Dear Fitness Coach,
As you must know, it’s a crazy busy time of year, and I can already see my workout frequency is dropping. I do not want to lose my fitness level or, worse, gain weight over the holidays. How can I continue to work out and squeeze everything else in as well?
Exercising isn’t necessarily about quantity as much as it is about quality. Research has shown that total energy expenditure - how many calories you burn - can be increased with short bursts of anaerobic exercise. This kind of exercise is short and intense and relies mostly on your muscles’ energy production without oxygen. Some examples would be heavy weight lifting using compound movements or sprinting across a soccer field. Studies have found that when women participate in high-intensity weight training with little-to-no breaks, their EPOC (exercise post-oxygen consumption) skyrockets, and they incinerate more calories post-workout.
What this means is you can work out less (but not fewer than 3 times a week) and burn as many, if not more, calories by exercising more efficiently. So ditch the elliptical and body conditioning class and replace it with high-intensity interval training. Whether it’s on the treadmill or using weights, alternate between short periods (1-2 minutes) of high intensity followed by 1 minute of lower intensity or recovery. By following this workout routine, you need only 60 minutes 3 times a week to turn your body into a metabolic furnace!