Optimizing Your Workout Effectively

In our daily lives it is very hard to find the time to fit in a workout. For many the excuse of not working out is simply, “I don’t have the time, and a 20-30 minute workout will not give me my desired results.”

However this is not true! Everyone can spare 20-30 minutes a day, (it is less than 1% of the day), and more importantly, there is a way that you can optimize your workouts to gain the greatest benefits from a 20-30 minute workout. Here’s how:

While working out incorporate the use of heart rate training. Using your heart rate you can quantify your fitness training intensity. Many understand that using target training can result in increasing race “best” times but it can also be used by the everyday man to improve general health, fitness, and conditioning. The most effective way to do this is to exercise at 85% of your maximum heart rate, which can be easily calculated.

Maximum Heart Rate (MHR):

220 – Age = MHR

Target Heart Rate (85% of MHR):

0.85 x MHR = THR

To review, by applying THR to a 20-30 minute workout 3-5x a week, you can optimize the quanity of your workout alongside the quality of your workout.

To ensure that you are working within your THR range, you need a Heart Rate Monitor. A benefit of many cardio equipment on the market is the ability to have a heart rate control function. This means that your wireless heart rate chest monitor will sync with your machine and you will be able to regulate your heart rate. Your equipment will either change your resistance, speed or incline to ensure that your heart rate stays within the range that you have selected. All the guess-work is taken out of the workout and all you have to do is follow along.

Brands that have Heart Rate Control Functions:


Lemond (G Force UT or RT), Visions (starting at E3200 model or R40 models)


Water Rowers (capable of picking up a wireless heart monitor signal from a non-encoded unit)


Octane “CI” models


Landice (CT models), Bodyguard (starting with the T260P models), Visions (starting with the TF20 Elegant models)

Check out these Sources for more information:

Brandon, R. (2003) How to use heart rate to quantify your fitness training intensity. Brian Mackenzie’s Successful Coaching 5(10), p.9-11.

Siegler, B. (2010) Jillian Michael’s 10 ways to maximize your workout. As seen in Special to LifeScript.