What is the most common – and annoying, by the way – excuse for not working out or at least incorporating some activity into a routine? “I don’t have any time”. We’ve all heard it at least once in our lives. Sometimes from our own mouths – trust me, I’ve pissed myself off with that one. But there are ways to get around to being physically fit when you have an hour or less to spare. These are my favourite three strategies:
Grab your timer. Or your timer app – whatever you’ve got, whatever works for you. Interval training protocols are your best friend when your workout time is tight. Whether you opt for reps for time, every minute on the minute, Tabata or metabolic conditioning (where your rest time intervals get shorter and shorter – insert short panting breaths here!), your body will thank you later for the shortest workouts you can eke out.
Be ready to move – a lot. Compound movements are paramount for maximum effect when time management and workout efficacy are your priorities. Whether you’re mixing body weight with free weights, plyometrics with weight machines, cardio machines with stability workouts, make sure your moves incorporate multiple muscle groups so that your short burn has a lingering effect long after you’re finished.
Now is the time to go all in – every single minute. You have 30-45 minutes to work up a sweat – this is not the time to half-ass any of it! Set your timer app to block interruptions from other apps, set your phone to “Emergency Calls Only”, do what you gotta do. If you’re only at it for a tight time period, you have to use every single second meticulously.
There you have it! When you have the right principles in mind for your workouts, time is no issue. Speaking of principles, here’s a bonus tip that I’ve relied on throughout my adulthood:
Aim for 20 (minutes, that is). When I first started training in the gym almost two decades ago, one of the trainers at the gym on my college campus told me that I should aim to keep my heart rate elevated for a minimum of 20 minutes in a session – several years and a number of careers later, I have worked with that as a principle when I hit the gym. It’s true, my gadgets have gotten more fanciful since then, but I always carried that with me: any gym session must mean that for at least 20 minutes of a session, I cannot be able to respond to a question in more than 3-5 words (my measure of heart rate elevation when my heart rate monitor is either dead or missing in action).
What are your strategies for working out on a time crunch? I can’t wait to find out what you do!