If you work long hours and have any semblance of a social life, finding time for your workout can be your biggest obstacle in achieving your fitness goals. But you don't need to spend hours in the gym for results. Here are a few ways you can cut down the length of your workout.
The key to fast, efficient workouts is a concept called training density. It's often used interchangeably with training intensity, but they're not one and the same -- intensity refers to how heavy the weights are compared to your one rep max (your personal best), while density deals with doing the most work (shifting the most weight) in the least amount of time.
Based on this, Eric Cressey, co-Founder of Cressey Sports Performance, has the following tips to help you cut down the time you spend in the gym:
- Time Yourself The simplest way to cut down on time in the gym is to make sure that you aren't sitting around "resting" for longer than what is needed. The amount of rest time will vary depending how intensely you're exercising. If you're going light, half a minute or a minute should be enough. For heavy weights, you might need 2-3 minutes. If you're unsure, go for long enough that think you can do it again, but not so much time that you forgot how the last set felt.
- Remove Distractions It can be hard keep focused in the gym when the call of Candy Crush beckons from your phone between sets. But resist! Impose limits on yourself, so that when you're in the gym, you're only there to work out, and ignore everything else.
The amount of time lost in waiting for equipment, loading/unloading weights, and changing equipment settings always amazes me. It's a veritable black hole. To avoid this, cut down on the total number of exercises in your routine, and replace what you can with compound exercises -- movements that target more than one body part.
In the same vein, use multifunctional equipment so there are fewer things you need to fiddle with in order to change exercises. The barbell, for example, can be used for your squats, front squats, deadlifts, barbell lunges and hip thrusts -- and that's almost a leg workout in itself.
- Stay Within Your Limits It's admittedly less of an ego boost to move lighter weights, but when you're sticking to strict rest times, you can't afford to feed your ego unless you're looking to pass out on the gym floor. Lower the weights a bit, so you can perform your exercises safely and quickly, and don't be afraid to take off a few dozen pounds if you're starting to tire out.
For more tips and in-depth look at how to increase training density, check out the article below.
7 Ways to Increase Your Training Density [ericcressey.com]