Do Shortcuts Work?

Everyone is looking for a shortcut.  We’re a people about efficiency, mental speed, and moving on from one thing to another in the name of productivity.  If we can find shortcuts to get us from A to B sooner, that’s a good thing, right?!

Maybe and maybe not.

In exercise: 

Here’s some great news for those of you who struggle to get in even 30 minutes of exercise daily….new research supports the conclusions that High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)– done only three days a week– is even more effective than longer bouts of moderate-intensity exercise.

Balance Virtual Bootcamp is designed using HIIT philosophy, and most workouts can be done start-to-finish (with warm up and stretching) in less than 30 minutes.  With its three-times-per-week frequency, it supports the encouraging findings outlined in this New York Times article.

Of course, you should choose an exercise program that is specific to your goals.  While HIIT is fantastic for people who are in moderately-good shape to start with, working out only a few minutes a day (or even a few days a week) likely isn’t going to yield results for those people who are looking to shed significant weight.  But knowing that you don’t have to devote your life to exercise in order to get results is incredibly motivating, regardless of what your fitness goals are.

In cooking:

The grocery industry has exploded in the last few years by marketing to convenience cooking.   Has your grocery store expanded its prepared foods section in the last few years?  My bet is ‘yes.’  A quick trip through any produce section will show increasing cooler space devoted to pre-chopped vegetables, soup or sauce-mix packed ingredients, and other partially-prepped foods.  While this type of convenience food can help you along your healthy eating journey, there are plenty of pitfalls in the convenience cooking mindset.  Taking a look at the value of these foods (nutrition vs. cost vs. time), you may not find that they are as good of a ‘deal’ as what you hope.  This article from The Atlantic outlines ways that pre-prepared cooking doesn’t always save time.

So, shortcuts, like most things in life, need your fine focus and thought before deciding whether they are worth it to you or not.  Your time and energy are valuable—spend them wisely!

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