7 ways to get better results in *less* time (guest post)

I know.

You’re busy, stressed out, got kids and a husband to take care of, and a job on top of that. You don’t have much time for fitness, but at the same time, you don’t want to compromise your results.

Here are 7 ways to get better results in less time.

1. Use Multi-Joint Movements

As the name implies, multi-joint movements use multiple joints. An example would be a pushup, which uses both the elbows and shoulders. Or a squat, which uses the knees, hips and ankles. Multi-joint movements save you a lot of time because many muscles are working at the same time. Single-joint movements (like biceps curls or triceps extensions and the like) are fine, but if you’re crunched for time, they should be the first to go.

 

2. Isometrics

Isometrics are an all-but-forgotten method of training, yet they’re extremely effective. Simply put, you just hold a position. The most common isometric is the plank, which everyone knows, but there are isometrics for every different muscle. I would recommend isometrics that you can only do for 40-60 seconds. Those have the greatest impact on your metabolism. (MizFit note: I love me some isometric ab contractions while I work or drive!)

 

3. Sprints

Sprints are tough as heck, but the upside is that they help burn fat better than long-duration cardio. Oh, and they build a nice, firm behind. Unlike long-duration cardio.

Try this: run for 60 seconds as fast as you can. Then rest until you don’t feel like throwing up anymore. Then repeat.

I should caution you though that running as fast as possible for 60 seconds is one of the toughest things you can do. It’s harder than sprinting 100 metres, but it’s also harder than running 10K.

It also has the potential to raise blood pressure, so if you have heart conditions or you’re just getting started into exercising, don’t do this one.

But if you’ve been exercising for a while and you’re healthy, including a few 60-second sprints will slim you down in a hurry. The cool thing is that you can get a brutally effective workout in 20 minutes or less.

 

4. Rest Less

One way to do more exercise in a shorter period of time is circuit training or supersetting. Basically, after you’ve finished an exercise for one muscle, you go right away to an exercise for a different muscle group. So let’s say you just worked your legs, you can move on straight to your shoulders. This way, when you’re doing shoulders, your legs are resting. After you’re done doing shoulders, you can go back to working your legs.

 

5. Measure, Measure, Measure

I believe that one of the reasons that I’ve had such great success with my clients is because I measure their results every 2 weeks. Why? Because if we don’t measure, we don’t know how well our program is working. If we measure at the 2 week mark, and we don’t see the measurements moving in the right direction, we can change our strategy instead of staying on an ineffective program.

I must emphasize that it’s important to measure the right things. Don’t just measure weight, because if you’re lifting weights, your weight by itself doesn’t tell you the full picture. Here is a blog I wrote about how to measure the right things.

 

6. Have a Precise Goal

Whenever I ask a new client “what is your goal?” I usually get something vague like “I want to be fit” or “I want to lose weight.” Too vague for me. If your goal is not clear, you are disorganized with your training, and you won’t really know whether you are getting closer to your goal or not, because you don’t really have anything to measure against.

A much better goal would be “I want to lose 20 pounds in the next 6 months so that I can go from a size 14 to a size 10.”

Now we have some specific metrics to work with.

 

7. Combine Proper Training with Targeted Nutrition and Supplementation

Exercise by itself or nutrition by itself or supplementation by itself isn’t quite as good as when you combine all three. That’s when you get a synergistic effect. So if exercise alone allows you to lose a quarter pound of fat per week, when you combine it with smart nutrition and supplementation, you can lose up to 2 pounds of fat per week. How’s that for speeding up your results?

 

Got any questions?

 

Post them in the comments section below, and I’ll be sure to answer.

 

You can reach Igor personally by emailing him at Igor@TorontoFitnessOnline.com

POSTS BY EMAIL

Never miss a post. Enter your email to get my latest posts delivered to your inbox.

Comments

  1. says

    Some great tips in there.

    I think what most people struggle with when it comes to exercise is hitting the right intensity. Long cardio sessions, while beneficial in many ways, are far less effective for weight loss than HIIT and metabolic conditioning routines.

    If you want to be losing weight and getting those results quickly, you need to focus on intensity and quality over quantity. This is where people often slip up in my experience.

    Why? Because it hurts! But you know what they say…no pain, no gain! And things get easier as you go along I can assure you!

    I always advise that my clients perform intense, but much shorter, exercise sessions if they want a quick weight loss result. They find it tricky at first but come to love and this is really when you know you’re onto a winner!

  2. says

    Toby, those are excellent points.

    It’s definitely true that HIIT is more effective than steady state, but there are still times to use steady state cardio.

    As an example, with my clients, especially those who are first-time exercisers, or those who’ve taken a prolonged break (6 months or more), steady state has its place. If people not used to exercise were told “go hard or go home”, that’s exactly what they’ll do. They’ll go hard, see how difficult and uncomfortable it is, and then they go home, concluding that if they can’t give it the necessary intensity, what’s the point? Might as well sit on the couch and drink beer.

    With clients like that, steady state makes sense. Just until they have the fitness level to move on to HIIT. Remember, steady state works, it just doesn’t work forever.

    Another time that I don’t think either HIIT or steady state is appropriate is for clients with adrenal fatigue (which I’m seeing more and more of these days). This is an exception to the rule, but these are the clients for whom a light walk will actually produce better fat loss than either HIIT or steady state.

    Overall though, I completely agree. The reason most people don’t get results is because they have the necessary fitness level to do HIIT, but choose not to.

    • says

      Hi Igor,

      Really like your reply – people are so different in where they’re starting, their level of fitness, expectations and what they perceive they’re capable of.

      • says

        Hi Monica,

        Thank you for the kind words.

        I think in the fitness industry we’re often extremists. We need to realize that there is no such thing as “good” or “bad.” There is only correct application.

  3. cheryl says

    I don’t understand what the problem is. I have worked full time (OUTSIDE of the house) for 38 years, gotten various college degrees/certifications while working and raising a family (single mom) and ALWAYS found time early early early to get my workout in. Why? Because I LOVE to work out/run/swim/cycle/race. You will find time to do what you love. The end!

    • says

      Cheryl, that’s amazing, and I congratulate on being in the 1% of people for whom fitness is just a part of their life. I’m in the same boat. Sure, I’m only 25 years old, but I’ve been exercising at least 4 times per week for as long as I can remember. I don’t remember ever taking more than 1 week off from exercise (and that one week was because of a surgery).

      I actually wrote a blog about that very topic. It’s titled “how naturally fit people think.”

      Take a look:

      http://www.torontofitnessonline.com/2012/05/22/how-naturally-fit-people-think/

  4. says

    This is great advice for people who continually use the excuse of not having enough time. I found that 30 minute workouts using these sorts of methods were the most effective for staying consistent. We are all busy, so 1.5 hour workouts just aren’t going to cut it. This is a great foundation to jump off from!

  5. says

    Thanks for these tips. I need to revisit a few of them – the isometrics for example – something I did a bit of in pilates but less so now I’m not pilates-ing.

    And the interval training. I can’t / don’t run, but used to do some interval work on an exercise bike. I was doing no other exercise at the time and I think it did help me get fitter more quickly.

    Deb

    • says

      Hi Stacie,

      I’m glad you enjoyed that advice. I do want to emphasize one thing though. Yes, intervals are harder, but harder isn’t necessarily better. Better is better.

      So if interval training is getting you better results, stick with it. For most people, that will be the case. However, occasionally, you’ll have a person who paradoxically does better with steady state or no cardio at all. In those cases, realize what works FOR YOU and do it.

      The key is measuring your progress so that you can know what’s working and what isn’t. After all, if you’re not assessing, you’re guessing.

  6. says

    Thanks for sharing these tips.. as for the isometric i can assure they helped me so much to make my 6-packs appear and look the way i like!

    Buti have a question about sprints.. is it 100% safe in terms of heart issues?

    • says

      Hey LipoAdvisor,

      With heart conditions, I would watch out with both sprints and isometrics. They can elevate blood pressure very quickly.

      Although funny enough, there is a tremendous difference between sprinting at 100% and 95%. Sprints at 100% of your maximal speed will shoot your blood pressure through the roof. 95% sprints will also elevate your blood pressure, but not nearly to the same extent.

      All in all, your safest bet is to clear it with your doctor.

  7. says

    Since I started doing sprints 3 times a week instead of constant long distance runs, I’ve definitely seen a difference. When I used to only do about 3-5 miles a day, 6 times a week, I didn’t see nearly as much results both in the way I looked and the way I felt as I did when I started doing shorter workouts including sprints. I don’t have a running watch (yet) so rather than timing my sprints, I use the telephone poles along the street and sprint 3 then walk 2. Great tips!

    • says

      Hey Kelly,

      Yes, what you’re reporting is very common. There are a lot of reasons sprints benefit people more than steady state. It both elevates your metabolism, and burns more sugar (which later on, causes more fat burning).

      Plus, it doesn’t cause the release of cortisol to the same extent as steady state.

      I’m glad you liked the tips! :)

  8. says

    Thanks for reminding me of this. My husband is finally ready and able to start working on his core again- 6 months after surgery, and he could sure use some quicker results to keep him motivated!

    • says

      Jasmine, keep in mind that sprints are intense, and depending on the isometrics that your husband is doing, they can be intense as well. Get his doctor’s clearance before launching into something like sprints and isometrics.

  9. ethel says

    I treadmill, but I don’t run. I walk at a speed of 4.5-5 and incline it to 13% for 20-30 minutes. I see other treadmill users looking at me seeming baffled as to why I don’t run like they do. Not sure but I believe we’re just losing the same amount of calories, they’re just more tired and sweaty than i am.

    • says

      Hi Ethel,

      Incline walking is certainly an option.

      As for burning the same amount of calories, you can confirm that or disprove that by wearing a heart rate monitor (don’t use the ones built into machines, they aren’t accurate). Do one workout walking at an incline, and note your average heart rate. Then do one workout running, and note your average heart rate.

      If there’s a significant difference, then chances are there’s a gap between what you think you’re burning and what you’re actually burning.

      Best of luck!

      Igor.

  10. says

    You could definitely see your expertise in the article you write.
    The world hopes for even more passionate writers like
    you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. All the time go after your heart.

    My site Marilynn