Saturday, 17 July 2010

"HELP! I don't have time to train"

It happened again today, someone said to me,

“I struggle to make it to the gym as sometimes I work late.”

A common complaint and one that has a whole HOST of solutions; here are just a few:


Tabata training is a gift from the time gods (no, it’s not bread training!) The principle is that you work as hard as you can for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds and repeat another 7 times on the same weight or settings. (Total time: 4 minutes).
This can be applied to pretty much anything, from cardio such as sprints/walks, or rowing. Or for a weights program (nothing to heavy mind you). This is first on the list because, as my colleagues will tell you, I love it!

BENEFITS: Workouts can be completed quickly and still offer a lot of benefits. High calorie burn, short session time, HUGE pump, good for growth as a natural pyramid in reps will occur due to fatigue. Whether you want to do a complete session in this part (ie: all back exercises), a "finisher" to your session for one body part, a full body workout, or a varied cardio workout, tabata offers something for everyone

ISSUES TO CONSIDER: Fatigue plays a big part in this training. If the first set is difficult your weight is too heavy! If the move is very technical and has potential for form to be an issue, try to avoid it. Moves such as deadlifts can be a little too much for tabata. If it's your first time and you're unsure on weights, try machines as this will allow you to adjust weights in the 10 second gap - lat pull down is a great choice!

FYI: I found my GymBoss timer helped with this massively! It keep timing accurate, keeps you on track and makes you stick to all 8 sets. £15 well spent if you ask me:

There are LOADS of different classes available these days. Likelihood is you won’t like all of them, but don’t knock them ‘till you try them. Give them a whirl, it could just be the shock you need to boost your training and speed up results

BENEFITS: They’re 45 minutes to an hour guaranteed – no long gym sessions. You need no prior knowledge or expertise as someone will guide you through it. When you’re feeling unenthusiastic and could potentially have a lengthy and unproductive session or worse still, avoid the gym all together classes can be the motivation you need. If you’re an appointments kind of person these are ideal, you can work around an exact time and schedule it in your daily routine. Classes can run all day long so if you have an hour before work, at lunch, or in the evening then you’ll find something

ISSUES TO CONSIDER: Don’t be put off before you even try it – everyone was in your shoes once and joined a class for the first time. You’ve got to start somewhere. Don’t give up after one visit, most classes at a gym are included in the price so try them all. If you’re not hooked after one visit, give it a second go. You’d be surprised how much more enjoyable a class is once you have a vibe for the format and an idea of what's ahead

Try working for a short time at high intensity, set out a pre-designed “lap” of the gym with up to 8 stations and work from one to the next with only the walk between and adjusting the equipment as your rest. Alternatively, work this on a smaller scale and use two apparatus for the same muscle groups and use them back to back to create a "super-set" (EG: Dips super set with tricep pull down to overload the triceps).

BENEFITS: You can cram in a session late in the day, up the intensity and get yourself home. Great calorie burner and gives you a real sweat and feeling of being pumped

ISSUES TO CONSIDER: Peak times could put an end to the circuits idea; that or an active gym team clearing equipment away as you use it. If that’s the case a super-set session should still be workable

SHORT AND SWEET...Keep your sessions to a maximum of 45 minutes. a) no one wants to spend their entire evening in the gym (well some people do but we don't talk about them!) and b) (most importantly), long session don't necessarily mean more results. I know, this is HORRIBLE to hear for those people with a "If I do more, I get more" mentality, but sorry... it's true!

BENEFITS: You're in and out in 45 minutes (surely you can spare an hour or so!?). You get the most benefits from your workout in terms of cardio improvements, calorie burning and muscle growth

ISSUES TO CONSIDER: Time restrictions mean that it can be difficult to do a "power" session as you may need more rest. To be fair, you should only have session of this kind on a monthly basis unless you training/sport requires more. For "average Joe", 45 minutes is plenty!

So there you have 4 great ways of getting an effective session in when work only allows for a short session. All comments/suggestions/additions welcome.

This was 2 minutes of work and REALLY gets the heart going and works the body from top to bottom. Surely you have time for that?...

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