Sometimes, doing less means living more. It’s especially true when it comes to working out. Let’s be honest, we’re busy. Work, family, friends, and fun take up a lot of time. But, lack of time is no excuse to skip out on exercise.
The alternatives are not very appealing. Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other preventable medical conditions are becoming more prevalent as an increasing number of people opt for a sedentary lifestyle, instead of an active one.
Stick to what works
Consider this; at least 80 percent of Americans don’t meet the daily recommendations for exercise. Given this fact, there is a huge push to find the smallest, most efficient forms of exercise that deliver better results in less time. Don’t try to reinvent fitness, just stick with what works. Use these proven principles for creating and completing badass workouts that take up less time and require less equipment.
Proven Principle #1 – Short bursts of high-intensity intervals
Workouts that alternate between all out effort and brief recover can increase cardiovascular fitness and enhance our body’s fat burning ability. Runners can transition between periods of walking, jogging, and running. Not a runner? No worries. You can swim, bike, row, jump rope or perform bodyweight exercises set to times intervals. You can also use circuit based weight training sessions to train cardio and strength during one workout.
When it’s time to complete an interval workout, consider using a clock or stopwatch to measure performance. Cardio based workouts can be set to a 2:1, work to rest ratio. Here, you will sprint or rest for twice as long as you jog or walk. 60 seconds work followed by 30 seconds rest is a good example of this technique in action.
Strength based gym workouts can also be intensified using a timer. Select a combination of exercises and complete as many rounds as possible in 8 or 10 minutes without stopping. Or, create a workout that is to be complete as fast as possible. Working swiftly and with good form, this type of workout will tax the entire body and energy system.
Proven Principle #2 – Compound, multi-joint exercises
This principle is simple. Skip the isolated, single muscle, bodybuilding exercises. Focus your workouts on exercises that train multiple muscle groups at the same time. Squat, deadlift, kettlebell swing, standing overhead press, push-press, and power cleans create a solid foundation for any strength training routine.
As a workout minimalist you do not use exercise machines. No pec-dec flyes or ab coaster for you. And, you sure as heck don’t need an elliptical. If you were going to have any equipment it would be a barbell and a stack of plates. A few dumbbells would also be nice, not aren’t mandatory. If you were looking for one piece of equipment that can do it all, pick-up your own kettlebell and use it to complete swings, presses, and cleans.
If you decided to forgo all of the aforementioned equipment, consider adding a pull-up bar to a doorway or dropping one form the ceiling. A variety of pull-ups and chin-ups with mixed grips add more than four exercises to your routine. You can also hit some core exercises like leg raises or toes to bar.
A few auxiliary pieces like a yoga mat, jump rope, and plyometric jump box round out the exercise minimalist equipment list.
Remember, it’s not the equipment, but the effort that matters most. When you work intently and intensely workouts don’t have to take all day. Create and execute intense workouts and you can expect to see transformative results.
Joe is a writer, trainer and fitness entrepreneur who co-founded Hybrid Athlete LLC, Kettlebell Cardio™ and Race Day Domination. Currently building @fittinsider, a platform for founders, executives, & investors redefining fitness/wellness. Investing in health/fitness companies