Working out is good for you—we all know that. I have never met a client or prospective client that doesn’t understand why they need to add training into their weekly routine. The two biggest barriers to successfully getting those workouts into said routine are ultimately, “I’m not sure exactly what to do” and “I just don’t have the time.”
I could go on about how you need to “make time” and everyone has the same 24 hours in the day. That’s all true, but those strict dogma attitudes don’t actually give you anything tangible that you can use to change the reasons why you can’t fit the workouts in.
One of the simplest starting points to fit a workout into your routine is to realize that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Workouts don’t have to include a complete 15-minute warm up with foam rolling, joint mobilization and dynamic stretching, followed by a strength circuit that hits every muscle and fires up the metabolism. Cap that off with a 15-minute incline walk on the treadmill to mobilize fat and then spend 10 minutes cooling down and static stretching your muscles. That’s a dream scenario.
That very same dream scenario is what’s stopping you. The first thing I want you to do is eliminate the perfect workout, which includes all “the right aspects” and takes you upwards of 90 minutes.
Maybe on a glorious Sunday morning when you have tons of extra time and aren’t running around with work stuff, kids’ events and trying to get errands done, you can train like this. If so, have at it and enjoy the heck out if it.
Most days, the best plan of attack is to carve out about 30 minutes and make that time really efficient and effective. Later in this article you’ll see how you can get things done in even less than 30 minutes (and it can be done anywhere).
30-MINUTE GYM WORKOUT
Here’s how I would structure a 30-minute session that you can do at the gym:
- foam roll your tightest areas
- dynamic stretch to get the blood flowing and mobilize your muscles and joints
- Inchworm x10 reps
- Walking Lunges x10 reps
- Arm Swings x 10 reps
:30 work followed by :30 rest
Rest 60 seconds between each completed circuit.
Perform 3 rounds.
- KB or DB Swing
- Inverted Body Row Using Smith Machine or TRX Row
- DB Goblet Squat
- Physio Ball Ab Roll-Out* or Plank
5-Minute Cool Down/Static Stretch:
- Lying Hamstrings
- Standing Quad Stretch
- Kneeling Lunge (hip flexor)
- Doorway Stretch for Pecs and Shoulders
*Physio Ball Ab Roll-Out. Kneel on the floor with your arms straight and your palms on a ball with your knees and hands hip-width apart. Drive the ball away from you by extending your arms overhead as if you were diving into a pool. Once you’ve gone as far as you can without sagging or your arms are completely up overhead in a straight line with your torso, reverse the motion and pull the ball back to the starting position.
30-MINUTE DO ANYWHERE WORKOUT
If you don’t have access or time for the gym, you can simply swap out the Swings for Squat Jumps, TRX Rows for Wide Grip Push-ups, Goblet Squats for Body Weight Squats (make sure to get deep) and perform the Plank (lift one leg up to make it more difficult).
25-MINUTES OR LESS DO ANYWHERE WORKOUT
Here’s an even faster workout you can do either at home or at the gym. This is called a Tabata training style. Tabata means :20 work followed by :10 rest with 8 rounds for a total of four minutes. The negative rest makes this a very intense form of training. Make sure you are physically ready for the high volume. If you need to drop it down a notch, you can perform :20 work and :20 rest.
Each station will take you 4 minutes. Rest as needed before moving to the next station.
Station #1 – Tabata Push-ups
Station #2 – Tabata Body Weight Squats (To advance this, during your :10 rest, hold the bottom squat position.)
Station #3 – Tabata Jump Squats
If you have access to the gym and some kettlebells, you can swap out the Jump Squats for KB Swings.
Give these workouts a try when you’re in a pinch for time, and also remember to give yourself a break when you’re feeling like you can’t fit it all in. Some form of training is better than none at all. When you have a bit less time, make sure you’re focused on quality and not quantity. Programming exercises that you can move through quickly and forcing a timed rest period will allow you to get more work done in less time.