you heard that you don't start burning fat until after that point? Well, there is a much more efficient way to go about cardio training. Instead, perform ten one-minute intervals of perceived high intensity work (this work can vary from sprinting, to the exercise bike, to walking fast depending on your current fitness level) with a 30 second break in between. This type of exercise will not only burn more calories in a shorter amount of time, but will also increase your metabolism through out the day as well as raise your level of overall fitness. This workout will take you 15 minutes (maybe 20 minutes if you include a quick warm-up and cool down). Try this twice a week on days when you are not strength training.

These workouts are highly efficient. You'll probably spend more time surfing the Internet today than it would take to complete one of these workouts. So what are you waiting for? Get to it!