Lunden Souza: Make small intervals of time work for you

July 27, 2013 

As I always say, not having time is not an excuse for not working out. There has been plenty of research showing that intensity (how hard you work) is much more important than duration (time spent working out), and you should always be focused and giving it your entire all during your workout. This week I have some more workouts that require a lot of effort without a lot of time. Really focus, set your intention for your workout and go for it no matter how much time you have.

If I really want to get my heart rate up without getting out a bunch of equipment, I jump rope. I carry my weighted jump rope with me always. It is either wrapped up in my backpack or in my purse. Start keeping your jump rope with you in your car, gym bag or office desk. There is never a bad time to jump rope. Just because you do not have a machine to do a cardio warm-up does not mean that you cannot get an awesome cardio workout with a jump rope. Jump 50 times as fast as you can and then rest for a count of 10 to 20. Repeat this pattern at least 10 times for a really great challenge.

Another way to get a great workout in a short amount of time is with circuit training. You can target your entire body or a specific muscle group with circuit training and get done in less than 20 minutes. An example of a total body circuit would be: Squats with hands behind your head, push ups, mountain climbers, lunges and plank. Perform each exercise for one minute and then rest at the end for one to two minutes. For a more advanced fitness level, use the same time limits but progress the movements with jump squats, push-up to weighted row, mountain climbers and criss-cross mountain climbers, lunge with torso twist and plank with alternating leg elevations. Focus your mind, work hard and it really does only take about 20 minutes.

If you have 20 or 30 minutes to go to the gym then go for it. Do a quick warm up, get focused and get to work. If you want to kick up the intensity in the short amount of time, throw in some jumping jacks or burpees in between sets to keep your heart pumping and muscles moving. Aim outside of your comfort zone for this short amount of time and you will not regret it.

This week try to increase the intensity and take each moment, even if it is short, to focus on health and fitness when you can. This isn't about having time, it is about making time and making it worth it.

Lunden Sousa, a Merced native, is a personal trainer, health and wellness coach and writer in Southern California. She can be reached at

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