When you have a family to juggle time is usually at a premium. Personal needs like going to the gym, reading a book, or sometimes just sitting down to eat can be hard to come by. It gets even worse when you are not just a mom, but also a working mom.
Now you are expected to do it all and make it seem effortless. All the while you really just want to sneak in a workout and take a hot bath. With that in mind we are looking at what the minimum amount of work a person needs to put in at the gym build and maintain. Maybe there is time for a bath after all!
High Intensity Interval Training
Recently some Canadian researchers have been studying the effect of High Intensity Interval Training in regards to maintaining a level health and fitness. HIIT is a method where you do 1 minute of cardio at 90% of your maximum heart rate followed by 1 minute of and easy pace. For their study they did 10 total intervals (20 minutes of cardio). The HIIT training was done twice a week. After several weeks people showed “significant improvements” in health and fitness from just that brief workout.
Even if you extrapolated those figures a bit to doing 30-40 minute sessions twice a week, you are looking at 1 to 1 1/2 hours of hard cardio per week to maintain and improve your current level. Wow!
For quite some time many people have been of the school of thought that doing 1 set per exercise, when done at higher intensity, was much more productive that anything else. By that same token they felt that you should only work each body part with 1 to 2 exercises and then only once per week. The idea was the train the muscle very hard, and then let it rest and grow. If you perform a standard split of working out your body over 3 days each week and stick to a simple yet high intensity workout you would be lifting weights for a mere 20-30 minutes per workout at the most. That equals 1 to 1 1/2 hours of lifting per week.
Science has supported High Intensity work for quite some time. Based on simple calculations it appears that you could spend a total of 2 to 3 hours per week to maintain and gain both muscle and cardiovascular conditioning. The only drawback? The workouts will be very tough.
High intensity work is hard. You have to focus 100% to the task at hand. While the duration is short, the effort is very hard. Many people have tried similar programs only to not be able to maintain them over a period of few weeks. Therefore it is hard to find practical examples that we can relate too. The few people that seem to manage it appear to be abnormalities instead of the norm.
But if you are short on time or just want to shake things up then give this High Intensity program a try. It could be time very well spent.
- Effects of High-Intensity Intermittent Training on Endurance Performance – Christian Finn,Learn Fitness, Middlesex HA3 7EQ, United Kingdom. Sportscience 5(1), sportsci.org/jour/0101/cf.html, 2001
About the Author: Ben Sanderson is an author and fitness expert who writes for Nutribomb Bodybuilding Supplements. Ben explores a wide range of fitness issues in his writings from bodyweight exercises and plyometrics to crossfit and endurance training. Please visit us at Nutribomb.com to read more articles by Ben, or find Nutribomb on Google+.