How To Train When You're Short On Time

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“I don’t have time,” has to be one of the most common excuses I hear from people that say they can’t workout. I’m sure these people actually do live a very busy life, but everyone can find at least a few hours to exercise each week. When you’re crunched for time, it comes down to planning ahead and increasing the efficiency of your workouts.
 

Planning

If you wait until you’re halfway through your warm-up before you decide what you’re doing for your workout that day, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Planning ahead allows you to strategically lay out your workout in an optimal fashion. Not only will this most likely illicit better results, it will also save you a ton of time.

Things to consider:

  1. Will that piece of equipment be in use when I get to the gym? Are there alternative exercises that I could do instead?
  2. How long will it take me to set up that exercise? Is there a quicker set up that will give me similar results?
  3. Can I pair up any exercises in my workout?
  4. Can I complete multiple exercises in the same area, without having to move across the gym?

 

Efficiency

The 80-20 Rule, an economic principle, can be applied to training. Multi-joint exercises like the squat, deadlift, pull-up, etc. will give you about 80% of your results, while only taking up about 20% of most people’s workout programs. If you’re short on time, scrap the wrist rolls and calf raises, and focus on the major exercises.

Another effective way to optimize your time is with the use of supersets. By pairing 2 or more exercises together, you can drastically reduce the time you spend at the gym, while only slightly reducing your recovery between sets.

Non-Optimal Program

1. Squat 3x10

2. Pull Up 3x8

3. Lunge 3x8

4. Incline Press 3x10

5. Farmer's Carry 3x100'

6. Sit Up 3x15

 

Optimal Program

1a. Squat 3x10
1b. Sit Up 3x15

2a. Pull Up 3x8
2b. Lunge 3x8

3a. Incline Press 3x10
3b. Farmer's Carry 3x100'