Exercise Rules All Busy Professionals Should Follow

By June 12, 2018For Talent

It’s easy to come up with excuses. ”I will exercise at the weekend.” ”I’ll start running once this project is finished.””I don’t have time to go to yoga, I have too much work to do.”

Usually, when things get busy at work exercise is one of the first things that falls by the wayside. We skip our football match to write a few extra emails or we cancel our HIIT session to go home and watch TV.

When life gets busy fitness gets put on the long finger when in fact, this is the time that we need it most.

Exercise and the positive endorphins that it creates makes us happier, more productive and healthier.

Health, wellness and fitness professional Nigel Lyons recently released his new book Optimal Fitness for Busy ProfessionalsHere is an excerpt with some guidelines on how to work out when you’re working hard.



For the lower body exercises shoot for 15-20 reps and for the upper body aim for 8-12 reps.


To maximise efficiency perform 1-2 sets per exercise. The first set may be more of a warm-up and your second set can be more challenging.  Most of the research says that performing one set to a point of muscular fatigue (the point at which no more reps can be performed in good form) is just as good as performing multiple sets of the exercise.


Try to rest as little as possible in between sets in order to maintain an elevated heart rate for cardiovascular conditioning as well. Rest no longer than 30 seconds. If someone is on an exercise machine keep your body warm by doing bodyweight squats or push-ups.


This will depend on your level and starting strength. You can start off low and then gradually build up.  Because your only doing 1-2 sets, you want the second set to be a weight that would cause you to reach muscular fatigue in that rep range. You can and should increase the weight as your strength improves.


How you lift the weight is more important than what weight is on the bar. Everything should be done with a slow, controlled, deliberate movement with no stop–starts.

If you try for 2 seconds on the lifting phase and 4 seconds on the lowering phase, this will minimise the risk of injury and make sure you’re using your muscles to lift the weight and not momentum.


This is the one I have to remind my clients of! It’s important to breathe continuously throughout the exercise especially when it starts to get very tough. This is where a lot of people hold their breath which is the worst thing you can do as you stop the oxygen getting into the lungs.


There’s a lot of confusion about cardiovascular exercise. Cardio and weight training don’t have to be two separate things.  You don’t need to be on a treadmill or cross trainer to work your heart and lungs.

Performing circuit resistance training with little rest in between and training to fatigue will work your cardiovascular system simultaneously.

Unless you are training for a marathon or triathlon, you don’t need to do long bouts of steady state activity on the treadmill or cross trainer.

Research indicates that shorter high-intensity cardio is better for fat burning and body composition.

Instead of spending an hour plodding along on the treadmill try something like this:

After a brief warm-up, sprint as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Rest for 60 seconds, then sprint again. Do this for 4-5 rounds and you will notice a dramatic increase in your heart rate.

Nigel is a personal trainer based in Ballsbridge, Dublin, who helps busy professionals get in shape. To see more tips like this, plus full body routines, get a copy of the book here.

Author Nigel Lyons

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