I am a 40-year-old working mother of 3, and I prioritize my fitness. My routine for years has been 4-5 workouts each week, maxing out at 75-90% PRE. I run (outdoors or treadmill); weight train; Cybex; or mix in an Insanity workout (I completed that program in 2011) if I can't leave the house. I watch my diet and feel very healthy.

As of January 1, we have a new dog, my husband's new position at work, my new work schedule, and the kids' schedules. It's a lot of moving parts and, in order to prioritize my family time, I have gone from 4-5 weekly workouts to 3-4. I tell myself that walking the dog about 3 miles over the course of a single day has got to be contributing to my health-- but obviously my PRE is nothing on these walks. I'd like to use my gym time or running time more efficiently, so that I can do the same amount of work in fewer sessions (I cannot add more time to my workouts- I have about an hour per session).

Here's where you come in: how do I make up for the sessions I'm losing? Do I create a weekly workout plan, and what kind of workout should I prioritize? Any helpful hints would be great, because I don't know how to condense my workouts like this. Thanks!!!


Sounds like you have a lot on the go and I admire your need to prioritize your fitness, but not to the point where it consumes your life. I think you have created the right balance for the life you want to live and you understand that there are things that do come before workouts.

Here is what I suggest you do to maximize your time in the gym or outside without having to add more workouts to your week. Each week pick a different focus for your workouts and do that focus for one week straight, switching it up each week. One week make running your focus and put in as many miles (varying between longer, lower runs and shorter and shorter tempo runs) as you can in the 3 or 4 days you work out, leaving approximately 15 or 20 minutes at the end of your workout to do your strength (stick to body weight exercises such as planks, lunges, squats, pull ups and push ups) and your flexibility training.

The next week make your strength and flexibility a focus, where you spend more time lifting heavier weights.  In these workouts intersperse short, but intense, cardio bursts so you keep your heart rate up while building muscle (think similar to an insanity workout).

Then the next week you can do a mixture of the all of the things you love to do and then start fresh again the following week.

I have to do this type of training sometimes if I am dealing with an injury or if I am training for a multisport event but I may only have access to 1 part of what I am training for (example, if I am training for a triathlon and I'm unable to ride then I focus more on my running.  As soon as I can ride I will decrease my run training and ramp up my bike training).

Variety is the key and I would hate for you to be doing the same thing week in and week out as not only will that become boring very quickly but you will be missing out on so many other aspects of health.

Attached -- Amy Adams heading to the gym.