I don’t know about you, but spring is crazy around here. By crazy I mean busy, busy, busy. This spring we have two graduations and a First Holy Communion within one month and that’s not to mention all the other things that come along during this time of year…senior prom, exams, and finishing up homeschooling for the little guys. Needless to say, exercise will have to be short and sweet during April, May, and June. Did I say sweet? The right word is more like powerful/mean/efficient – you pick! My nutty upcoming schedule has got me thinking again…what is the most efficient workout schedule for our busiest times?
I have said it before on this website that I used to believe I had to do some sort of cardio for at least an hour in order to get in a workout that was worth anything. Now I believe it isn’t so much about time, but about quality. It terms of getting a bang for my buck…what will my workouts look like for these next few months? Overall, I will have to cover cardio, strength, and core each week, and specifically target large muscle groups that can work multiple muscles at one time. Exercises like squats and lunges are great because they work the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteals. In terms of upper body and core, push-ups and planks are my favorite go-to exercises because (if done correctly) they can strengthen the chest, shoulders, triceps, and even the core trunk muscles, all at one time. So when I do a strength/core combo, I always do some variations of lunges/ squats, push-ups, and planks.
Running is my standard cardio for a high-efficiency workout, and when it comes to calorie-burn, there is nothing like it…especially when the run is 45 min. or longer. I know I can count on two days a week for that kind of run. I will combine strength and core for the other type of weekly workout during these next few months. There are a lot of ways to do this. I can go to a class, like Pilates or Pure Barre, I can do P90X at home, or I can go for the combo workout using my handy one-minute timer to mix up the core and full-body exercises. Since I like to shake things up and keep my body surprised, I will likely do all of those previously mentioned, and not worry too much about an exact schedule.
Here’s an example of a one-week efficiency workout schedule and some strength/core exercises:
Monday Run 6 to 7 miles
Tuesday Pure Barre class
Wednesday 30 minute Strength/Core work: 5 min. warm-up on treadmill or dynamic stretches. Then do each of the following for one-minute each 2X through: Push-ups (girl or guy), plank, right arm side plank, left arm side plank, reverse push-ups (tricep work- sit on floor and have hands on the ground, fingers facing forward, push up with triceps), walking lunges (or lunge staying in place), eight count body-builders, squats …, plank again, medicine ball wood choppers. After going through exercises twice, I wil do some rolling with foam roller for 10 extra minutes if there is time.
Thursday Run 5-7 miles or rest (depending on how I feel).
Friday 30 minute Strength/Core work: Do another workout similar to the one above, changing things up a little (such as substituting monster walks for lunges, mountain climbers for eight count body builders, etc.) See Wednesday.
Saturday Pilates class or P90X (Yoga or Core Synergistics).
As I am now halfway between 40 and 50, I am much more appreciative of rest and have truly come to love my “rest days”. For those who are cranking out seven days-a-week of exercise, I highly suggest one day of rest (or at least walking one day a week). It is amazing how our bodies use those days of rest to become even more efficient, I think. I can’t tell you how happy my body is when I let it sleep in, and it always thanks me later by feeling rested and ready when I push it again (just a suggestion…)! What is your favorite thing to do when you are pressed for time?