Time is such a constraint for so many of us hard working, family oriented individuals. Exercise is often the first item to be crossed off the list. Yet many of us understand how truly important fitness is for our health. I am often asked:
When you’re just too busy to exercise, how much could be enough to get healthy?
The answer to that question should be as unique as your finger print! As we already know, there is no such thing as one size fits all! Just take a look at the dreaded one size fits all dress. It never fits! The sheer disaster of that elastic cuts off our circulation.
Exercise is exactly the same way. In order to get fit, the solution must fit.
I’ve designed a special quiz that helps you determine the quantity of exercise that is enough for you. It is based on your fitness level, time constraints, energy levels and desire to get fit.
It may not be perfect, but consider it the fitness small, medium or large that gives you a much greater rate of success than any one size fits all solution ever could.
Jot down the letter that best corresponds to you:
1 The following statement describes my current fitness lifestyle:
(A) I already do cardio at least 3 times a week from
30 minutes to an hour
(B) Right now I’m not doing a cardio routine, but I
know I need to start.
c (C) I sporadically start and stop cardio programs and
then get bored or run out of time to continue.
(D) I am so stressed out; I barely have the time to even
brush my teeth. How do you expect me to fit in
2. How much time can you allocate to exercise most
days of the week?
A) Even 30 minutes to an hour is pushing it, but I’m determined
B) I can do 45 minutes to an hour and a half maximum
C) I can’t do any more than 20 minutes to 45 minutes maximum
D) I don’t think I have the time to do cardio. Is there anything else I could do instead?
3. What statement best describes your energy levels
after a cardio session?
A)I usually feel energized and refreshed. If I didn’t have energy before, I have some after.
B)In the past sometimes I feel more tired than before I started.
C)When I start I feel good, but cardio is the first thing to go if I run out of time.
D)I have never done cardio before.
4. What statement best describes how you feel
about cardio and exercise?
A)I love it/ like the feeling it gives me afterwards. I
know I’m healthy because of it.
B)Doing cardio isn’t rewarding. I like to do things
that have purpose and cardio doesn’t have a direction or purpose.
C)I like it, but I don’t miss it when it’s gone. I’m really worried that if it’s too long I may not stick to it.
D)I’d rather not do it.
5. On a scale of 1 to 10, during a cardio session I
work at a level that is:
A)7-10 out of 10. I know I’m working hard, but I can handle it quite well.
B)5-6 out of 10. I usually don’t push myself too hard.
C)7-10 out of 10 but short. I can push myself hard briefly but then I stop all together. I may not want to continue.
D)3-5 feels like 9-10. I feel like I am exerting myself way too much. I can’t sustain it.
6.What statement best describes your
A)I am very busy, but I enjoy being ambitious
B)I like to stop and smell the roses.
C)I have many responsibilities that take me away from my own personal goals
D)I never feel relaxed. I have too much on my mind.
6 7. If I have a free moment I:
A) Run, bike or do cardio
B) Read a book or take a nap
C) I have been known to do physical activity in my
free moments, but right now I don’t
D) I never have a free moment
8. When I walk upstairs I feel:
A)A bit out of breath but it feels fine/not at all out of
B)I’m panting. I may need to stop half way up
C)Some days it feels harder than others
D)Really out of breath/stressed when I know I have to go upstairs
9. How committed are you to good health?
A)I’m very committed
B)I’m very/somewhat committed but I wish it didn’t
need to feel so monotonous.
C)I know it’s important but sometimes my commitments are put on the back burner for others.
D)I don’t think I’m ready yet
10. Describe how you would like to work out:
A)Get right in there and get it done.
B)I get an hour or two of free time I could
C)I get little breaks throughout the day and I could
squeeze something in quickly
D)I have no time right now at all.
Count the letters for each one and pick the corresponding answer
Mostly A’s: Tabata Training
Congratulations! Your fitness level is high enough that you can successfully enjoy the fastest, quickest time saving method of cardio. This will reduce the amount of time you spend working out and will allow you to focus on the other important things in your life. If done properly Tabata’s can be done in just 4 minutes! Various studies have demonstrated that this exercise can increase lung capacity, and strengthen your heart in similar ways to a 30 minute run! The catch, you have to go all out! 100% of your capacity for every Tabata sprint. I suggest trying this on a spinning bike at first.
Exercise prescription: 5 minute warm up
4 minutes: 8 sets of 20 second sprints with 10 seconds rest in between. 5 minute cool down
Total: 14 minutes
Mostly B’s: Walking
Your fitness level may not be as high as it could be to benefit from quick and easy cardio routine. Your laid back nature and need for purpose in the activities you do may make walking the best form of cardio you can do. Although it may seem like a long time, a one hour walk at 60%-70% of your heart rate maximum is just as beneficial as a 25-30 minute run. Instead of taking the car, choose a purposeful destination to walk to such as the grocery store or the bank.
Exercise prescription: 1 hour brisk walk 60%-70%* heart rate maximum
Mostly C’s: Run or bike
You may have many responsibilities pulling you away from exercise at the moment so quick and to the point would be the best solution for you. Your sporadic exercise nature has given you some cardio benefits, but you’re still not at a level where you can do a short one shot bout of sprints and move on with your day. The best form of exercise for you is 30-45 minutes running or biking at a heart rate of 70%-85%. This may seem long, but guess what? You can break up the exercise time into 3 10 minute short bouts throughout your day! It is a great way to save time, and to take your exercise needs into consideration while taking care of the other responsibilities in your day.
Exercise prescription: 3 sets of 10 minutes run on the spot, bike 70%-85%* heart
Mostly D’s: light stretching, meditation or yoga
Congratulations on taking this quiz. It means that you’re contemplating life changing decisions. However, you’re not quite in the mindset to begin a cardio routine. Starting with a 10 minute light stretching, meditation or yoga routine just before bed may start to form a pattern of exercise for you. It will quiet the mind and help you reduce your stress levels. Perhaps after 6-8 weeks of following this routine, you can reassess whether or not a cardio based program is right for you.
Exercise prescription: 10 minute stretching, meditation or yoga before bed
*to calculate your heart rate: 220-age X percentage. Find pulse for and count the beats for 10 seconds. Multiply by 6.