You are a busy professional and you want to get fit and strong but dammit, you just don’t have time. Sound familiar? I meet so many busy professionals who know they need to exercise and want to do what’s right for their body, but don’t know how.
What do I recommend? Interval or Tabata-style training. Because when it comes to getting results fast, there is no contest: this works.
Tabata training, if you haven’t heard of it, is a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) developed by a Japanese scientist named Izumi Tabata. It is based on his research which showed that people who did high-intensity interval training dramatically improved both their aerobic fitness, e.g. cardio, and anaerobic system, e.g. built more power and strength. By contrast, people who trained at lower intensity didn’t boost their anaerobic system and fell short on cardio too.
The basis of HIIT generally, and Tabata specifically, is short bursts of super-intense exercise followed by rest. In theory a classic Tabata workout takes just four minutes, alternating 10-second bursts of exercise with 20-seconds of rest. Sounds tempting right? Four minutes is an ideal, though. To get results you’d need to work right to your edge and have military-precision time-keeping. You really need a personal trainer if you want to hone your workout that fine, because he or she will craft the exercises, time the intervals and ensure you maintain proper form and technique.
What I recommend is a slightly longer interval program of say 20 or 30 minutes. This gives you more breathing room, literally and figuratively, and allows that necessary time to make adjustments and move from one exercise to the next.
Intervals are great because they’re flexible. You can mix body-weight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, burpees, etc with bursts of cardio: running stairs, for example, or skipping rope, with defined rest periods. You can change your routine regularly so you don’t get bored, you can focus on specific body parts. An online resource like Team Beachbody is a great place to get workout ideas, tips, advice and motivation.
Basically – intervals are ‘anytime, anywhere’ exercise that gets results fast. You just have to do it!