When you begin a fitness program, you are often bound by your family and work commitments. Perhaps you can only squeeze in a proper workout at 6am in the morning, during your lunch break, or when the kids have gone to sleep. If you have a lot of freedom at your workplace you might be able to fit in a bunch of activities throughout the day.
Depending on your schedule you may want to decide between two core approaches … Longevity and Frequency.
As the name suggests longevity refers to the length of your workout. Most people prefer one set time of the day when they exercise, which they can work in to a regular routine. This will be fairly lengthy, usually 20 minutes at the least, and may involve both cardiovascular (running, cycling etc) and the targeting of a muscle group with weights, such as biceps curls.
You get everything you want done in one session and then move on with the rest of your day.
The frequency philosophy takes what you might accomplish in one full session and spreads it out through the entire day. You might do 20 push-ups when you wake up, one set of biceps curls when you’ve got your work under-way at the office, a quick 5 minute sprint on the elliptical at lunch, and something else when you have time in the evening.
Pros and Cons
If losing weight and toning up is your primary goal, there is nothing drastically different between longevity and frequency. You will be burning a similar amount of calories doing both. One benefit of lots of mini-activities throughout the day is that it keeps you metabolism in a constant state of flux, much like the theory of eating many small meals throughout the day.
However mini-workouts will never reach the intensity of longer and more drawn out sessions. If your goal is building muscle, you are going to have to spend a longer period of time really pushing to failure.
Ultimately it boils down to what you want to accomplish and how malleable your daily schedule is.