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The Overworked Workout

outdoor workout

It's the start of a new year and you want to get fit, but time isn't on your side. Don't worry, you're not alone.

According to research carried out by the Trade Union Centre (TUC), Britons work, on average, 48 hours a week. Not only does this mean we outwork most of Europe, including France (35 hours a week), but it leaves very little time for us to exercise.

According to Dr. Eve Van Cauter, sleep researcher at the University of Chicago, sleep loss can contribute to "physical and emotional collapse." Adding to this, NHS UK suggests that a lack of sleep not only increases our stress levels and chances of developing diabetes, but it can cause us to put on weight.

Fortunately, despite us Brits working more hours than our European counterparts, there are ways we can ensure our health doesn't suffer. Although it might be difficult for all of us to make wholesale changes to the way we live our lives (because of work), we can make incremental alterations that will help boost our fitness levels, help us to lose weight and combat rising stress levels.

Essentially, a strong work-life balance is key. To do this, small changes need to be incorporated into a busy day to ensure your fitness levels don’t suffer.  We've outlined a few simple routines that will help you to get fit within a timeframe that suits you.

The One Hour Workout Blitz: Train, Eat and Rest


hiit class

"November Kettlebell Masterclass at Energ" (CC BY 2.0) by  kl.fitness


12:00pm: HIIT Training


It's been around for a while, but High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is now a staple fixture of many gyms. Research suggests that the average HIIT session allows you to burn 15 calories+ per minute which is almost twice as many as you would on a long run.

Although there are plenty of HIIT classes at gyms across the country, they may not fit into your schedule, so here's a 30-minute HIIT routine you can do to burn as many as 450 calories:


10 minute dynamic warm-up to elevate your heart rate. Choose a mixture of exercises, which can include: lunge with a twist, knee to chest (mimicking running motion while on your back), high kicks, jump squats (squat then jump) and T push-ups (raise one arm towards the sky to create a T shape with your body on the up phase of the push-up).

Routine One:

  • Burpees
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Straight into skipping 3 minutes
  • Rest for 1 minute

* Perform this routine for three circuits using the following pattern: 10 reps first round, 15 reps second round and 20 reps third round. Make sure there are no rests in-between exercises during the round.


Routine Two:

  • Walking Lunges with kettlebell exchange underneath leg
  • Pushups
  • Lunge Jumps
  • Walk-outs (inchworms)
  • Jump rope 3 minutes
  • Rest 1 minute


*Perform this routine for three circuits using the following pattern: 45 seconds per exercise with a 15 second break between each exercise and circuit.


Routine Three:

  • Travelling Kettlebell Squats
  • TRX Pull-ups
  • Box Jumps
  • TRX Jack Knives
  • Straight into skipping 3 minutes
  • Rest 1 minute


*Perform this routine for three circuits using the following pattern: 45 seconds per exercise with a 15 second break between each exercise and circuit.


12:30: Post workout nutrition


nutrition bars

"Quest Bars!" (CC BY 2.0) by  m01229


If you're trying to lose weight during your workouts, then you need to think about your macros. Macros basically refer to the three main food groups the body needs, and the amount of each one which should be consumed depends on your fitness goals. While whole foods should always be part of your diet, supplements may also be required to help you meet your daily nutritional requirements. Products such as protein powder allow us to get the nutrients we need in a timeframe that suits and that's why they are an essential part of our routine.


Macros you need post-HIIT:

  • 500 Calories under maintenance daily
  • High Protein (40% of total calories)
  • Low Carbs (20% of total calories)
  • High Fat (40% of total calories)


According to a study carried out by the Department of Kinesiology, at McMaster University, Ontario, muscle protein synthetic rate (MPS) is elevated by 50% in the four hours after heavy resistance training and by 109% at 24 hours post-training.


If you listen to fitness professionals, a staple protein source after HIIT is whey and when you survey the range of protein powders from Predator Nutrition and other online outlets, Optimum Nutrition (ON) 100% is great option as it has been rated as 80+% pure protein. Indeed, a single serving (30.4g) of ON 100% Whey will give you 23.4g of protein per serving through a combination of isolate and whey hydrolysates. Protein in this form has a higher biological value than standard whey protein, which means ON 100% Whey is able to deliver the vital nutrients you need in a more efficient manner. Moreover, with only 2.4g of carbohydrates and 1.3g of sugar per serving, this type of protein powder will allow you to rebuild muscle without putting on extra bulk (fat).  


In addition to an efficient source of protein, you'll also need BCAA + Glutamine supplements (recommended products include: SciVation's Xtend, BSN DNA BCAA and ON BCAA 5000). These supplements will help improve your recovery and ensure you don't hit a late afternoon slump when you're back in the office.


The final supplement you need to consider is creatine. On top of taking a dose before your workout, you should also use a creatine supplement within 30 minutes of finishing your workout. For example, LiveLong Nutrition's Creation Gluconate is a product that will give you 3,000mg of creatine gluconate per serving. This should boost your power and ensure you're ready to face the rest of the day like a beast.


1:00pm: Back to the Office


Once you've completed your workout and taken in the vital nutrients, it's time to get back to the office and get back to work. However, to ensure you recover properly, make sure you consume at least 5 cups of water. This will help rehydrate you and ensure your body is fully recovered and ready for your next session.


Time is a precious commodity, but so is your health and that's why our routine is great way for you to train, eat and rest like a pro. Although you might have a job that requires you to work long hours, it doesn't mean you should sacrifice your health. In an environment where time is limited, efficiency is crucial and our exercise suggestions and dietary guide should give you everything you need to achieve a healthier work-life balance.

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