Between raising a family and running a business full-time, I know how tricky staying in shape can be. Here are my top tips for busy people to get in high-quality training!
1) Focus on fundamentals every day
If you have minimal free time, try doing something fundamental every day whenever you have a chance. If you make “showing up” and doing fundamentals the main focus of your workouts, it removes a lot of stress.
Here’s what I mean by fundamentals:
-Compound movements (one or all of these: push, pull, hinge, squat, carry)
-Walking outside for as long as possible
-Stretching, mobility, recovery, and relaxation away from screens
Even if you don’t worry too much about the details, you’ve got 95% of your needs covered with the above.
2) Train with a single kettlebell or dumbbell
Always in the office? You can easily stash a kettlebell or dumbbell to take advantage of when you have time.
5 tips to stay fit.
(yes I typed that correctly) is an excellent choice that takes less than 15 minutes:
Goblet squats x 10-25
Swings x 50-150
Pushups or presses x 25-50
Loaded carries of choice
3) Exercise with whatever’s available
When there’s minimal equipment, focus on simple exercises and movement quality.
As an example, this is my favorite hotel gym workout (shown with total reps per movement):
Strict pushups x 25-50
Strict pullups, chinups, or bodyweight horizontal rows: same as pushup volume
Glute bridges or Romanian deadlifts x 25-50
Dumbbell or doorknob goblet squats with pry stretch at bottom x 10-25
Walking, slow running intervals, or fartleks (combo of fast running, slow running, and walking) x 20-60 minutes total (or, sprint hills or run stairs if you have less time)
Machine training can also be a fun change of pace if it’s all that’s available. Work with what you have!
4) Count total reps
Instead of worrying about exact sets and reps, counting total reps is lower stress and a good way to make sure you still get enough volume.
You can also use this method on a day-to-day basis instead of scheduling a workout, for example, doing 50-100 pushups over one full day, 50-100 squats the next day, etc.
5) Try density-based training
Density-based training involves doing as many total reps as possible (over unlimited sets) in a limited time period. It’s the best way to get an intense workout in as much or as little time as you have.
Examples (each one of these could be part or all of a workout):
Max pushups in 10 minutes
Max front squats with 225 lb in 20 minutes
Max deadlifts with 315 lb in 30 minutes
The key is to avoid maxing out on reps per set and instead pace yourself. Try to beat your record each time, then add weight when the workout becomes easy or you can’t reasonably add more reps.
And proper nutrition is always a huge part of your health and fitness equation, especially when you’re busy.