Are you one of those people that find that getting fit is at the end of your to-do list? Your career, taking care of the family, and putting your needs ahead of everyone else are more important than your body. There never seems to be enough time in the day to do it all and the thought of exercising before a start of busy day or finishing your day with absolutely no energy, is not a high priority.
When we think about it, taking care of our bodies is optional. We decide what to do every day and our health always seems to get placed at the bottom of our daily task lists. However, how do you take care of others, family or work, when you can’t make time to take care of yourself? Finding free time is challenging but we don’t need a lot of time to see results when it comes to strength training. Instead, we just need some guidance to get us started to stay on the correct path.
1.Let go of the mindset that you need a lot of time to do weight training.
Many of us think that we need a substantial block of time to see improvements in our bodies. This is simply not true. Regardless if you have 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or 30+ minutes, you can reap the rewards by doing very little in terms of strength training. Our negative mindset can hold us back from producing results so we must focus on the things that can produce BIG results in minimal time.
So how do you do this? First of all, carve out time in your day or week when it’s efficient for you. If you have time first thing in the morning and this is the only time you have to exercise, then use this time. If working out in the evening best suits your schedule, then this is when you fit in your strength training workout. Also, you don’t need to do strength training every day. If you can find 1-2 days a week, then this is what you work with. You can always add more days but the key is to start small and build with more days if you can find the time.
Let’s not forget the benefits of weight training and what it can do for us long-term. Visit this blog ‘5 Reasons Why You Should Start Weight Training Today’ to see how weight training can benefit our health in others ways than fitness.
2. Getting functional with circuit training.
This has to be one of most beneficial ways of working out in terms of saving time. Circuit training combines both aerobic and strength-training in a series of exercises. However, you don’t have to include the aerobic training in a circuit program if your focus is purely on strength training. You can move from one strength exercise to the next, excluding the cardiovascular portion, and this will reduce the rest time and maximize efficiency. The great thing about circuit training is that you can do it anywhere. Your home, the gym, the office, a park, even in your hotel room if you travel frequently. Don’t use the excuse that you need a gym to do a circuit program.
The second part of this is that you don’t need free weight or resistance bands to do this type of workout. When you hear the term ‘functional’, it simply means exercises that emphasize core stability using the upper and lower body. Functional training provides you with strength, power, mobility, endurance, and flexibility to move in everyday life. A great example would be performing a squat as it trains the muscles being used to rise up and down from a chair. You can customize your circuit to suit your fitness goals by changing up the exercises, the time, the location, and the intensity. By performing different functional movements such as squats, lunges, push-ups, curl-ups, pull-ups, etc. you can vary the movements in terms of reps and sets to fit it into your workout routine regardless of how much time you have.
3. Focus on quality, not quantity.
Training efficiency is the key. Depending on your goals and unless you are looking to be a body builder, power lifter, or looking to compete, your focus should be on the quality of your workout. Even if you are limited for time, try not to rush your workout. Instead, make every rep and set count and give 100% effort to each exercise regardless if you are only doing one or two exercises.
One way you can make your workout challenging is to decrease the amount of rest time in between each set. This way you if you are in a hurry, you can maximize the benefits by keeping it challenging with minimal time. Another way to maximize efficiency and increase intensity is to try supersets. This consists of two or more sets that are combined with little or no rest for the same or different muscle groups. An example would be performing a bicep curl with a tricep extension exercise with no rest in between.
4. Try compound exercises.
Compound exercises join two exercises that form a new effective one. An example of this would be a wall sit combined with a dumbbell lateral raise. It combines two movements as opposed to doing the squat on its own and the DB lateral raise on its own. When you’re pressed for time this works as you are training multiple muscle systems to work together instead of isolating them which only involves one movement.
This is a great way to effectively work your body as it is a more functional and this is how we tend to move our bodies in real life. If you only have time for a few exercises, then try working the larger muscle groups only like the chest, quads, and lats.
5. Skip the weight machines.
If you perform your workouts in a gym, especially at peak times, one of the most efficient ways to save time, is to skip the weight machines. For every machine, there is an exercise that a dumbbell can perform equally. Instead of waiting around for a machine to free up, grab a dumbbell (free weight) to target the muscle groups in a more efficient way. Using free weights will actually activate a greater number of muscle fibers than what weight machines will. Why? Machines passively hold your body in place, but when you use dumbbells, you actually work harder to maintain proper form. Your body is fighting to keep it in balance while performing each exercise and our weak side actually has to keep up with your stronger side, therefore, allowing for more symmetry.
Next time you are in a hurry to get a workout in, skip the weight machines and try a free weight workout. If you are new to using dumbbells, try one or two exercises until you are comfortable adding more to your program. Start small and build as you get stronger and more confident.
Eat Well – Move Well – Live Well
Your Compassionate Coach,