You’ve probably seen people in the gym who sit at the stationary bike, ride for 30 minutes or so, all the while reading a book or magazine. One of my favorite quotes from Tom Holland’s book Beat The Gym is “If You Can Read During Cardio, It Is Too Easy.” Spending the time to get a workout in is essential, but you have you want to make sure the time counts.
When you do a cardio exercise or weight lifting, it is important to work at an intensity that challenges you. When it comes to cardio, doing high intensity intervals are great challenge. You might try the Tabata interval cycle of 20 seconds of hard running/riding with 10 seconds of rest for a total of 8 rounds. Another option is Fartlek Training, which is a less structured interval training involving running fast and slower at varying intervals for as long or as far as you like.
For weight lifting, the rule of thumb is that if you can do more than 15 reps at proper form with a weight, then the weight is too light. If you’re used to just doing 8-10 reps with a set weight, why not try lowering the reps to 6, but with a heavier weight. You could also add some light cardio to your rest period between sets with jumping jacks, jump rope, or battle ropes for a fat burning boost.
Whatever your workout plan is, just make sure it’s difficult enough that you can’t read a book while doing it.