If you're strapped for time, you might wonder if you should even bother working out, but 30 minutes is really all you need to maintain a healthy weight and even shed a few pounds. In fact, shorter bouts of exercise may make you more likely to stick to a workout routine, and consistency is key. "Shorter workouts can be more effective because they are so easy to fit into a daily schedule and not as daunting as longer workouts," Timothy Lyman, an ACE-certified personal trainer and director of training programs at Fleet Feet Pittsburgh, told POPSUGAR. "Focusing on efficient, high-quality movement is more important than intensity or duration. We have a tendency to think that 'more' and 'harder' is better, but this can often result in injury, burnout, or overtraining."
In order to lose weight, you'll need to eat a clean, healthy diet and focus on getting quality sleep, he explained. Research shows that not getting enough sleep can alter your metabolism and increase certain hormones in the body, including ghrelin and cortisol, which may make you hungrier.
Once you've tackled your diet and sleep habits, you should work to increase your metabolic rate. Timothy emphasized that this is done not by ramping up the intensity of your workouts, but rather by sticking to a regular schedule of 20 to 30 minutes of exercise per day. Simple things like speed walking, climbing, paddleboarding, and hiking all count toward that goal. "Focus on consistent, quality movement every day, rather than embracing the weekend warrior mentality," he said. Doing so will help keep your metabolic rate up consistently rather than having it spike and then drop back down, which may result in losing weight only to gain it right back.
If you find that you've hit a weight-loss plateau, it's time to shake up your routine in order to keep seeing results. You can still stick to a 30-minute workout, but Timothy recommended incorporating Tabata-style workouts, high-intensity interval training, and resistance training to start losing weight again.