How to create a (short) effective workout routine – 5 tips

I talk a lot about why it’s so important to workout intelligently and for less time (two reasons to shorten your workout today). But the truth is, I haven’t talked much about exactly how to do it!

Information and knowledge are all well and good but until we learn to implement, we’re stuck in the exact same spot. Honestly, I think this is why we are all still struggling – we have so much great information out there but nobody will take time to show us how to make it work for our own lives.

If I’m honest, I fell into this trap just a couple years ago. Back in early 2015, I knew I wanted to make a change to my workout routine and body composition, so I started researching.

I read one article saying HIIT workouts were the only way to lose weight, so I added an extra 20 minute workout onto my long run.

I saw that strength training workouts were the best way to change your body shape, so I completed 60+ minute BodyRock.tv workouts every morning.

It felt like I was doing everything *right,* listening to all the advice I found and still not seeing results. Talk about frustrating.

Looking back now, I see that my inability to create an effective workout routine was alllllll in the implementation (need help implementing? Even though I had some of the core ideas right, I failed at creating an effective workout routine that would help me reach my goals.

So today, I’m gonna stop talking about WHY we should shorten our workouts to get more consistent (if you’re struggling with consistency, make sure you’re not making one of these mistakes) and talk more about HOW to implement a short, effective workout routine for yourself. Of course, if you wanna dive right in, download my #GoldilocksFitness program! I’ll show you how to stop spending hours at the gym & get better results.

5 tips to create your own short, effective workout routine

My 5 tips to create and implement a short effective workout routine. workout routine for weight loss - workout routine at home - full body workout routine

Focus on full body workouts

One of the biggest mistakes I see is focusing waaaay too much on small muscle groups. I blame this on Pinterest and all of the workout pins promising tone our flabby arms or spot reduce belly fat. We find a pin promising to get rid of bat wings, so we do an hour of triceps extensions and wonder why we still have fat on our arms. Yikes.

While there is some benefit in doing upper/lower body split workouts (example), when we’re aiming for a short effective workout routine, we gotta get efficient.

And full body workouts are efficient (see my full body workout archives here) because by working both your upper and lower body, you force your body to work harder during your workout. Working harder = more calories burned = more results. All of the short, #GoldilocksFitness workouts are full body, because that’s the BEST way to train when you’re pressed for time.

How to implement

Instead of doing workouts that focus on a single muscle group, work your entire body. Alternate between upper and lower body exercises within a single workout.

Train with compound movements

A compound movement is an exercise that works multiple parts of your body at once. So, going back to our toned arms example, instead of simply doing a triceps extension or overhead press, we combine it with a lower body exercise to make it way harder.

Below is one of my favorite compound movements to incorporate into my workouts.

How to implement

Take a look at your workouts and identify exercises that are only working one muscle at a time, and sub out these movements for compound movements. Comment on my FB if you have questions or need help picking a new exercise.

Combine cardio and weight training

When it comes to an effective workout routine, we want to find ways to get our cardio and strength training in a single workout.

This saves time and can help speed up our results/push through plateaus.

How to implement

Do not read this tip as: add some strength training to your long cardio workout. That was the mistake I made that kept me struggling. Instead, you can do one of two things.

  1. Add a cardio finisher or primer to your strength workout. Think 5-10 minutes of super intense cardio intervals (like sprints) that you add to the beginning or end of your workout.
  2. Incorporate cardio exercises into your strength routine. Here is a workout where I do exactly that. You’ll notice it works your full body, uses compound movements, and combines cardio and strength. Grab more free workouts that combine cardio and strength in #GoldilocksFitness.

Lift heavy for you

Doing strength training with weights that are too light for us is not gonna help us achieve any of our goals. In order to force our bodies to change (and show us the results we’re waiting for), we have to challenge them (AKA lift heavy).

How to implement

Grab heavy weights for YOU in that SPECIFIC exercise. It should be difficult to complete the last 2-3 reps of any exercise, and yes, that means you will ideally have multiple sets of weights.

I wrote an entire article on the topic, if you’d like more information on choosing the appropriate weight.

Keep it simple

If you’re doing tips 1-4, it’s time to stop stressing about the rest. Don’t worry about heart rate zones or the number of calories you’re burning. The more we focus on the small details, the more likely we will struggle with consistency

How to implement

If you’re overwhelmed by all the things, pick ONE of these tips to incorporate into your workout routine this week. See how that goes, them add more the following week. Slow, small changes ARE enough.

I talk to women all the time who are over-exercising, mistakenly thinking that more equals better. On the other hand, I hear women struggle with getting enough training to see results and being consistent.

They’re constantly asking themselves:

How much exercise is ENOUGH exercise?
Am I working out enough to see results?
Am I working out too much? Too little?

Which I get.

It can be hard to know what amount of exercise to do that’s “just right” to maximize results and still stay motivated to get up and train day after day. Which is why I created the 7-Day Goldilocks Fitness Program, a proven system to help you train for results without overdoing it OR not doing enough for the results you want.

What most people miss is that overtraining and chronically elevated cortisol can hinder results, meaning you’re wasting a whole lot of time and not getting the results to show for it. This can be as problematic as training too little!

Other programs out there require long workouts, to be done at the gym, with tons of equipment. But we know this doesn’t work, don’t we? We either end up overdoing it and running ourselves into the ground or missing workouts over and over because we can’t get to the gym. Lovely, both of these are holding you back from seeing results.

If you want a weekly workout plan that will help you STOP overexercising, get CONSISTENT, and see RESULTS, my #GoldilocksFitness Program is for you. I’ve designed a week of workouts for you so that you can rest assured you’ve done just enough. Because the answer isn’t always “more,” and it’s not always “less.” It’s juuuuust right.

Check out the details and grab your copy here.