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You Don't Have Time NOT to Workout with These Time-Saving Tips

You’re on Family Feud and Steve Harvey tells you, “We surveyed 100 people and asked, ‘What’s your favorite excuse to skip a workout?’ Top answers are on the board. “

What would you guess is up there? Hands down, I’d bet “time” is ranked first!

It’s certainly the biggest challenge for my clients. This post is dedicated to them, because, life is busy. It’s messy. It’s unpredictable.

Incorporating workouts in anyway is only going to add to your life. You’ll have more energy to really bring it to all you do, get more restful sleep to feel more like a human than a zombie, and be more badass and less bleh.

Even if you’re closing your exercise ring on your Apple watch on the regular, let’s take a look at how we can shave some time off your workouts. I’m all for maximum efficiency, and guess what? You won’t even have to compromise on your results by using the tips I’ve outlined below:

Work Harder & Smarter

o   HIIT

If you dial up that intensity, you can get the same (or better) results from your fitness program in a fraction of the time. The key to high intensity interval training, or HIIT as it’s commonly referred to, is making sure to push yourself to 90-100% effort when you’re HIIT-ing it, up to 90 seconds. Don’t forget to skip the warm up, and don’t overextend your rest periods!

Try this tabata workout:

(are you on Pinterest? pin this image!)

Limit Breaks

o   Supersets

Supersets are two (or more) exercises performed one right after the other without a rest in between. You can design your workout to include supersets of moves working different body parts (squats/pushups) or opposing muscle groups (bicep curls/tricep dips).

o   Circuits

Think of a circuit as a big superset. Perform all exercises of a workout back-to-back before a 1-3 minute rest. Go again 1-4 more times!

This is also great if you’re looking to increase your intra-workout calorie burn. Think of it as two-for-one deal: cardio plus weight lifting!

o   Know Your Substitutes

If you’re working out at a gym and someone is using equipment you need for your next exercise, it can really throw a wrench in things! Have an alternate plan in your back pocket, so you can take these little hiccups in stride. 

For example, let’s say all the squat racks are occupied. What can you do?! Try some Bulgarian split squats while holding dumbbells. They’re a great move that works the same muscle group.

Just Say No to Distraction

o   Plan Ahead

Have a game plan ahead of time, so you’re not scratching your head once you’re ready to get your sweat on. This’ll help you to move quickly through a workout, especially if it’s later in the day and you’ve reached your quota of decisions for the day.

o   Stay Put

Gather all the equipment you’ll need for your workout as part of your warm up, and stay in one area whenever possible. You don’t want to be obnoxious here and take away from someone being able to perform their exercises as well. Alternatively you can design your workout to use only equipment in a particular area, so you’re not running all over the gym. Dumbbells are great for this! 

o   Maximize Your Rest Time

Shave time off the end of your workout by using rest periods to do range of movement exercises or put away any equipment you no longer need.

& Stay off your phone 😉

o   Incorporate Compound Movements

Many exercises work multiple muscle groups at once, such as squats, deadlifts, push ups, and pull ups. Lean on these big movements when you want to save time without skimping on results.

o   Skip Single Side Exercises

Working different sides of your body separately, as in a split squat, is a great way to make sure you’re creating balance in the body. If you need to limit your use of these exercises to save yourself some time, stick with moves that don’t have you alternating sides. Just tune-in to see if you can feel any overcompensation on either side to execute the movement.

(Hammer) Time

o   Avoid Busy Hours

Working out during busy hours can be a time-suck, trying to figure out which equipment is available to work with or waiting on someone to finish up with equipment you’d like to use. Check what your gym’s busy hours are and work around them.

o   Tailor Around What Works Best for You

Nuff said with this one!

o Set a Time Limit

It’s crazy how things seem to take as long as we give them. Set a time limit, do your workout, and you’ll likely be able to finish in your allotted time. If not, be happy you did what you could, and just move on.

Bonus

o   Build Fitness Into Your Life

Especially when it comes to weight lifting, you can break your workout into small chunks to be completed throughout the day if you can’t find a solid 30 to get it all done at once. Or, like me, you can build exercise into some things you already do as an added bonus. For example, when I’m brushing my teeth morning and night I do some stretching or balance training, you can squeeze those buns or do calf raises while you’re at the sink washing dishes, and you can have a personal policy to never take the elevator. Get creative, but it’s best to pick something that can be a habit. Instead of having to always think up an exercise to fit into menial tasks, you can run on active autopilot! 

Living an active lifestyle and being a regular worker-outer are not necessarily the same thing. You can workout every day for 30+ minutes but live a pretty sedentary life. Our bodies crave movement, so I’m pretty sure you can take up a hobby that leads to more activity if you just break out of your routine: regular family walks or hikes, dance lessons, tennis, and gardening are a few ideas. You can also get max efficient about fitness and combine some of your regularly planned activities with, well, activity: meeting your girlfriends at the gym or for a hike instead of happy hour and getting a dog for the family that needs lots of walking!

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There you have it. If you’re a skimmer, let me tell you again in case you missed it: lack of time is a sorry excuse for skipping your workouts. Read above for some tips!

Thanks for reading!

Caitie

P.S. If you’re feeling clueless about how to conduct yourself in the gym or feeling gymtimidation, check out the posts I linked to the words. Just trying to help you cut through the learning curve a bit!

P.P.S. Grab a cool freebie here!! I wrote a post about what “before” measurements you should track to stay motivated to put the time in and created a little downloadable/printable tracker. It’s pretty cute, too 😉 

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