Fitness Efficiency – Personal Trainers Recommend Time-Optimized Fitness Strategies for Weight Loss

On a warm summer’s day in Canary Wharf on the eastern end of London, fitness centers and the personal trainers that staff them are staying busy. The fitness scene has thrived in this revitalized part of town, with the area now playing host to some of the most advanced fitness centers in London. Unfortunately, much of the U.K. society can’t find time to partake in the many fitness options the Wharf now offers.

In fact, almost 40% of Londoners say they struggle to find enough time during the week for fitness. And when they can finally carve out some time for themselves, the temptation to do something other than slogging through a sweaty workout can be very challenging.

Another troublesome dynamic for the U.K., a country where almost two-thirds of the population is overweight, is the widespread belief that, unless we suffer through a series of 30 to 60-minute cardio sessions each week, there’s little hope of achieving any noticeable weight loss results.

Not so, say the personal trainers (PTs) we’ve talked to. As society has gotten busier, the personal training industry has had to innovate to offer clients time-optimized fitness strategies that work for even the busiest working professionals. In fact, we were introduced to an array of time-optimized exercises that can be equally as effective in burning off unwanted fat as traditional exercises.

Should I focus on Cardio or Strength Training?

Even if weight loss is your goal, PTs stress the importance of including both cardiovascular and strength training exercises in your routine. We don’t need to do them on the same day (unless it works for you) but the important thing is to do the exercises whenever your schedule allows.

While cardio is still widely considered to be the “holy grail” for weight loss, PTs are having considerable success helping clients lose weight by integrating strength training exercises into their routines. Strength training has become a popular weight loss strategy as more people discover how lean muscle mass can turn our bodies into calorie-burning machines. Muscle mass burns more calories than fat tissue, meaning, the more muscle mass we have in our bodies, the higher our resting metabolic rate will be. And that means burning more calories at all hours of the day.

Bodyweight Exercises

Bodyweight exercises are a form of strength training, and they spark the growth of lean, fat-burning muscle mass. The beauty of the following bodyweight exercises is that you can fit them in wherever you are and in a short amount of time. Keep in mind that, to maximize the results of your efforts, PTs recommend choosing five to six exercises that target the major muscle groups (think chest, legs, back arms, and abs).

We recommend doing your own research to discover the many different bodyweight exercises you can do, but we can certainly suggest a few of the most common:

Pushups - A great way to engage the upper body muscles (chest, shoulders, back, and arms). PTs recommend doing two to three sets of 10 push-ups at least three times a week.

Sit-ups - Strengthen those abdominal muscles and lose that extra weight! Beginners should start at two to three sets of 10 repetitions no less than three times a week.

Air-squats –Highly recommended by PTs as a time-optimized exercise that tones every muscle in our lower bodies in the shortest amount of time. Proper form is crucial though so, do your research! PTs recommend doing four sets of 5 to 8 repetitions each. Repeat these sets 3 times each week.

Plank – You might recall the “planking challenges” from late 2010, but, when done properly, planks can be remarkably effective for strengthening your core muscles. Like the common “pushup” position, keep your feet together, and your arms slightly wider than your shoulders. But you’re resting on your forearms…not your palms. Your body will be in a straight line and stiff from head to toe as you tighten your stomach muscles.

Beginners should hold their plank position anywhere from between 10-20 seconds each time for 5 sets. Try and complete that series of planks 3 times a week.

Remember, studies show us that bodyweight exercises are just as effective as using weights for building lean muscle mass.

Cardio Exercises

Believe it or not, you can get a solid cardio workout anywhere you can find a little space. You just need to push yourself enough to elevate your heart rate. In terms of just how much cardio you should be getting, trusted sources recommend approximately 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week.

When you don’t have time to do a full 30-minute cardio routine, you can break that down into three 10-minute sessions throughout the day by doing any of the following cardio exercises:

Power Walking: three rigorous 10-minute walks will elevate your heart rate (morning, lunchtime, and evenings) and it can be equally as effective as a full 30-minute cardio session.

Marching in Place: These exercises don’t require any room and you can increase the intensity by elevating your knees higher and increasing your speed.

Stair Climb: Stairs provide us with a fantastic opportunity to get in an outstanding cardio session in no time. An especially effective strategy for the winter months. You can even up the tempo by investing in a weighted vest!

Burpees: Nothing provides a cardio workout in a short period of time like doing a series of burpees! They don’t require a lot of space and you can do them without any equipment. That makes burpees an excellent time-optimized cardio workout for at home. Set aside 10 minutes to do three to five sets of 10 burpees at a moderate pace.

Prioritize Nutrition, including Protein!

Nutrition plays a huge role in your weight loss efforts, and protein is the single most important nutrient to help you achieve your goals. Not only does protein help you achieve that “full” feeling so you eat less, but it can also help to boost your metabolism which increases your caloric burn rate.

Enhancing your nutrition is easily achieved by focusing on protein-rich food sources like eggs, dairy, and lean meat sources. Here’s a great list of protein-rich food sources you can check out.

Finally, Listen to Your Own Physicality | Consider a Personal Trainer

To make the most out of our efforts, we must listen to our bodies. That means tuning into our body’s natural ‘up times’ and aligning our daily exercise activities with these moments. If you feel that you’re not a ‘morning person,’ that’s okay. Just don’t plan on getting in whatever minimal amount of exercise you plan to do each day in the mornings. In other words, don’t set expectations that you’ll do your exercises during the times when you know your body will be fighting it; if you do, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Need a little more guidance? Personal training has become very affordable and accessible since COVID. Try Googling "personal trainers near me" to get in touch with fitness professionals who can offer you excellent expertise to help you avoid common mistakes and accelerate your progress.

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