How Are You Using Your Time? All too frequently as a trainer and coach I am told by clients that they do not have enough time to work out on a regular basis, therefore they believe they have valid reasons for not seeing the weight loss and/or muscle-building results they desire. This type of comment is the result of believing one needs to spend hours lifting weights to build muscle and more hours doing cardio to burn the fat.Please step away from the cardio machines! I am going to be very straightforward with you today – that kind of thinking is completebaloney!
Although “traditional protocols” (a fancy term we use to talk about traditional resistance training methods) are effective, they are also not the only type of program that works! This is especially important to know if you fall into the category of “time-conscious adult,” aka “super-busy-and-not-much-time-for-me!”
One of the best, most effective, and research-proven exercise strategies to use for fat loss is high-intensity circuit training (HICT) using body weight as resistance.
High-intensity circuit training (HICT) combines aerobic and resistance training into a single exercise bout that last approximately 7 minutes. Each circuit can be repeated 2-3 times, depending on the amount of time that you have. And as body weight provides the only form of resistance, this type of program can be done anywhere!
HICT is NOT a new concept, but it is growing in popularity because of its efficiency and practicality for time-constrained adults who want to get fit. The key to this type of program’s effectiveness lies in the high-intensity focus with limited periods of rest. That means you really have to PUSH yourself in this type of training, or you will NOT see the results you desire.
When resistance training exercises use large muscle groups with very little rest between sets, research shows that the aerobic and metabolic benefits (i.e. fat-burning) are present for UP TO 72 hours after a high-intensity exercise bout has been completed!
There is also a greater impact on subcutaneous fat loss (the stubborn stuff) with HICT, compared to that which occurs with traditional steady-state aerobic work or traditional weight training! Did you read that correctly?? Yes! HICT is MORE effective than the traditional cardio and weight training programs!
And for those of you who are also trying to keep fit for health reasons: HICT is also an extremely effective and efficient means to increasing your VO2max, which is a marker for cardiopulmonary health, as well as decrease insulin resistance (a major factor in type 2 diabetes).
Throw away those over-hyped, so-called fitness magazines. Say goodbye to long hours on the elliptical machine. If you are looking to improve your overall health and decrease body fat, HICT is the strategy to employ.
What does a HICT look like? Well, I’m so glad you asked!
Exercises in a HICT circuit should be placed in an order that allows for opposing muscle groups to alternate between resting and working stations. An example of this is a push-up (upper body) would be followed by a squat (lower body).
In addition, if a particular exercise creates a significant increase in heart rate or intensity, like jump squats, then the exercise that follows is one that lowers the heart rate or intensity slightly (such as abdominal crunches).
Each HICT training circuit should consist of 9-12 exercises. Again, it is important to note that all muscles are used, and are used at an appropriate intensity during your training session. The key is your INTENSITY! I didn’t say it was going to be easy….but it WILL be effective when you do it RIGHT!
In-between exercises, the rest period is VERY short – like, 10 seconds! Just enough time to transition to the next exercise, but keeping the intensity high throughout the entire circuit.
Below I have included a free HICT workout for you to follow. Because the focus is on bodyweight training only, you don’t even need to “find the time” to drive to the gym! You can do this workout in the living room, in the backyard, or out in the park! You will need a timer (easy to download one to your phone) and a towel (‘cause you’re going to get sweaty)…that’s it!
This is a 12-station HICT program. The exercise order allows for a total body exercise to significantly increase the heart rate while the lower, upper, and core exercises function to maintain the increased heart rate while developing strength!
Perform each exercise for 30 seconds. Rest/transition only 10 seconds between exercises. Total time for the entire circuit is approximately 7 minutes. REPEAT the circuit for a total of 3 times through.
And PUSH YOURSELF! The hardest part of high intensity training is really maintaining the intensity.
Remember: You will only get out of this what you put in! If you move slowly or dilly-dally through your 30-second time periods, you will NOT have the necessary intensity to see the results you desire! Grab a competitive friend if you need someone to PUSH YOU to the right level of intensity!
Here you go!
30 seconds work/10 seconds to rest & transition:
1. Jumping Jacks total body
2. Wall sit lower body
3. Push-up upper body
4. Abdominal crunch core
5. Step-ups onto chair/bench total body
6. Squat lower body
7. Triceps dip on chair/bench upper body
8. Plank core
9. High knees running in place total body
10. Lunges lower body
11. Push-up & T-rotation upper body
12. Side plank core
Rest 30 seconds between circuits. Repeat for a total of 3 times through.
REMEMBER: If you still look good at the end of your workout, you didn’t work hard enough!! 🙂 Now, go get ’em!
Recipe of the WeekSince we are talking about finding time for fitness, I thought I would include a recipe that follows that theme, using one of my favorite kitchen appliances — the crock pot! I LOVE the crockpot…I use it 2-3 times a week throughout the year. Nothing beats the ease and with a little planning, you can make several meals with very little prep and no standing over the stove!My son gives his stamp of approval on this week’s recipe. It’s my healthier version of a comfort food…I was craving a beef stroganoff kind of creamy meal, but made with chicken….so this was the result. It’s great on it’s own, or served over a bed of brown rice, or even over a piece of toast (if that’s in your food plan). 🙂 Enjoy!Creamy Crock Pot Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 (10 3/4 oz) can of fat-free cream of chicken soup
8 ounces fat free cream cheese
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 (1 oz) package ranch dressing mix
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1 dash paprika
1/8 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried parsley flakes
1. Wash & pat dry chicken breasts and place them evenly in crock pot. Sprinkle with paprika.
2. Sprinkle package of ranch dressing mix over chicken.
3. Drizzle chicken breasts with 1 Tbsp. melted butter.
4. Cover and cook on Low for 4 hours.
5. Melt remaining 1 Tbsp. butter in medium saucepan along with minced garlic and saute slightly.
6. Add cream of chicken soup, the 8 oz. of cream cheese (cubed), 1/2 cup chicken broth, dried oregano and dried parsley flakes. Stir on medium heat until smooth.
7. Add mixture to crock pot, covering chicken. Cover the pot again and continue to cook on Low for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
8. Serve alone or over rice or toast.
Makes: 6 servings
Nutritional Info per serving:
Total calories 205, Carbohydrates 7g, Fat 8g, Protein 22g
Who is Melanie Daly?Personal trainer, nutritionist, Gold Medal professional figure athlete, mom, wife…Melanie Daly specializes in amazing transformations. Drawing on two decades of experience and extensive knowledge in personal training, and her expertise in nutrition programming, Melanie can take anyone who is frumpy to extremely fit, from overweight to outstanding, and the already-fit to even more fabulous.“I am a personal trainer in the Georgetown/Round Rock, TX area who is ready to help you meet your fitness and weight loss goals. Call me today to schedule a complimentary consultation – we can work together in person or online!”