All aboard the Workout Express!

We live in a time-pressed society where the stakes for professional success, social admiration and physical fitness are always present. These goals do NOT have to be mutually exclusive, as modern moms can have our proverbial cake and eat it too, particularly when it comes to fitness! How? The key is to optimize the time that can be devoted to fitness-related efforts.

Even just 20 minutes of exercise most days of the week is enough to improve your health and reduce your risk of disease. Thirty minutes will help increase your fitness level and stamina. Forty-five minutes or more will help you optimize fat loss. The first step is to believe that you are worth it and that a fit body is a sexy body.

In an effort to balance all the pieces of the cake we call life and, as they say, enjoy the ride, the following tips and tools employing sound exercise principles will help you turbocharge Modern Mom to more results in less. weather. :

o Combine upper and lower body exercises: Cut your strength routine in half by incorporating exercises for various body parts. For example, while performing a lunge, add a series of bicep curls to the movement.

o Choose compound exercises: Exercises that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously are more efficient than isolated exercises, which target one main muscle group. Examples of compound exercises include leg press, squat, chest fly, walking lunge, and seated row.

o Circuit Train: With minimal equipment, you can set up stations that alternate cardio activities with strength training activities. This will keep your heart rate up so you can get the aerobic and anaerobic (strength) benefits. A sample circuit might include: jumping rope, bicep curls, jumping jacks, push-ups, jogging in place, squats, mini-trampoline, and dips. Repeating the circuit up to three times is guaranteed to speed up your metabolism in less than 30 minutes.

o Interval Training – Using active work-rest ratios will allow you to train at the upper and lower levels of your fat burning zone and optimize calories expended. You can start by walking briskly for 2 minutes and jogging for 30 seconds. Then progress to 2 minutes of brisk walking and 1 minute of jogging. Eventually progress to two minutes of each, and ultimately spend less time walking and more time jogging.

o Increase your intensity – By increasing your pace, you can cover more miles and ultimately burn more calories in less time. You may need to increase the intensity gradually, but you will become more efficient in the process and you will be able to reduce the length of your exercise sessions.

o Stock up on 30-minute workout videos: Watch the latest videos to suit every fitness level, body part, and training style. Four 30-minute videos a week could add up to 18 pounds burned in a year.

o Multitask: Use your time on the bike to catch up on professional literature, review notes for a presentation, or update your Palm Pilot. That will keep you up to date and save you time in the office.

o Schedule your next meeting in the gym – It’s not uncommon these days to have a business meeting on the tennis or racquetball court or golf course. It can be a welcome change for all parties involved and you can exercise while getting paid.

o Pick up the pace: speed up whenever you can, like at the grocery store or mowing the lawn. Run errands, literally. Calories can add up significantly and keep your metabolism burning at a higher level throughout the day.

o Make it a lifestyle change: By ditching some of life’s modern conveniences and getting more physical, you can burn up to an extra 800 calories a week. That can add up to 11 pounds lost at the end of a year. So, start climbing the stairs, even if you work on the 10th floor, it will be easier. Park your car last and keep your sneakers close at all times. You never know when the opportunity to go for a walk, hit the gym, or join the kids on the field will arise.

o Turn time wasters into time savers: contract muscle groups while waiting in line or driving, stretch at your desk, take a walk on coffee breaks. Remember that three ten-minute intervals are as good as one 30-minute session. When possible, exercise during lunch and then eat at your desk.

o Incorporate exercises for the mind and body – Choosing a discipline like yoga or pilates will not only give you the physical benefits of a well-toned body, but you will also enjoy relaxation and stress-relief enhancements.

o Make time – schedule 30 minute workouts in your appointment book 1 month in advance and keep that commitment the same way you would any other meeting. Set your alarm, clock or palm pilot to go off when it’s time to exercise.

o Sex counts: While I wouldn’t suggest replacing a formal exercise program with sex, it certainly burns calories. The fitter you are, the more enjoyable all activities, including sex, will be.

o Exercise saves you time: the fitter you are, the less sleep you need, so you can add more time to your day and have more energy for your daily tasks. Exercise could add longer, stronger years to your life; that time is priceless.