Is 10 minutes of working out, better than none?

In this blog I want to cover a topic that i have discussed with many of many clients of the years. How can I workout on my own if I just don't have the time?  Over the years I have had this discussion many times with clients and the response is usually the same. I would say "Did you find time to workout this week? They would say, " Kevin I just don't have the time to workout with my crazy schedule." I would then tell them the usually response, " You have to make time for your health.", or " "A little bit of fitness goes along way."  But a lot of them still just couldn't find the time. I started to ask myself, "Why is this lack of free time so common among most of my people I meet? Then I started to notice this commonalty of Americans in general, regardless of their occupation,  everyone seem to be working more and focusing on their health even less.  In fact in a recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics says,  "over 20 percent of the total work force reported working over 49 hours a week." "Eleven million of those said they worked more than 59 hours a week."  This can be seen by the increasing demand of after care school activities, and the rise in number of children in day care.

Now you can probably blame it on our extreme work ethic, increasing stress to provide for our family, or the pressure just to keep our jobs.  Either way Americans just can't seem to stop working more then they should. 

After thinking of a solution to this problem I came up with little experiment to try. I would try working out for just 10 minutes a day for 2 weeks and see if I could get any results. Now at first I hypothesized that I wouldn't see any results, because I have been an active athlete all my life and I'm used to working out 1-2 hours a day. But to my surprise after the 2 weeks were up I did a notice a couple things had changed. I had more energy and my mood had changed as well. I believed the positive mood was do to having more time to get my work, family obligations, and daily errands done. Now this means I was working more, so I don't think that was an overall good thing, but the added energy I got from the shorter workout periods helped me stay more focused mentality and physically through out the week. Now I'm not saying 10 minutes workouts are the only thing you need to stay fit, but for the workalcholics, busy parents, or entrepreneurs out there it's better than doing nothing at all.  Now most of you have heard about HIIT or High Intensity Cardio, but few of you actually have try it out. The objective is to perform a  certain group of exercises (5-10) with little to no rest for 10 minutes straight. It seems simple enough, but it actually is pretty challenging. The best part is that you decided how hard to push yourself. The goal is to do 90-100% intensity, but I would recommend starting slow for the first couple weeks, then increase the intensity accordingly. Below are some sample workouts to try.

HIIT Sample Workouts

Workout #1

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Burpees
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Push-ups
  • Planks
  • Jumping jacks

Workout #2

  • Squat Jumps
  • Ice Skaters
  • Dips
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Sit-ups
  • Planks
  • Lunge Jumps

Workout #3

  • Burpees
  • Box Jumps
  • Crunches
  • Wall Sits
  • High Knees (Running in Place)
  • Shoulder Presses

 (20 sec on,10 sec rest)- Perform these exercises in a row until the 10 minutes are up.

So my observations with my clients were correct. People are working more and working out even less. It's no wonder the rising number of overweight and obese people in America is reaching over 70%. Now I know some of you are thinking, "This HIIT thing is just too intense for me." Which for a lot of people could be true.But don't start giving up on staying fit just yet.  If you have 10 minutes, then you have time to be fit no matter what you do, so just do something! It may not seem like much, but here is a list of some other things you can do in 10 minute, or less. 

  • Take the Stairs
  • Get Up and Move Around-Sit Less and Move more!
  • Mediate
  • Yoga
  • Jump Rope
  • Run Sprints
  • Dance
  • Roughhousing with your kids
  • Line Time Workout-The next time that you're standing in line at the grocery store–or anywhere, for that matter–use the time for a little fitness. Try some calf raises, lifting up onto the balls of your feet, then returning to flat feet. Contract your abdominals by gently drawing your navel towards your spine.

The list of exercises is endless and there are so many resources on the web today to help give you some ideas of what to do for a great 10 minute workout. Just remember like I always tell my clients,  "you get out of it, what you put in". So work smart and hard for those 10 minutes and you'll see the benefits.

So in conclusion the question remains is 10 minutes better than none? The answer is yes.  You bet your soon to be skinny ass it is!