The Secret to Working Out Effectively

“Your body can stand almost anything. It’s your mind that you have to convince.”

As I shared in the post titled “How Did you Lose the Baby Weight,” working out to tighten and tone has been a regular part of my routine. I say to “tighten and tone” because I genuinely believe that “you can’t outrun a bad diet” unless you are me in my twenties regularly training as part of playing semi-professional sports or your genes are that way inclined. I am in my mid-30s, my body just produced 2 children in quick succession, I’m not playing any sport at the moment and my genes are favourable to weight… in short, I have to make an effort 🙂

My relationship with exercising on my own was a stuttering one at first. I say stuttering because I thought I had to run for many many kilometers daily in order for exercise to have an effect. I also wanted to return from my run already feeling fitter. Then there is the small business of staying motivated when you are doing something solo. Motivation doesn’t last and then discipline needs to kick in. Again… stuttering.

Then I discovered this:

It doesn’t necessitate grand efforts. Here’s what science has to say regarding how little effort you can expend to hone your body and feel better.

Getting stronger only takes 13 minutes, three times a week

That’s according to a study … published in Medicine and Science in Sports and ExerciseResearchers split 34 fit male participants into three groups and had them do five, three, or one set of several common weight lifting exercises. Respectively, this took 70 minutes, 40 minutes, and 13 minutes a session. They did the same workout three times a week for two months and all three groups showed significant–and similar–gains in strength. So, why push yourself for over an hour to get stronger, when only 13 minutes has the same effect?


This is very similar to my own experience. After a lot of trial and error and the heartache of accepting that there is no magic wand 😉 , I found that a 20 minute run every other day was more than enough for me to tone and firm what I needed. When coupled with eating clean, it was even more effective.

The key is short, effective workouts reasonably consistently rather than lengthy, grand efforts once in a while.

Debunking the idea that exercise needs to be some kind of mammoth time-consuming effort lifted the mental block to getting on with it for me. Seeing results then ensured that my little discipline fire stayed and stays charged.

I must be honest though, despite knowing that 20 minutes is enough, I always push it to 30 minutes so I can get Vitality Points for a 30 minute workout. My mother raised me on a reward system. She paid me an allowance directly linked to good grades and boy, did I thrive. I didn’t get any other kind of pocket money so I had to maximise.

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