In an ideal world, you would head to the gym and spend a leisurely few hours getting a total body workout, then you would shower, spend some time in front of the mirror and head out for your day. In reality, you probably throw your stuff into your gym back, hastily look at your watch, jump on a machine or two, maybe lift weights for a few minutes, run back to the change rooms jump in the shower, jump out, towel dry and run out back to work, all in 45 minutes without really getting a greatworkout. As much as you vow to give yourself more time, life always seems to get in the way. There are, however, things you can do to get the most out of your workouts when you are pressed for time.
On Strength Training
You may not always have time to do a complete work out for your arms, back, abs and legs with proper rests in between sets, but there is still a lot you can do.
I had a friend once ask me if I get a better workout from ballet or running. My answer is simple, ballet. Why? Well, because I get a total body and cardio workout in one class. You can do something similar in the weight room. You can easily increase the intensity of your routine by opting for supersets, where you move seamlessly from one exercise to the next without taking a break. An example of this would be to do a set of biceps curls followed by triceps presses without stopping for a pause in between.
2. Full body exercises.
Another option is to choose exercises that work more than one muscle group at a time. It’s no secret that I love push ups and they are always a great exercise, but especially when you are pressed for time. Not to mention all the variations that come with this seemingly simple move. You can lift one leg in the air, you can place your hands in a triangular position, you can take your arms wide or tuck your elbows in when you bend them. You’ll feel the focus is on slightly different muscles every time.
An unstable surface, such as a balance board or Bosu ball, will increase the intensity of any workout. Try standing on a Bosu Balance Trainer (aka Bosu ball) while holding weights. You are already working your core muscles, but now add squats and as you straighten your legs, do a shoulder press. Remember those push ups we spoke about just now? Try them with either your hands or feet on that same Bosu. You’ll find yourself breaking a sweat in no time.
On Cardio Exercises
Sure, it might be tempting to jump on a treadmill or a bike for an hour, tune out the world and just sweat, but again that’s not always possible in our busy world. There are, however, a few simple adjustments you can do.
On a treadmill, try running for 3 minutes at your usual pace and then speed up for 1 minute. Interval training is fantastic for increasing lung capacity and it burns calories at an increased rate.
5. Increased resistance.
When you increase the incline on a treadmill or resistance on other cardio equipment, you’ll quickly feel the burn in your legs and glutes.
6. Add weights.
In a pinch, you can even do some arm exercises while holding very lightweight while on a treadmill or bike.
So you see, when it comes to using the lack of time as an excuse for not working out, you are simply out of luck. There are lots of things you can do to keep your workout fast, exciting and most importantly fun!