Can you adopt a “snacking” approach to your gym workouts?

May 13 2015

We all wish we could fit more exercise into our daily lives, so could a less-is-more, snacking approach to fitness be the answer?

If you are looking to lose weight and see significant improvements in your fitness levels then you really should be committing to 3-4 long workouts per week, which can easily add up to 5 hours or more. We all know how easy it is to skip workouts on days where our time is limited, or we simply don’t feel up to a full hour of exercise, but skipping your workout even a couple of times a week can significantly hinder your progress. The next thing you know, another week has passed and you haven’t progressed to where you want to be.

Always aim to get a full gym session in when you can, but if your time is stretched there’s no need to skip your entire session if you can’t commit to a full hour. Even a small amount of exercise everyday can make a huge difference to your progress overall. The key to fitness is consistency and in order for your body to change you need to keep it active whenever you get the chance.

Imagine if you didn’t have time to fit in a big dinner, you wouldn’t just skip the entire meal, you’d keep yourself going by snacking on other foods that are quick to consume. Perhaps applying the same snacking principles to exercise could significantly boost the amount of exercise that we do on a daily basis?

It only takes a few minutes of vigorous exercise to increase your heart rate and get your blood pumping. We’ve suggested 5 quick ways to maximise your time by “snacking” on exercise.

HIIT workouts

High-intensity interval training consists of altering levels of intensity to send your heart rate rocketing and therefore burning more calories and fat in a shorter amount of time. You only need to do around 20-25 minutes of HIIT per session, which makes it a great workout for those days when you just don’t have much time on your hands.

You can practise HIIT on any cardio machines, but a class may be a better idea for HIIT novices. Try a class such as GT30, which uses cardio moves and your own bodyweight to create a challenging resistance workout. Ensure that you are pushing yourself to achieve your maximum heart rate during the higher-intensity periods and then lowering it during the lower-intensity minutes to achieve the best results.

Contact us to find out where your latest GT30 class is.

Multiple muscle exercises

Sometimes it’s just not possible to fit in separate exercises to isolate body parts and that’s where exercises that utilise multiple muscle groups can work wonders for your time and energy stores.

Opt for fast-paced cardio moves that also include weights, such as Body Pump classes, weighted squats, bodyweight moves (like in our Metafit class) and cardio equipment that simultaneously work your arms and legs, such as the rower and elliptical machine.

Learn to love advert breaks

We all loathe the ad breaks that interrupt our favourite TV programs, but instead of flicking through the channels, use these extra few minutes to get your heart racing. Complete fast cardio moves such as jump squats, push ups and burpees and push yourself to achieve your maximum heart rate.

Within just 3 hours of watching TV you’ll have racked up nearly 10 minutes of intense cardio work. If you did this every night, over the course of a week that’s over an hour of extra cardio which will make a huge difference to your progress!

Get lifting

You might think that cardio is the fastest way to lose fat and firm up, but the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest. After a session of weightlifting, your body works harder to repair itself to the level it was before the session, meaning it will expel energy for a longer amount of time post exercise.

Split your workouts up

If you don’t have time to fit in weights and cardio in one trip to the gym, then divide the two up throughout the day. You can always start your day by going for a run, then finish the day by completing your weights routine.

This will reduce the amount of rest time required in between exercises and allow you to focus all of your energy on that particular exercise instead of half-heartedly completing them both, which will improve your performance overall.