When you only have time for a one-hour workout, your game plan needs to be all about efficiency and effectiveness, especially if losing weight is a priority. In addition to weight loss, making time for an hour of working out at least five days a week can improve your cardiovascular health, increase bone and muscle strength, improve your mood and help reduce your risk of certain health conditions.
Calories Burned: One-Hour Workout
The number of calories you can burn during a one-hour workout depends on a couple of factors, including your current body weight, the activity you're performing and the intensity of the workout.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a 160-pound person can burn anywhere from 292 calories per hour taking a leisurely ride on a bicycle to 600 calories running at 5 miles per hour.
When it comes to weight training, the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion states that a 154-pound man can burn anywhere from 220 calories per one hour of low-intensity strength training or up to 440 calories per one hour of vigorous intensity strength training.
Read more: The Best Exercises for Fat Loss
Losing Weight: One-Hour Workout
How much weight you lose depends on the amount of exercise you're willing to commit to and how closely you stick to your diet. That's why when it comes to losing weight, the number one goal is to make sure that the amount of calories you're burning exceeds the number of calories you're consuming.
If your weight loss goal is slow and steady, aim to lose 1 to 2 pounds each week. To make this happen, you will need to create anywhere from a 500 to 1,000 calorie deficit each day.
Since burning 1,000 calories in a one-hour workout is not realistic, reducing your calorie consumption by at least 500 each day is necessary. However, burning 500 calories in one hour is realistic, as long as you go about it the right way.
Traditional One-Hour Workout
To get the most out of your workout, you need to include three key components: cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility and core exercises. How you divide up the time will depend on your overall fitness goals. The good news? You can change up the structure of your workout each time you perform it.
One way to structure a one-hour workout is to perform 20 minutes of cardiovascular work, 20 minutes of resistance training and 10 minutes of core and flexibility exercises. This leaves room for a five-minute warm-up and a five-minute cool down.
For example, warm up by walking for five minutes on the treadmill, followed by 20 minutes of intervals. Hop off the treadmill and perform a 20-minute full body strength training workout.
Focus on keeping your heart rate up by moving from one exercise to the next with little to no rest between sets. Finish off with five minutes of core work and 10 minutes of cool down and flexibility exercises.
Read more: The Best Exercises for Every Major Muscle
Circuit Style: One-Hour Workout
You can also mix things up by performing a workout at the gym that pairs cardio bursts with strength training exercises. This style of workout keeps things moving and helps prevent boredom.
After a five-minute warm-up, choose an upper body exercise, lower body exercise and cardio burst to perform for five minutes, for a total of seven circuits. The cardio burst should account for two to three minutes of the circuit.
For upper body exercises, choose from chest press, push-ups, lat pulldown, bent-over rows, pull-ups, shoulder press, hammer curls, triceps pushdowns, dips or kettlebell swings. For lower body exercises, choose from lunges, dumbbell squats, stiff-legged deadlifts, kettlebell squats, leg press or kettlebell swing.
For the cardio burst, choose from toe taps, step-ups, jumping lunges, suitcase carries, jump rope, heavy sled push or mountain climbers, or jump on a cardio machine at a high intensity for a couple of minutes.
The last 10 minutes of the workout will include core work and flexibility exercises for the cool down. Choose from traditional planks, side planks, side hip raise, hollow rock hold, reverse crunch, scissor kicks, V-up, Russian twist or any other core exercise.