Raise your hand if you think you need to train for three hours a day, five days a week to get results.
Okay, now raise your hand if you actually have that time to spare.
With work, kids and wanting to have a life (how dare you!), it’s easy to understand why free time is limited. Add travel plans for the holidays and you’ve got it set in your mind that you’ll never get a workout in.
But what if you could get strong, move better and feel better AND have a life?
Resistance training = Lifting heavy objects CORRECTLY.
Sweaty = Happy.
Seriously, you don’t need to spend hours in the gym to move well, feel better, burn fat or gain muscle. Assuming your goal isn’t being a professional athlete, giving yourself a few hours per week of appropriate exercise is all you need.
Devote your time to a variety of different movement patterns: squat, hinge, push, pull and throw. Also, do some ground based exercises to pattern higher level moves and carry heavy things.
Humans are designed to move well and move often. If you can focus your time and energy on doing the right movements, you will succeed.
How to Train
These are our general training tips, but they’re also applicable to anyone in a time crunch. With the holidays right around the corner and your free time becoming more finite, doing what you can as often as you can will help you stay on track until things calm down after the new year.
Time is the enemy of fitness. Think of a realistic amount of days per week you can fit a workout in. Remember, a workout doesn’t have to be 75 to 90 minutes. An effective workout can be done in 20-45.
If you absolutely cannot hit the gym, workout at home or do some type of movement you enjoy. From there, get a Functional Movement Screen screen to help you choose the most effective exercises to reach your goals in the quickest and easiest way possible.
It’s never “no pain, no gain”. Pain alters motor control, so even if you can can “work through it,” your body is compensating in ways that may lead to further pain down the road. There’s no rule that says “If you don’t deadlift you can’t get strong.” There’s always a way to move pain free or find a substitution for any exercise.
3) Use Your Muscles
Traditional bodybuilding focuses on muscles or muscle groups. When you’re in a time crunch you want to use as many muscle groups as possible for a more effective workout.
Think about exercises like a squat or lunge, push something or plank, hinge, pull something and carry stuff. Exercises in these categories use more muscles than a bicep curl or leg extension. That way you can spend less time at the gym and more time adulting.
So how do you put all of this together? Pick a few non-competing upper and lower body moves. Do some sort of squat or lunge and pair it with a plank variation. Do a few sets or set a timer and rotate between the 2 exercises for a few minutes.
Another combination might be doing a deadlift or bridge with a pulling exercise (think rows) and explosively throw a medicine ball. Alternating between upper and body moves means you don’t have to wait as long in between sets to rest, you can workout safely, burn a good amount of calories and have an efficient workout in a short amount of time.
Now that you have this knowledge, you can’t use your workout cancel your plans with the in-laws. Find the right movements for your body and get after it!