What to Do When You Only Have Time for One Workout a Week

man doing press ups outside on parallel bars
Head outside for some vitamin D with your sweat session. (Image: Adobe Stock/pressmaster)

Here’s something all weekend warriors know to be true: Even a single intense weekly workout puts you in better health than lying on the coach. According to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, weekend exercisers reported a 40 percent lower risk of death due to cardiovascular disease.

But don’t dust off that mountain bike or cross-country skis just yet. The downside is that some weekend warriors battle so bravely and with such intensity that they increase their chances of injury and burnout.

The key is to find balance.

But creating balance in your life and body can be challenging. Maintaining a variety of components of fitness — cardiovascular conditioning, muscular strength, flexibility, a meditation practice and outdoor adventure — is no easy feat.

Maybe you don’t have the time to attend a 90-minute yoga class or go on a 11-mile hike, but rather than getting bummed out and resentful of your busy schedule, try this weekend workout to keep all of your fitness tools sharp and fill your exercise quota for the week.

Reap the Benefits in a Fraction of the Time

It may sound like an infomercial claim, but there are benefits to getting in one really intense workout per week if that’s all you can manage.

The workout that follows contains all elements of fitness and conditioning and elevates your mood too, thanks to Mother Nature! Other benefits and bonuses include:

  • Lowered stress: You don’t having to sign up for a class, drive to a studio or hire a babysitter.
  • It’s inexpensive: There’s no charge; you supply your own motivation and fuel to get moving and push yourself to reach new heights.
  • A chance to get social: Grab a friend or co-worker for motivation, support and accountability.
  • Balanced intensity: Going hard for two hours straight when you’re coming off a draining workweek isn’t wise for most. This workout offers waves of intensity so you push hard, but also have time to recover.
  • Go at your own pace: Opt to walk or run the cardio sections and focus on proper form over speed for all exercises.
  • Take this workout anywhere: If possible, get outdoors and find a trail or scenic loop. This workout can also be done indoors on a treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical in place of the walk/run components.
  • Create healthy habits: Once you get started with this workout, you’ll likely find that you want to do more. Even when time is an issue, you can break apart this workout and do just certain elements at various times throughout the week. After all, a one-mile run and 10 minutes of yoga in the airport is better than nothing!
Young black male jogging next to the ocean.
Get ready to run, stretch and HIIT! (Image: Ashiq_J/iStock/Getty Images)

The Ultimate Workout for Weekend Warriors

What Do YOU Think?

What does your weekly workout routine look like? How many times a week do you work out? Do you find yourself stretched for time? Do you consider yourself a weekend warrior? What kind of adventures does your typical weekend include? Will you try this workout as a whole or break it up? Share your answers, suggestions and questions in the comments below!

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