20 Minutes... Is It Worth It?

So you've heard me going on bout my emails.. Well here's a copy of the one I sent out today so you can get a feel for what you're missing out on!

‘I only have 20 minutes to train today, is it worth it?’ A question I get asked a lot and you’ve probably thought about too. The alternative is ‘Oh I didn’t do any exercise today as by the time I got to the gym I would have only had 15 minutes.’ So is it worth training if you only have a small portion of time that day? The answer is, it depends. There’s a whole host of approaches we can take to this question so here’s a few: The first problem that I can usually pick up from this question is that it is usually asked by people looking to justify skipping a session – in which case the answer is always, ‘yes absolutely it’s worth it.’ This is more because every subsequent time the client is ‘only left with 20 minutes to train’ they’ll skip it again. ‘You said it was fine to miss it last time,’ etc. etc. Unsurprisingly, you’ll then find it becoming more and more often that you only have 20 minutes to train as well. (N.B. If you find yourself constantly looking for excuses to skip the gym – you probably need to find a different form of exercise that you’ll actually enjoy!) Now we’ve got that out the way we can look at that 15-20 minutes and see what you can actually get done. If you’re going to go to the gym, dick about and barely even get warmed up in that time then no, it’s probably not worth the hassle. Odds are you’ll then also feel down about having a bad session and when most people feel this way they fall off their diet too. However, if you go in and work your socks off for 20 minutes you can definitely get something productive done in that time. When you’re pressed for time look more to supersets and circuits – work with a purpose and you’ll surprise yourself what you can fit in. The gym isn’t your only option though. You might be better off staying at home and doing exercise there. This can open you up to have more time to train as you don’t have to drive there and back, chat to your gym mates etc. If fat loss is your goal, your aim from your exercise is to stimulate your muscle tissue and bump your calorie expenditure up. This can easily be achieved at home. Sprint between lampposts outside your front door, run up the stairs, circuits of bodyweight squats, press ups and planks. Even without any equipment you have options. Alternatively, we can look at it from another angle. Rather than spending that time on your exercise, would you be better served taking that time to prepare more nutritious/less calorie dense food. If having that 20 minutes means you cook a proper dinner rather than stopping at the McDonalds drive-thru on your way home then odds are that’s going to do a better job of keeping you on track than cramming in 10 minutes of intervals. So even though you haven’t exercised your calorie deficit is still in a better place, and if you’re goal is fat loss that should be your main priority. Ultimately you need to look at the bigger picture for you. How will that time be best spent to keep YOU on track?

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