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No-Excuse Workouts for Busy Doctors

Discussion in 'Doctors Cafe' started by Hadeel Abdelkariem, Nov 30, 2019.

  1. Hadeel Abdelkariem

    Hadeel Abdelkariem Golden Member

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    Thanksgiving marks the official start of the holiday season. It also usually marks the beginning of the annual expansion of your waistline.

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    Sure, you’re quick to tell your patients that they need to lose weight, but what’s your BMI looking like heading into holiday carb-binge number one? Across the pond, where they don’t have Thanksgiving, a 2008 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that four out of five British doctors don’t get enough exercise.

    It’s easy to see why this might be the case for you. Your time is precious, and it’s currently being sucked up by EMRs, studying for certification exams and the struggle to keep up with increasing patient volume. But the truth is, none of that matters if you become the person in the hospital bed.

    So, what’s a busy doctor to do? You need to be smarter about how you work out. There are other fitness options besides hours of cardio. You don’t even need a gym. If you work in a hospital, you have access to a shower. That means you can get one of these quick workouts in and clean up in an hour or less. Here are some effective options for time-strapped physicians.

    High intensity interval training (HIIT)
    Cardio is for people with lots of time and self-loathing. HIIT is for time-strapped people who actually want fast weight loss and strength gains. It’s also perfect for busy doctors because you can do it anytime anywhere with no equipment. If you have 15 minutes, you can do a HIIT workout.

    HIIT workouts include intervals of high-effort work, followed by typically shorter intervals of rest. The alternating effect forces your muscles and cardiovascular system to work harder than they would with cardio alone. Download the free Interval Timer app, warm up a bit, and give this beginner-friendly workout a try.

    Set your app for 15-20 minutes of 30-second work and 30-second rest intervals. Then cycle through this list of bodyweight exercises, pushing yourself as hard as you can for an interval, then recovering for an interval. Links will take you to examples of each move, if you don’t know how to do them.

    • Air squats
    • Mountain climbers
    • Lunges
    • High knees
    • Push-ups (Simple, but often done wrong. Note the form well. If you can’t do a standard pushup, do a kneeling push up.)
    You can find excellent, free HIIT workouts for all skill levels on FitnessBlender. (No affiliation, just great beginner-friendly workouts.)

    Modifying HIIT workouts
    You can play with the HIIT structure, incorporating weights, cardio equipment or different movements as you see fit. If you’re someone who gets bored easily, changing the movements or incorporating fitness equipment are great ways to keep things interesting. Here are a few options.

    • As Many Rounds as Possible (AMRAP): Instead of selecting a time interval for each movement, pick a number of repetitions. Anywhere in the range of eight to 10 repetitions is a good place to start. Complete the repetitions and move on to the next exercise, keeping track of how many times you complete the cycle. Try and beat the total next time.
    • Incorporate weights: Weights, particularly kettlebells, are very HIIT-friendly. Kettlebells are portable, relatively inexpensive and force you to work your core, building strength and endurance. They’re also a great way to injure yourself, if you perform movements incorrectly. Consult with a personal trainer before starting any kettlebell work.
    • Use cardio equipment: If you’re the kind of person who enjoys running and not actually getting anywhere, you can perform HIIT workouts on treadmills (running, then walking) or any other cardio device, including stair climbers, ellipticals and rowers. Just don’t set the machine speed too high and fall off. Jumping rope is another great, highly portable and affordable option.
    TL;DR
    Fight holiday weight gain using High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). You’ll burn more calories in shorter periods of time, making HIIT a perfect option for busy doctors. These workouts can be done anywhere and require no equipment. So get busy.

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