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How to Have Quick, Easy and Efficient Workouts

September 20, 2011 8:04 AM | Columns

By Wendy Novotny (@wendynovotny)

Wendy Novotny

Did anyone rise to the challenge of my last post and notice how much sugar they are consuming? Let me know how it went!

Today I want to talk about how I like my workouts quick and dirty. Let me state the obvious: I’m a single mom, running my own business. I don’t have time for long, drawn out sessions at the gym. I am, however, very interested in being fit and having a toned physique. I used to do “traditional” workouts — you know, 40 minutes on the elliptical and the next day a “weights” class… focusing on legs… so on an so forth. Those workouts worked! I was fit, my physique was nice. I adored running — it was great for the health of my mind. When my IT band injuries became a problem and I started being a “workout-arexia,” meaning I’d look at the calories of what I was eating and would quickly calculate how long it would take me to burn those off on the elliptical I knew I needed a solution to the mental game I played with myself.

I tried a metabolic conditioning class. I’ll never forget it. I went in all piss and vinegar. Super fit. Within 40 minutes I had worked out harder than I’d ever worked out in my life. That was it. 40 minutes. Including warm-up, abs and stretch. Cha-Ching! I was hooked.

I am currently in “maintenance phase,” meaning I have accomplished my goals so now just need to put in some time to maintain them, so I typically workout about three times a week. It’s always metcon.

What is metabolic conditioning? To break it down, there are three energy pathways. They all work together. In very basic explanation: the first provides about three units of energy, the second about 38 units of energy and the last one provides about 100 units of energy. And yes, typically, the more energy you burn, the better. Here’s the catch: the last energy pathway must be done with moderate intensity. Translation: for a long time at a steady pace where oxygen is used readily. So, although the last pathway will give you the most energy lost, you need to spend a lot of time there. If you don’t have the time, then it would be better bang for your buck to be pushing through the second energy pathway as much as possible. By reaching this state often in a workout (metabolic conditioning), then getting rest, you can effectively burn though lots of calories. Hopefully, you’ll be putting on muscle (muscle burns fat; even when you’re sleeping) so you’re overall raising your metabolic rate (fat burning mechanism in your body).

How does a metabolic conditioning workout look?

Here’s a favorite of mine:

  • 10 burpees, eight walking lunges (per leg) with weight, six military presses with heavy weights. As fast as you can, with good form, as many times as you can in two minutes. Rest two minutes, then do it again four more times.

So as you can see, your heart rate will be high the entire time. You will dig in to that second energy pathway, then get rest when the body peters out.

Find a friend, set up a clock, some good tunes and give it a try!

Wendy Novotny is a local personal trainer who runs Wendy Novotny Training. Valuing health and all that it encompasses, she finds great fulfillment by helping people gain control of their overall health. Wendy advises them with their fitness, nutrition, emotional and spiritual health. Of the other trades Wendy prides herself is her family and friends. A single mom to two young boys, she recognizes the challenges of finding time for everything. Thanks to amazing family and friends, she is able to handle all the trades. And then some.


Tags: Health