4 Ways to Keep an Exercise Schedule on a Time Budget
Short on time? Who isn’t these days. When the dog needs a walk, kids need to be fed, and Uncle Buck’s birthday party is later that day, sometimes a workout isn’t always happening. But just because you’re on a time budget doesn’t mean that your exercise schedule has to suffer. Take it from a guy who worked 50+ hours a week, was going to Grad school while planning a wedding and still managed to workout five times a week. Where there’s a will there’s a way – and I’m about to show you the way.
Keep in mind though that these workouts are designed for those looking to work on their body. If you want to gain some mass or drop some bodyfat, these training splits will work for you. However, those who want to get stronger, train in Olympic lifting, or train for an event will have to wait until I knock out part 2 of this piece.
So with that disclaimer out of the way, let’s talk about some ways you can develop an awesome exercise schedule.
Option 1 – The Two Day Squat Blast
If you only have two days a week to workout, you can still get great results. The only caveat is that you need to work hard….very hard. While I never promote the whole “beast mode, pound your chest and scream obscenities” mentality, making 2 hours (out of the 168 in a week) work in terms of your workout will require a gut check. The best way to do this is to use the squat in each workout. Responsible for building muscle and chopping up fat, each workout should be built around squatting. Here’s an example:
Day 1- 3 x 5, 2 x 20
Day 2- 2 x 25
You can throw in other movements for each workout; make sure to use compound movements like dips, chin ups and presses. This workout scheme works best with multiple days off in between; so think Monday-Thursday or Tuesday –Friday.
Option 2 – Full Body Three Times a Week
One of the most popular ways to train is to simply hit the whole body three days a week. An advantage to this is that you can incorporate more movements into your workouts than the two day option. It’s great for building muscle because of the recovery time, but it can also be used for fat loss clients. Simply pair three moves in row to stimulate your metabolism and create quite an after burn following the workout. Like this
A1. Wide Grip Pull Up – 3 x 10, 3-0-1-1
A2. BB Reverse Lunge – 3 x 12, 2-0-1-1
A3. DB Overhead Press – 3 x 12, 4-0-1-1
Those who want to build muscle can try German Volume Training, a workout popularized by Charles Poliquin that requires you to do 10 sets of 10 reps of an exercise. You literally only train three days a week on that program because it’s so demanding.
Option 3 – 6-20 minute workouts
Another way to workout on a tight schedule is to simply do “quickies” (get your mind out of the gutter). You have to train more frequently, but your workout won’t take longer than an episode of The Office (a fantastic show by the way). I wish I could say that I came up with this split, but this was allegedly created by Arnold Schwarzenegger and is pretty simple:
Days 1,3,5 – Legs, Back, and Chest
Days 2,4,6 – Shoulders, Biceps, and Triceps.
Option 4 – Short Two a Days
Training twice a day is very do-able, given that you have around 20 minutes to commit to each workout. It’s also very beneficial; strength and conditioning coaches have been advocating training twice for decades now. The short workouts helps keep testosterone high. If you pair the short workouts with adequate protein and carb intake, you can also help keep cortisol levels to a minimum. The result is a hormonal environment that helps burn fat and build some muscle. For best results, you would train in the morning and in the evening. Try something like this:
A. Front Squat, 3 x 5, 5-1-0-1, 3 minutes rest
B. Snatch Grip Deadlift, 3 x 5, 5-1-1-1, 3 minutes rest
A. Back Squat, 3 x 12, 4-0-1-1, 2 minutes rest
B1. Bulgarian Split Squat, 3 x 12, 2-0-1-1, 30 seconds rest
B2. Leg Curl, 3 x 8, 4-0-1-1, 30 seconds rest
Still think you don’t have time to get your training in? Think again. You don’t have to be a full time athlete to get in shape. Try these different workout splits to see which one fits your busy schedule.