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Cardio Routines For Busy People

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I really feel sorry for the people that think they need to spend hours each week
slaving away with boring cardio and aerobics routines to enhance endurance and
burn fat. Not only are extended cardio sessions not necessary for fat loss, but
they’re typically not even the most effective way to build endurance and
That’s not to say they don’t have their place, but for people on a busy schedule,
it’s all about getting the greatest results in the least amount of time. This means
utilizing high intensity efforts done in short bursts like sprints and interval
Here are some of my favorite cardio routines for busy people:
Kettlebell Swings: If you only had 10 minutes to spare a week to exercise
and could only do one thing, just do these. 10-20 minutes a week is all you
need when done right, but it will be intense. Kettlebell swings (or dumbbell
swings if you don’t have kettlebells) are one of the best exercises for a
better butt and more athletic power. Aim for 75 total reps in a session. Rest
around 60 seconds between sets. Do this 2-3 times a week. See Tim
Ferriss demonstrate how to do them here:
Speed Walking: Speed walking is a way to condition the body without
letting it adapt to the workout. Many aerobics routines lose their
effectiveness at burning fat as the body adapts to them, but speed walking is
so inefficient (a good thing) that it continually challenges the body each
workout. It is also low-impact for those with joint issues. The process is
simple, walk as fast as you can for 15-20 minutes. Attempt to beat the
distance covered next session. This can be more challenging than jogging
when you really push yourself.
Incline Challenge: Similar to speed walking, set up a treadmill on a high
incline and attempt to walk as fast as possible for 15-20 minutes. The
incline really works the calves and glutes and makes this especially
challenging without stressing the joints as much as running.
Sprints and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Sprints, including hill
sprints, and other forms of high intensity interval training are a great way to
condition the body. HIIT is intense, and need to be treated like any other
form of intense exercise by getting adequate rest between sessions. A
simple routine would be, after warming up, apply all out effort for 30
seconds such as an all out sprint or cycle. Then drop back to low intensity
effort such as walking or slow cycling for 1:30. Repeat this for 4-6 total
cycles done at most 3 times a week.
Multi-Tasking: It may seem obvious, but not everyone thinks to take walk
during a phone call or while listening to an audio book. Even if it’s just
pacing around an office or room during a phone call set to speaker phone,
this is a way to do something you’d normally be doing (talking on the
phone) but adding in physical activity at the same time. Other examples
could be biking to work while listening to an audio book to kill three birds
with one stone. Get creative and you may be surprised to find there’s a lot of
“extra” time you have during the day to be physically active.
These simple routines will really be all you need for your cardio. I suggest
however finding something you enjoy and will stick with. If you hate using a
treadmill, then do something else you enjoy. The biggest key is to keep yourself
moving and train for your specific goals. For fat loss, the biggest thing will
simply be eating properly, engaging in resistance training, and keeping your
body active. For more tips on getting in a great workout quickly, I recommend
Tim Ferriss’ book The 4 Hour Body at

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