How To Get Fit When
You Work All the Time

Client Question: I work seventy-two hours a week, so I have practically no free time. But I still want to get in shape. What type of exercise will get me the best results in terms of weight loss and overall fitness, in the least amount of time?

Gina’s Answer: You have a couple of options. In a situation like this, I tend to prescribe predominantly weight training set up in a circuit fashion, with short but intense intervals in lieu of cardio. It is important that you are cleared by your doctor before undergoing such a rigorous workout plan, however.

Option A would be working out twice per week. Each session would be about 45 minutes. First would be a five minute warmup, followed by five minutes of direct core work. Then you would perform 3-4 compound exercises such as squats, chest press, and lat pulldown for 2-3 sets each, rotating thru the exercises without resting in between. Then you would perform 3-4 additional exercises such as deadlifts, rows, and shoulder press for 2-3 sets. If time is really of the essence, 2 sets gives almost the same results as three. Finally, you would perform interval training for 10 minutes, such as 1 minute ‘easy’ and 1 minute ‘sprint’ which could be performed outside running, inside on a treadmill, or on a bike or elliptical.

Option B would be working out three or four times per week. All the workouts would start with a warmup and core work. Then on day 1 there would be the ‘push exercises where you are pushing weight away from you. Examples are: walking lunges, squats, shoulder press, and chest press. They would be performed circuit style as indicated above. This would be followed by intervals as indicated above. Day 2 would be the same but ‘pull’ exercises would be performed, such as deadlifts, lat pulldown, row, and bicep curls. Day 3 can be on your day off from work and could be a full body weight routine. If you want to add a day 4, perform a longer steady state cardio session like a 30-60 minute jog or session on the elliptical. The Day 1 and Day 2 workouts will take just 30 minutes or less, ideal for a long workday.

Although you can experience great fitness gains with these relatively short workouts, one thing you won’t do is burn a ton of extra calories thru activity. Therefore, it will be extremely important that your nutrition is dialed in to your goals. For instance, if weight loss is your goal, you would need to be consuming fewer calories than you burn.

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