At the Human Performance Institute, Division of Wellness and Prevention; Inc., in Orlando, FL; our clients are high-performing professionals from a variety of industries. These men and women face incessant demands on their time; along with the pressure to perform at high levels and balance their careers and personal lives. From our work with elite performers; we have learned that managing energy is the key to sustaining high performance. However, when facing seemingly infinite demands; one’s ability to manage and expand physical energy can be severely compromised.

A growing level of disengagement

This can result in persistent fatigue (physical, but also emotional and mental); and a growing level of disengagement; with one’s career, family, friends, and personal well-being, which can ultimately lead to performance failure. Regular aerobic and resistance training are two of the strategies we suggest to help individuals manage and expand their physical energy, prevent fatigue, and sustain engagement in those things that really matter to them. For either of these exercise strategies to be practical and applicable to the time-constrained client, they must be safe, effective, and efficient. As many of our clients travel frequently, the program also must be able to be performed anywhere, without special equipment.

So, traditionally, resistance training often is; performed separately from aerobic training — typically on two or three nonconsecutive days each week. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends 8 to 12 repetitions of a resistance training exercise for each major muscle group at an intensity of 40% to 80% of a one-repetition max (RM) depending on the training level of the participant. Two to three minutes of rest is recommended between exercise sets to allow for proper recovery. Two to four sets are recommended for each muscle group.

7-Minute Circuit Exercises

However, are you in a time crunch for even a short workout? Experts at the American College of Sports Medicine created a 7-minute plan that can fit into almost anyone’s schedule. So, the program uses high-intensity training in an exercise circuit, meaning that you quickly progress from one exercise in the circuit to another, exercising full out for each one (that’s the “high-intensity” part of the training plan). This workout combines cardio and resistance work into a single session. Some moves target specific muscle groups; others work the entire body. Do each of the 12 exercises for 30 seconds, which should be enough time to complete between 15 and 20 repetitions, the optimal amount. Take a 10-second break as you transition from one exercise to the next, but no longer so that you don’t lose the benefits of the high-intensity technique.

So, jumping jacks to benefit your entire body, wall sits to target your lower body, push-ups to target your upper body, abdominal crunches to target your core, step-ups to benefit your entire body, squats to target your lower body, triceps dips to target your upper body, planks to target your core, running in place to benefit your entire body, lunges to target your lower body, push-ups to target your upper body and side planks to target your core. The precise order of these exercises was done so that opposing muscle groups alternate between rest and work. It’s fine to do the circuit just once, but you can also repeat it up to three times. Since you use your own bodyweight for the resistance training, you can do it just about anywhere and get great benefits.