Are short, fifteen minute full body workouts the way to go? At the beginning they can work very well. But when you are more seasoned, you might want to take a different approach.
The subject has been a hot topic lately: just fifteen minutes a day of working out and within months you are a new you.
I get a lot of questions regarding this subject, so let me share my opinion as diplomatically as possible. Remember: in the world of fitness different things work for different people.
The emails I get regarding this usually go along these lines (skipping the “Dear Tatianna” part and everything else before the questions): “I have been working out 5-7 days a week, with short full body 10-15 minute workouts for several months now. At first I lost a lot of weight, getting more toned and feeling great. But after several months I noticed that I became tired all the time and I stopped seeing progress. I eat a very clean diet and get enough sleep, so why am I not seeing results anymore? What am I doing wrong? I heard that 10-15 minute workouts every day are enough to get in shape.”
You see, when a person who has never exercised in their life all of a sudden starts doing 10-15 minutes of daily workouts, it’s guaranteed that they start feeling great, no matter what workout they do. It’s something new and different for their body and it will be all exciting and challenging.
First of all, as you begin to advance in your training, your body will want to progress more. The weights you used at the beginning then won’t be enough to challenge your body. If you keeping doing the same thing you started out with several months ago, how do you think progress is going to happen?
Plus, it’s never really only 15 minutes. Look at it this way: even if you do your 5-7 weekly for only 15 minutes, you still have to warm-up 10 minutes and stretch 10 minutes (at least you should do that), then you have to shower. It’s a whole process which will add up to at least an hour per day. I am not sure how many people in this world have the time for a process like this seven days a week.
The Young And The Restless
Now, another problem that I have with 5-7 days a week of full body workouts is stressing your joints over and over again without having the time to heal and recover.
Yes, if you are young and strong you can ride those joints for a long time, but don’t be surprised if in ten years from now you will suddenly begin to have all them joint problems fall on your head at once. When we are young we don’t’ think about things like those silly old joints, we just want to look hot, right? Ten years ago that was me and I exercised daily. That was until I got an injury that changed my mind pretty quickly. It was my body’s way of speaking to me and saying: “woman, give me a break!”
Don’t Get Me Wrong!
I am not saying that these type of workouts are not effective at all, don’t get me wrong, 10-15 minutes of exercise is better than no exercise at all. I also believe that if someone is already in great shape you can maintain your current results for up to three months with these types of workouts. But in the long run, if you want get a lot fitter, by developing more muscle and strengthening your cardiovascular system, you will need something beside these frequent brief routines.
If you ask me, you should instead do a solid 30-40 minutes strength training routine focusing on different parts of the body on different days. This should be put together with light cardio of at least 10-15 minutes, four times a week. An example for this you can find in the plan I put together here.
That way you will keep challenging your body, give its parts enough rest and still have three days during the week to do other things in life beside working out.