The bottom line is: If an exercise program doesn’t fit in your schedule comfortably, it’s quite likely you won’t stick with it. This aspect must be considered carefully when embarking on an exercise-based weight loss plan.
- Should take up as little time as possible
- Should be as inexpensive as possible (limited equipment cost, reasonable gym subscription plan, etc)
- Should require as little effort as possible
- Should preferably not be limited to one type of workout machine
- Should preferably not be dependent entirely on workout videos
- Should be tailored to your particular interests (i.e., you should have some affinity for
your workout routines, and derive some enjoyment from them)
- Should fit into your particular lifestyle (i.e., shouldn’t be a major imposition on your time)
- Should be structured such as to allow sufficient flexibility, which means:
- allow for workout modifications to fit your daily circumstances (travel, holidays, etc)
- allow for increases in workout intensity after occasional dietary indulgences
- allow for periodic rotation of workout routines to avoid boredom
Robin, a 35 year-old female executive working 60-hour weeks, uses this program to control her weight and stay in shape. Here’s what Robin does:
- Muscle Toning exercises 3 times a week, 10 minutes in the morning and 10
minutes in the evening – using free weights where applicable, particularly for upper body toning (usually 8 lb
She uses strength training videos, or simply picks the moves herself, going through 6-8
types of moves, 12-16 reps per move.
She usually works a different group of muscles during each workout, as follows:
- Monday AM – Abdominals
- Monday PM – Back Muscles
- Wednesday AM – Arms
- Wednesday PM – Chest
- Friday AM – Legs and Buttocks
- Friday PM – Abdominals
While maintaining the same general criteria for her workouts, Robin periodically
rotates her videotapes to avoid boredom. When she doesn’t use videotapes and picks
the moves herself, she usually works out to a piece of music of her liking.
- Each day, in addition to the above, Robin does 60 squats or lunges, alternating leg position, depth and speed
of execution after each set of 20. This takes about 2-4 minutes of her time, and she often does it in
her office on her lunch break. Squats and lunges work all muscles of the legs,
thighs and buttocks, and if done at fast pace also raise the heart rate.
- Apart from the workout routines above, Robin climbs stairs any occasion she
gets – at work or otherwise. Just like squats, climbing stairs works the leg
muscles and delivers aerobic benefits.
- During ongoing dietary overindulgences (e.g., winter holidays), Robin increases
her muscle toning workouts from 10 minutes to 15 minutes twice a day 3 times a week, and
adds some aerobic exercise to her muscle toning routines (using workout videos
or portions thereof).
After one-time overindulgences (e.g., dinner party), she does an additional 15 minute
workout the same evening or the next morning (aerobics + muscle toning).
- When traveling on business, Robin either uses the gym of her hotel for 10-20
minutes a day, or swims for 30 minutes a day (an activity which she absolutely
adores). If the hotel doesn’t have a gym or a pool, she does floor exercises that
do not require weights, such as pushups, abdominal crunches, torso lifts, leg pullies,
leg lifts, etc. Of course, she continues to do her 60 squats or lunges a day.
Adding up the workout times above, you can see that Robin spends on average 12 minutes per day exercising. Even with Robin’s hectic schedule, this is doable. The cost of her workout equipment is minimal – since dumbbells are notably inexpensive. Her workout routines integrate painlessly in her life, and allow enough flexibility during travel, holidays, dietary overindulgences, etc. Moreover, she enjoys the short
bursts of physical activity in the mornings and evenings: It helps her focus her mind prior to
starting the day, and helps her unwind in the evenings. Also, working with weights gives
her a pleasant rush of adrenaline and a feeling of empowerment. She doesn’t get bored because
she often alternates the moves in her workouts. As such, for Robin’s lifestyle and personality,
this exercise program is highly convenient.
Please note: The exercise program above was designed for weight maintenance, not active weight loss. During a weight loss program (especially in the initial weight loss induction phase), longer workout times are usually required.
Note: It is prudent to consult with your doctor prior to starting an exercise program, especially if you are new to exercise, suffer from any medical conditions, or are a woman over the age of 50 or a man over the age of 40.