Try shorter, faster workouts for fitness
Who has time to hit the gym hard for more than an hour, three times a week, especially if you have a nine-to-five gig and a family? Even as a singleton, I never achieved more than slight, temporary fitness success before giving up because the new lifestyle took too much time away from my... lifestyle!
Well time's a-changing, folks. Gruelling hour-long sessions that alternate between upper- and lower-body exercises every other day are not the only -- nor the best -- way to tone up and trim down for the long term. "It's about moderation," says celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak, author of the best-selling books 5-Factor Fitness (Putnam, 2005) and 5-Factor Diet (Meredith Books, 2006). "It's a synergy between fitness and diet that means you don't have to work so hard to get the results you want."
Syner-what? "If you add 500 extra calories per day to your diet, you have to work that much harder just to maintain status quo," explains Pasternak. "Fitness is 50 per cent what you eat and 50 per cent exercise. A moderate diet means a moderate workout plan."
We've heard about moderate diets, but what's a moderate workout? Aren't workouts supposed to be work? Well, there's work, and then there's efficiency.
Efficiency = sustainable results
Pasternak's theory is that shorter, more frequent, intense workouts produce quick results, steady improvement, and a manageable lifestyle change. Here's how:
1. Pasternak's 5-Factor program calls for five 25-minute workouts per week. Yes, five times per week, but finding 25 minutes in a day is easier than finding 60. Plus, the metabolism kick from each session helps you burn fat more efficiently, at a consistently elevated level throughout the week.
2. That 25 minutes breaks down into five five-minute phases:
-1. cardio warm up
-2. upper-body training
-3. lower-body training
-4. core training and;
-5. cardio cool down
Each exercise is straightforward and simple to master and the short, varied segments are easy to take -- before you know it, it's time to move on to the next phase.
3. Two of the segments are dedicated to supersets of just two strength-training moves. Supersets are back-to-back weight exercises that keep your heart rate up longer to burn more fat as you build lean muscle. Efficient, yes?