Every day we all face challenges such as overtasking ourselves and finding little to no available idle, free time. Working out can be an exhausting idea before you are ever capable of the physical exertion from actual gym time. In the race against my beckoning schedule and endless daily time constraints, I have found 5 ways to save myself time and allow more opportunities, even if brief, to snag some lifting or cardio workout time.
My days roll together, literally, since I work night hours and find myself still on tasks during the following day. A training session for me becomes the easiest option, even if a quick “my time” break, when I have my workout items pre-packed and in-tote. The bag in my car mocks me as I stare at it, as it is apparent that I lack an excuse to skip the gym due to a reason like un-readiness. I can change in less than 5 minutes once in the locker room, so that “I don’t have what I need” excuse is scraped from the list of reasons, not to workout. So, with saved time from not needing to divert by home or having to scramble for clean leggings and matching socks, I have no reason not to squeeze in even a 30-minute workout; which counts as a victory in the hectic life I lead.
Additionally, I aim for 5 lifting days per week and preplan what body parts to target for each one. The “plan ahead” habit lends to a faster “go to it” method rather than being able to stall out on “what do I train today?” I fix on one muscle group for 30-45 minutes and then call it good. One day maybe arms which includes biceps and triceps, another would be glutes, and my favorite day is shoulders. Each session, to emphasize effectiveness, is devoted to constant training and pushing myself through sets rather than taking long rests in between. By mapping out the muscle/training focus in advance, I can head straight to the weights or machines for my targeted workout immediately which saves me some time and keeps me focused. Every workout has a purpose and a goal to be done and fatigued in less than one hour.
Another trick of my trade is squeezing in cardio time after a resistance workout rather than spending an hour on cardio equipment. Cardiovascular exercise before training with weights leads to less productive lifting in many theories due to the “pre-fatigue” that happens. I have more muscle power and strength for a better lift when resistance training occurs prior to cardio. For conditioning and calorie burn that targets fat loss rather than burning through precious muscle, cardio can be tacked behind lifting rather than before it. When the muscle and body have depleted energy stores following weight training, chances are higher that the body will find the fuel for the cardio time from fat reserves. I can tackle some lean body goals when pairing conditioning with weight-lifting together, as both resistance and cardio training burn significant calories.
In order to push for muscle growth, called gains, it is also imperative to fuel effectively. Keeping proteins and meals prepped and in-tote allows me to hustle through work, errands and life’s agenda with “fast food” that is prepped clean and composed of the nutrients I need. Refueling every 2-3 hours on small meals helps my body restore calories, fat and energize when I need it most, as well as propel my metabolism forward.
So, remember to be packed and ready always! I have workout bands, some are loops and others are with handles, in-tote in my suitcases so that should I end up on a business or personal trip out of town, I am able to put in some sort of muscle burn even in the absence of a proper gym space or ideal equipment. I can work biceps, triceps, shoulders, lats, glutes, quads, etc. with the intensity of portable resistance bands.
The key to setting yourself up for success is finding motivation, so motivate yourself by off-loading the pile of excuses that seem to clutter our paths to a healthier lifestyle. Planning ahead for the week’s meals, setting weekly muscle and training goals, packing ahead for gym sessions, and accepting that you cannot be defeated by a non-stop day’s schedule are some of the ways to help yourself reach the finish line of your fitness journey! “I regret that workout”, said no one ever, so get to it and start packing and planning!