By Kristin Sidorov
It’s been a few weeks since I decided to commit to being fit for fall, and so far, I’ve been able to stick to my plan and avoid the common pitfalls that can sneak up once the weather turns cooler. But now it’s time to refocus. A fresh crop of diet traps always pop up in November. Daylight savings time is here, crisp fall air slowly transforms into the nip of winter, and the holiday season is already officially here.
During these hectic months it can be difficult to find the time to commit to a strict fitness plan. Between events, family gatherings, parties, planning, and a million other things, fall’s shortened days fill up quickly—leaving little time for rest, much less a workout. But anything is better than nothing, even if you’ve only got 10 minutes to spare, especially if you have the right tools to get the most from your short workout.
Here are some of the best quick tips for effective short workouts and easy diet plans. When your schedule is jammed, the last thing you need is to make your health goals feel like a chore. Once you have these tricks in your back pocket, you can spend less energy on worrying and more on getting things done.
Never, ever, ever skip breakfast.
Work daily breakfasts into your routine and, in no time, it’ll be a no-brainer. Fuel up before you start and you’ll be less likely to over-consume or turn to less healthy options later in the day. Breakfast doesn’t have to be elaborate or time-consuming: Even a fat-free yogurt with some granola or fruit is more than enough to get you going, jump-start your metabolism, and control your appetite. Try to get some fiber, lean protein, and fruits or veggies for maximum benefit.
Always have a snack on hand.
When you’re on the go and hunger strikes, it’s all too easy to turn to a quick option that’s not exactly diet-friendly. By having some healthy snack options on hand at all times, you’ll always be prepared to stay on track. Studies have shown that eating small meals every few hours is one of the best diet strategies: It helps curb cravings, stabilize blood sugar, and keeps your energy and metabolism revving. Pop a handful of trail mix and an apple in your bag and you’re good to go. A few hours later, grab some whole-grain crackers and hummus or cheese, or try roasted edamame, cottage cheese, or even a quick and filling glass of vegetable juice.
Short on time? Up your workout intensity.
If you only have a small window of time to get in a workout, add intensity to reap great benefits. In fact, being short on time might actually be a good thing: Most experts suggest mixing up your exercise routine with shorter, more intense speed work to help break through plateaus and achieve maximum results. Just two weeks of interval training can boost your fat-burning by up to 36 percent. Your metabolism will also stay elevated longer post-workout. Try this easy cardio interval program. Other tips to up the intensity? Add incline to your cardio workout and add weights to double your efforts.
Compound your workout.
Compound exercises work multiple muscle groups at once. You’ll get a lot of return in half the time. Squats work quads, hamstrings, glutes, back, and core while also working tons of smaller stabilizing muscles. Pull-ups can work biceps, back, lats, and core while also strengthening your grip and your neck muscles. Compound exercises also work to build up your joints, ligaments, and tendons and provide more of an “all-over” strengthening than isolation moves. You’ll be able to get an incredibly effective workout, strengthen key muscles, and get on with the rest of you busy day.
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