3 Ways to Workout Smarter, Not Longer

By Drew Manning

DWC WorkoutWorking out smarter, not longer – what does that even mean? Is that the same as reading a book while working out? Well, not exactly!

Many of us fall into the category of your average gym-goer who sets aside 1-2 hours to dedicate to exercise.  However, most of this time isn’t truly spent on your workout. You probably spend a large chunk of that time traveling to and from the gym, getting dressed in your fitness gear and maybe even chatting it up with buddies for 3-5 minutes between each set at the gym. Before you know it you’ve been at the gym for over an hour, hardly breaking a sweat.  And let’s be honest, I’ve been guilty of this too.

Another common problem is that many people get stuck in a comfortable routine like sitting down on the bike with a book in hand and reading for an hour, while pedaling at an easy pace and then thinking, “Hey I just did an hour of cardio…I’m crushing this exercise thing.” If that’s you and it works for you, then carry on.  Any exercise is still better than no exercise at all. The risk you run with a consistent exercise pattern however, is a plateau in your results.

This problem isn’t solved by spending more time in the gym, however – it’s solved by spending your time more efficiently. I’ve been working out on average 5-25 minutes per day, for five days a week over the past couple of years, which has helped me maintain my 75 lb. weight loss (from my Fit2Fat2Fit journey).

Here are my top 3 tips to help you implement a “working out smarter, not longer” philosophy, and give you more hours back in your day:

1. Supersets

Supersets are when you combine 2 or more exercises, and you complete those exercises back to back with minimal to no rest in between.  For example, if I’m doing a chest and back day at the gym, I’ll do a set of bench presses (anywhere from 8-15 reps), and then immediately will walk over to the pull-up bar and do a set of pull-ups (10-15 reps). Then I’ll go back to bench then pull-ups until all my sets are done.

Reps and sets can vary, but as a guideline start with 5 sets of 10 reps of each exercise. This way, your workout time is dramatically reduced and you’ll notice that you’ll be huffing and puffing in between sets, which means you’re getting the benefits of both cardio (elevated heart rate) with resistance training (building muscle)!

2. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

High Intensity Interval Training is the latest buzzword in the fitness industry because of how effective it is at burning fat.  The way this works is you select a short amount of time (usually anywhere from 10-45 seconds) where you go all out as fast as you can (whether you’re on the treadmill or lifting weight) and get that heart rate elevated as high as you can during that period of time. You’ll then you follow it up with a recovery of anywhere from 10-45 seconds depending on what the exercise was.

For example, I like to structure mine like this: 30 seconds sprint on the treadmill, 30 seconds rest.  Then repeat that interval for a total of 15 minutes.  You’ll burn twice the amount of calories in half the amount of time!

3. AMRAPS (As Many Rounds As Possible):

fit2fat2fit pushups“AMRAP” is a popular CrossFit acronym, because it is commonly used in their daily WODs (Workout of the Day).  The way this works is you pick a certain amount of reps of a few different exercise moves.

Here’s an example:

10 pushups

10 squats

10 pull-ups

10 sit-ups

All of those 40 reps equal 1 round.  Then set the timer for a 10 minute AMRAP. Try and get through as many rounds as you can in those 10 minutes.  You’ll want to go at a fast, but consistent pace.  Now you realize why you see Crossfitters sprawled out across the gym floor on their backs huffing and puffing after one of these quick but effective WODs.

Try and implement one or all of these “working out smarter, not longer” types of workouts the next time you’re at the gym. You’ll realize that you have more time now to dedicate to other important things in your life like family, friends, scrapbooking, watching SportsCenter, or other life passions.

About the Author:

Drew Manning is a celebrity fitness expert that has been seen on shows such as Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, The View, Nightline and many more. Drew is well known for his fit2fat2fit.com journey where he intentionally gained and lost 75 lbs. to gain a better understanding of what it was like to be overweight for the first time in his life. The humbling lessons he learned from this journey have made him a better and a better trainer.

One Comment

  1. Alison says:

    I recently started a Body Fit class. The instructor has us doing intense cardio warm ups, then 1 minute rotations between kettle bells, various squats or running mans, planking on step platforms, and these trapeze like bungie cord things. It’s some serious business. That lasts for a 1/2 hour and then we move to the spinning room. I’ve never done so much in 50 minutes. But it feels really good when you leave knowing how much you accomplished in such a short amount of time.