It’s no secret that there are a plethora of factors that might make your workouts less frequent. When you’re stuck juggling work, running errands and still trying to get to bed at a reasonable hour, there just aren’t enough hours in the day! Or, perhaps you simply haven’t grown fond of the whole fitness scene, and working out just feels like a daunting chore.
Working out, however, is an essential ingredient in maintaining a healthy body—mentally and physically. But, the best part is, you don't have to devote hours every day to hitting the gym to see results. We spoke with celebrity trainer Ashley Borden, and YouTube fitness star and founder of Fit Strong and Sexy workout regimen Amanda Russell, to figure out the least amount of time you can work out and still transform your body.
It all comes down to quality over quantity. “It’s really not about the time at all—it’s about the quality of what you’re doing. So you could put in 80 hours a week and see no results, and you could but in three hours a week and see incredible results,” says Russell. In fact, working out for longer at a high intensity can bring you less-efficient results because the longer you work out, the more you have to lower the intensity, which completely changes the exercise. “If you’re doing [high intensity exercises] right, you physically couldn’t be able to do them longer,” Russell explains.
Borden is on the same page when it comes to intensity over time. Her 10-minute workout suggestion is to warm up for two minutes using a foam roller and doing active stretches, and then take eight minutes to do the following: 20 seconds of mountain climbers and 10 seconds of rest four times; 20 seconds of lateral bounds and 10 seconds of rest four times. “That is 10 minutes and you have worked out your entire body with just your body weight. Pushing your intensity and pace is what will dictate the speed of your results.” Her minimum recommendation, however, is full-body strength training and high intensity interval workouts three times each week.
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The best part of using just your body weight is that you can do it anywhere, no equipment required. Russell, whose online platform is based on the idea of programs that take up less time, is a huge advocate of that workout technique. “You want something you can literally do in your hotel or bedroom. Your body is hands down the best tool you have.”
All that said, not everyone is built alike, which may be a factor in how often you need to hit the gym. As Borden explains, ectomorphs are on the leaner side and have narrow hips, mesomorphs have round and long muscles and a small waist and endomorphs have thicker bodies with wider hips. One is not better than the other, but it just means you have to work out differently. “An ectomorph would have to focus on eating and getting enough healthy calories in a day,” whereas an “endomorph body would like more of a mix of steady state cardio and short high intensity type of workouts.”
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While you make your workouts less frequent, you can make some lifestyle changes to help out your health in the long run. Borden recommends focusing on your posture throughout the day, and emphasizes the importance of water. “Start with half your body weight in ounces of water. If you weigh 160 pounds, you would try to drink 80 oz daily.” Striving for a nutritional diet is also a huge factor, as the foods you put into your body are reflected on the outside. According to Russell, your diet is 90 percent of the deal.
So, luckily for all you busy-bees or gym foes, the overarching point is that, as long as you give it your all, you do not have to stress over the time commitment of exercising. “The busiest people on the planet will either say that they don’t have time to work out, or that they never skip a workout. That’s where it falls into the priority zone for them,” says Russell. No more excuses—grab your sneakers or your yoga mat, and get to it.