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5 Reasons Why You Should Be Spending Less Time Working Out

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Spending Less Time Working Out

Chances are, if you work out and go to the gym on a regular basis, you probably think that the longer you spend exercising, the better.

And you’re not alone. Most people think that if they had hours every day to devote to cardio, weight lifting, and stretching and recovery, only then would they finally get in the best shape of their lives.

But since you probably don’t have a few extra hours each day to spend exercising, here’s the good news: longer workouts aren’t necessarily better. In fact, you can actually get more done in less time if you work out using an incredibly efficient style of training known as high intensity interval training (HIIT).

So what exactly is HIIT?

HIIT is an exercise strategy alternating periods of short, intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods.

Basically, that means you’ll be working as hard you possibly can for a short amount of time, resting, then working hard again. And an entire HIIT session usually only lasts for about 10 to 20 minutes.

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While traditional HIIT involves forms of cardio like sprinting, cycling and even swimming, you can include all kinds of exercises like burpees, pull-ups, kettlebell swings and push-ups for a much shorter yet more effective workout.

Here are five reasons why you should spend less time working out and embrace HIIT.

1. It removes the “I don’t have time” excuse

What do you think the #1 excuse is for not working out?

That’s right: lack of time.

Over and over, well intentioned people who plan on working out will let their plans fall through because they just don’t have time.

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And really, who has an extra hour or two a day to spend in a gym? Not busy people; that’s for sure.

But that’s the thing about HIIT: since it only takes 10-20 minutes to complete, it makes the “I don’t have time” excuse completely moot. Because I don’t care how busy you are, you can find a few extra minutes a day for some heart pounding, sweat pouring exercise.

2. It’s more efficient

If you hate to run, but have always assumed that running for endless periods of time is the best way to lose weight, here’s some good news: you’re wrong.

Shorter, more intense workouts will actually help you burn fat, build muscle and increase your endurance faster than running at a steady pace. In fact, you can make more progress in just 15 minutes of HIIT than you can running for an entire hour.

That makes it the ideal training method for anyone looking to lose weight, get stronger or even train for a race as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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3. It burns more calories

If you’re trying to shed a few (or several) pounds, you’ll be happy to know that just 10 minutes of intense exercise like HIIT can burn more calories than half an hour of running on a treadmill.

And not only does HIIT burn more calories in less time than steady state cardio, it also helps boost your metabolism for the next 24-48 hours afterwards—meaning you’ll continue to burn more calories long after your workout is over.

4. It burns fat (instead of muscle)

When you do cardio for hours on end to lose weight, you will lose weight as long as you’re eating right as well. But not only will long treadmill, elliptical and cycling sessions cause you to lose fat, you’ll also be losing muscle in the process too.

Why is this an issue? Well, other than the obvious reasons (muscles sculpt your body and make you strong), muscle loss means a lowered metabolism as well. And a lower metabolism means you’ll be burning less calories naturally though out the day—meaning you’ll have to work harder to continue losing weight.

On the other hand, the short, intense bursts required by interval training ensures your body burns more calories from fat, not muscle. In fact, HIIT can help you burn fat faster than any other form of exercise, which is why athletes, bodybuilders and regular gym-goers alike swear by it when they want to reduce body fat.

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5. It gets you results quicker

Even if you’re doing longer steady state cardio workouts on a consistent basis, it might take up to a month (or more) before you start noticing any results. And as a worse case scenario, your body might get so used to the workouts that you cease to make any progress at all.

But with HIIT workouts, you may start noticing and feeling results in as little as two weeks—or less.

In fact, there’s a good chance you will start feeling faster, stronger and physically fitter after doing only a few HIIT sessions. And think about how that progress will add up over a month or more!

But remember, the harder you push yourself during your workouts, the faster you’ll see results.

So work hard, be consistent, and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish in a short amount of time.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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