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We’re all busy this day and age.  However, most of us are also in agreement that somewhere in the 30 hours worth of stuff we need to do that we try to cram into a 24 hour day, exercise should be one of them.

If you do a Google search for ‘best workout’ or something similar, you will likely find no less than a million different recommended exercise regimens. And no doubt each will be claiming to be the best for your body for multitude of reasons.

So what’s the real answer here?  Let’s break it down.

For all practical purposes you need 4 basic elements in your exercise routine.

  1. Cardiovascular – Elevating your heart rate and breathing. This benefits your cardiovascular health and burns fat
  2. Resistance Training – Putting stress on your muscles, bones and joints forcing them to strain and exert an increased level of effort. May include lifting weights, using nautilus type resistance machines or even using your own body weight through exercises such as pushups or sit-ups.
  3. Core Strengthening – Building strength in the muscles that support your spine and pelvis to allow better balance and greater stability of the spine to reduce back related pain and injuries
  4. Stretching – Lengthening the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your body. This helps take stress off the body and reduces injuries

So how can a busy person get all this in with the most effectiveness in the shortest amount of time?

The answers are INTENSITY and COMBINING.

By combining resistance training, core strengthening and cardiovascular exercise at a high intensity level, you will get the most out of your workout – strength building, cardiovascular health and calorie burning – in the shortest period of time.

Keep Moving!

So basically rather than running or doing the elliptical for 30 minutes and then starting your strengthening exercises, you are going to combine them into one intense hour.

To accomplish this is easy. Just do your normal strength building and core workout only you do it without stopping. Think of it as high intensity circuit type training where you complete 5 to 8 exercises and then repeat.

The only break you get is when moving from one exercise to the next. Keep in mind that if you were jogging or riding a bike for an hour, you wouldn’t stop but rather you would just go a little slower or faster based on how intense you want that workout to be.

It’s the same principle here. You are working out to whatever intensity level you want to accomplish. Of course the heavier you lift or the more pushups, pull-ups and squats you do and the faster you do them, the greater the intensity of your workout.

As noted above, you can incorporate your bridges, planks, sit-ups and yoga moves into this routine as well. I recommend you add them after the intense lifting and before you begin stretching.

How long should you dedicate to each exercise session? That really depends entirely on how much time you have. I recommend one hour of the intense circuit training followed by 15 minutes of core work and then finish it all off with 15 minutes of stretching.

That is a 1.5 hour workout. Do it just 3 days a week (say Monday, Wednesday and Friday) so you give your body plenty of re-coop time and combine that with a low sugar and no fried foods diet and you are likely going to love the results!

If you only have an hour to spend, try doing the 45 minutes of intense circuit training follow by 15 minutes of core strengthening on one of the days and 15 minutes of stretching on the other 2 exercise days.

On days when you truly are in a time crunch, opt for just a power packed 30 minute workout or keep it cool and do 30 minutes of stretching or yoga for that day.

By making your workouts high-intensity circuit training sessions you are basically just completing your cardio while at the same time accomplishing your resistance or weight training and core strengthening. If you then follow this with stretching (or stretch on the ‘off’ days), you now have a formula for sneaking effective exercise into a hectic life