How to design quick, impactful workouts

Fitness, Lifestyle

Happy Monday, fellow misfits!

Do you schedule your alarm clock, only to press the snooze button twice, then wake up in a panic as you’ve slept in for 30 minutes? As a person that schedules my workouts in the morning, I usually feel a pang of guilt as I’ve scheduled an hour workout but now there’s only half that time. The thing is, sleep is also a very important part of recovery, and your overall health. If you’re short for time, instead of cutting down on essential pieces of your life besides exercise – try to make your exercise regimen more efficient. 

In honour of starting a new job this week, I thought a post on getting in quick, impactful workouts would be fitting – as I’m sure I’ll be increasing the frequency of these.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a very effective, efficient method of training when you’re short for time. It involves (as it says) intervals with sprints on timers, that will increase your heart rate giving you a cardio workout at the same time as working on muscular endurance. You can design your own HIIT workout and put it into effect easily – all you need is a timer (you could use the Interval Timer on the iPhone or Workout Timer on Android) and a set of 5-10 exercises you’d like to do. Plus, you could do the workout anywhere, indoors, outdoors (such as on a mountain), with or without equipment.


Depending on your fitness level, there will be variation in:

1. Duration of each exercise set (30 seconds is easier, 60 seconds significantly more difficult)

2. How heavy your weights are (depending on the exercise)

3. How long is your rest period in between sets (~10 seconds or none)

4. How many sets you do (2-3)

5. How many exercises you want to do (5-10)

For instance, a sample HIIT workout for a beginner could like:

Rotate through each exercise below, 30 seconds per exercise, with a 10 second break in between each exercise. Complete 2-3 sets. (~10 minutes if doing 3 sets)

  • Squats (no weights)
  • Jumping jacks
  • Push-ups
  • Mountain climbers
  • Tricep dips

If you don’t feel like designing your own workout, there are tons of resources out there with free workouts, including a website devoted to HIIT workouts as well as examples on Pinterest, YouTube, etc.

Looks like time constraints are no longer an excuse… happy training this week!


Guide to physical fitness this week


It’s another Monday! Previous to getting too much further into your busy week of work, try to set aside 5 minutes of time to plan out your workouts this week.

Here are a few tips to consider when planning:

1. Make it dead simple for you to do your workouts. For instance, if you’re working out the next morning first thing before work, get all of your workout gear laid out and ready to go, along with water bottle. If you’re working out in the evening, get your gym bag, pre/post workout snack all packed and ready to go so it’s easy to grab in the AM.

2. Try to schedule your workouts in the morning, rather than in the evening. Speaking from experience as a management consultant, if I miss my morning workout, the evening usually turns into a work-a-thon, or I become ravenously hungry during dinner hours, and the evening workout just doesn’t happen.

3. 15-20 minutes of a high intensity weight training session is better than NO workout. Even if you get up late, just go!

4. Look at doing 2-3 sessions of cardio and 2-3 sessions of weight training per week. For cardio, depending on what your levels are at, a short run that’s 20-30 minutes is manageable during the week while a longer run (~1 hour) during the weekend is one method. For weight training, focus on training all major muscle groups, particularly focusing on your shoulders, legs and core strength if you’re short for time.

5. If you’re very short for time, 2-3 times per week of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a great way to keep your cardio and strength up. There’s lots of examples of workouts online, check out this one on Shape.

Have fun training!