Lockdown won’t last forever, but it’s a great opportunity to think about the best way to use limited exercise time.
Gone are the days when we could travel for miles and spend hours exercising.
You might be missing lengthy bike rides in another county or all-day hikes in a national beauty spot.
But very few of us need to exercise for hours.
Marathon runners, sportive cyclists, and adventure racers have specific training needs.
Let’s discuss the best way to use one hour of exercise time if you want to lose weight, shape up, build a bit of muscle, and get fit.
The 5 Pillars Of A Workout Routine
I advise most people to incorporate these five things into their weekly fitness routine.
1. Strength Training/Resistance Training
This can be done with traditional weights, with other items like kettlebells, or with bodyweight.
Strength training is important for muscles and bones.
It’s not just for people who want to get muscly!
Strength training helps offset natural rates of muscle and bone loss and will help you age better. (1)
2. Cardiovascular Training
When I talk about cardio, I mean any exercise you can do for 20+ minutes that gets your heart rate up.
Fast walking, running, cycling, swimming, hiking, paddle boarding are all great examples of cardio.
Cardio work is important for heart health and general wellness.
High-intensity interval training is the style of cardio I do with most of my clients.
It should take you to the limit of your current ability for 5-15 minutes.
It’s amazing for boosting your fitness, burning calories, and stimulating muscles.
4. Stretching And Mobility
Every exercise routine should incorporate some kind of soft tissue work.
It helps your body adapt to your workouts and keeps you moving well.
5. Relaxing Exercise
This category might include yoga, leisure walking, wild swimming, tai chi, or anything that doesn’t tax your nervous system.
Choose something that helps you unwind.
How To Use One Hour Of Exercise
For Fat Loss
If your key goal is fat loss or transforming your body shape, a lot of focus will be on nutrition.
Here’s how to boost your fat loss with limited exercise time:
– Warm-up, then combine resistance training and HIIT for a 20-30 minute session
– Do a circuit that includes bodyweight moves and light weights (kettlebell is ideal)
– Work hard and keep the focus on intensity (use the rest of the hour to cool down)
I’ve got lots of short fat loss workouts on my YouTube – try them out!
If your main goal is getting fitter, being able to exercise for longer without huffing and puffing, and generally feeling healthier:
– Choose a form of exercise you can do for 40-50 minutes at moderate intensity
– This might be outdoor cardio, a cardio machine, or even a light barbell circuit
– Include some “efforts” of slightly higher intensity so you don’t plateau
If you really want to see progress in your muscular strength, and you’re not too bothered about losing fat or getting fitter in a cardio sense:
– Warm-up well and then do a moderate to a heavy weights session
– Focus on full-body or push/pull/legs depending on your routine
– Keep weights as heavy as possible for the 8-10 rep range
If this one hour of exercise is important because you desperately want some time to yourself:
– Choose an environment that gets you away from pressures and commitments
– Decide whether you need low-level, relaxing exercise or an intense workout
– Focus on how you feel and what you want to achieve
If you’re struggling to manage your stress levels and want to take an hour out of your day to tackle it with exercise:
– Get outdoor or find an indoor area that feels relaxing
– Turn off phone notifications or leave your phone elsewhere
– Choose relaxing exercises like yoga or something which will boost your mood, like dance or low-level cardio
Want to know the best type of exercise for your goals?
Send me a message and I’ll get back to you with recommendations.
Until next time, stay active and stay healthy,
‘The number one rated Personal Trainer In Henley and Oxfordshire’
Studies referenced in today’s blog: