So you’ve made it in to the gym, you’re ready for a gruelling workout but you have to be out in 45 minutes or maybe even less…
This is a constant concern for me. My balance of work, social and family time generally means I need to plan my gym sessions around a 45 minute routine. This does not however mean I have lacked results. Here’s how I make the most of my gym time.
Focus on compound lifts
To get the most from my lifting sessions I focus heavily on compound exercises over isolation movements. Compounds are multi-joint movements that require several muscles to perform a repetition. Commonly these compounds also call in to play not only multiple muscles but also stabiliser muscles that are often missed out. So as you can already see, one repetition of a compound exercise gets you working much more of your body in a shorter space of time. Good not only for muscle gain but also for core strength and even fat loss, when combined with the right diet.
Compound lift examples
The Squat: The holy grail of compound exercises. The squat primarily works the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes but also the lower back & posterior chain muscles, the core, calves, hip flexors and a multitude of supporting muscles and stabilisers.
The Deadlift: Love it or hate it, the deadlift is similar to the squat in how it targets a large range of muscles all at once. Again, the deadlift targets legs, core & back while also adding in the shoulders, traps and supportive muscles in between. Learn to deadlift properly, bad form on this one can lead to injury but will garner amazing results when performed with good form.
Pull Up: Building the back, shoulders, biceps, forearms and core all with very simple equipment. Variations can also be utilised with pull ups such as wide or narrow grip, giving an even greater workout for the muscles used.
Bench Press: While not calling in to play as many muscles as the squat or deadlift the bench press is still a great compound exercise. An excellent exercise for building the chest but it also requires the shoulders and triceps to come in to play. After mastering the flat bench press why not try the incline or decline bench press for an even greater coverage of muscles.
Dips: My favourite for tricep development. Also requiring very little fancy equipment.. You may have the benefit of dip bars in your gym but a bench will do just fine. As well as the triceps, dips build the chest and shoulders while also requiring core stability to keep your body from swinging.
What about Cardio?
My cardio routines always utilises High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT for short. HIIT involves short, intense bursts of a chosen exercise, with short lower intensity ‘rest’ periods in between. This allows me to raise my heart rate and burn more calories in a much shorter time than if I were to say jog at an intermediate pace on a treadmill. HIIT sessions usually vary from 10-30 minutes if you are doing them with enough intensity. Many people will recommend HIIT sessions over steady state cardio for both fat burning and muscle preservation as well as increased cardiovascular health.
My favourite routine is setting a treadmill to a pace of around 10-12 and then hopping on for a 1 minute sprint and then off for a one minute rest (keeping the treadmill going). I repeat this ten times for a total of 20 minutes. For a beginner I would recommend practicing with a much lower speed and using shorter 30 second intervals. You can then progress slowly by increasing speed or lengthening interval duration with your next session.
So if you are pushed for time and concerned about achieving the results you want in the gym, rest assured. Utilising these methods as described will help get you the results you want and have you progressing in no time.
Fuel your workouts
If time is against you, like it often is for me, products like ELEVATE™ and Instant BCAA are a godsend. I’ll normally have a scoop of ELEVATE™ roughly 30 minutes before I leave the office. This gets me nicely primed for my workout. I find my focus when using this is fantastic and I just plough through training. Post-workout I’ll whack some creatine in a shaker with Instant BCAA to ensure rapid muscle replenishment.
About the Author
Anthony is a husband, a father to three children and the director of his own company. He initially struggled to find the time to train around his hectic lifestyle but soon realised that with a bit of dedication and planning he was able to get into a training routine and achieve ‘The Shift’ – that pivotal moment that takes you from dragging yourself to pushing yourself towards your goals. Follow Anthony’s journey @ReachForAnt