The one big excuse that's keeping you out of shape

A global study of 1.9 million men and women conducted by The World Health Organisation released last week showed Australians are your average, middle of the road, lazy bunch. We rank 97th out of 168 countries when it comes to being sufficiently active.

Why? It's probably that same old excuse: "I don't have time to exercise."

Now that statement is wrong, and it's dangerous. Got two minutes? Maybe 20 minutes? Then you have time to move your body. Here's how:

The 'commercial break' session

Time: 2 minutes

Whether you're a streamer, Foxtel junkie, or free-to-air kind of viewer, there's always an ad break where you can squeeze in a mini-workout.

Try a simple circuit of 20 high knees, 10 push-ups, 10 sit-ups, and 10 squats, then repeat until your show comes back on. If you're on the couch for a few hours, there's enough time for numerous circuits throughout an evening. And if you're moving, you're not snacking on junk.

The 'stress release' session

Time: 5 minutes

Whether it's a bad day at the office or some family dramas have you thinking "I've got to hit something," then do just that – put on the boxing gloves and hit a heavy bag with intensity for five minutes straight. Row with 100 per cent intensity, run the stairs / do outdoor sprints, skip rope, or even drop for as many burpees as you can do in five minutes.

If you're more Celine Dion than Rage Against the Machine with your workouts, then go for a walk, sit in nature, or mediate-stretch-do yoga to get a bit of calm in your life.


The 'in-between meetings' session

Time: 12 minutes

Tabata is a "20 seconds on, 10 seconds of rest" workout that lasts four minutes in total. It was developed by Dr. Izumi Tabata – a lad we all owe a beer or green smoothie. Even in its simplest form Tabata sessions can build serious strength and cardio health.

In 12 minutes, you can perform 3 x 4 minutes Tabata sessions of:

a) 20 seconds of push-ups (rest 10 seconds) into 20 seconds of squats (rest 10 seconds) then repeat;

b) Jumping lunges into sit-ups; and

c) Burpees into dumbbell curl-shoulder presses.

The 'meeting was cancelled' session

Time: 20 minutes

Have a bit more time and might be able to get to the gym? Super. Form a Big Mac of fitness, where the bread is cardio movements, and the meat is weight bearing movements. Here's what I did today … three quick rounds of:

a) 300m on the rower; then

b) Straight into 20 push-ups, 20 sit-ups;

c) 200 skipping ropes; then

d) Straight into 10 burpees with a squat, 10 barbell curls, and 10 shoulder presses; and

e) 300m treadmill sprint.

I'm writing this column now with a bit of sweat, blood flow, and feeling damn good – gotta love those endorphins.

All of the above is some variation of HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training. When compared to traditional exercise HIIT increases metabolic rate, allows for more (and quicker) calorie burn, results in more fat loss, and better reduces blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Fitness is not about what you do and for how long – it's more about the intensity.

The 'you don't know how busy I am' session

20 years ago to the day I worked in New York, and I still recall my 120 hours per week time sheets billed to the client, making my boss quite the rich man. I do understand "busy", but you still must move your frame. Walk to work, schedule some tennis or a swim, monitor your 10,000 steps, or schedule a Personal Training session because you'd never miss a meeting – especially with your body.

Just this morning, my train journey finished at Martin Place, Sydney CBD. The good news? I hit that massive escalator with some exercise passion. It was a mini-session of 50 stairs that provided some old-fashioned leg burn and heart pumping blood flow. The bad news? I passed by about 30 people who just stood to the left, face buried in smartphone… next queueing for a coffee and muffin, to the desk, then home to hit the couch at night.

Remember, five 20 minute sessions (100 minutes) is .01 per cent of your week. Got time to move? Of course you do.

Passion for lifestyle change is the cornerstone for everything Michael Jarosky does. A Sydney-based personal trainer, he cajoled thousands of Executive Style readers to undertake his "Cut The BS" diet, and champions a charity weight-loss event, Droptober.

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