Let’s talk today about what to do when you're jammed for time and therefore don’t have time to get a workout in or get your full, normal, workout in.
I had this the other day, last Thursday actually. It had been a weird week and I hadn’t really nailed all of the workouts that I expect out of myself, so I wanted to do something exercise-wise.
But I also needed to get a lot of work done because I had been away and didn't get some of my tasks that I expected of myself done in that respect either.
So I had to find this balancing act and it made me think, what do you do when you can't get your normal workout?
When there just isn’t time for it in full.
Here are four tips…
#1 Cut out your warm-up.
Okay, I know that sounds kind of weird coming from a personal coach to say "cut out the warm-up", because warm-up is very important.
But if you do not have time to do a full workout and you spend 8 to 10 minutes warming up it's going to cut into time you already don't have.
So don't be afraid to cut the warm-up out.
That doesn't mean just jump right into your heavy backsquats, KB swings or whatever the hardest thing in the workout is. Rather, start your session with something a little bit easier.
If your going to backsquat maybe toss in a set or two of KB goblet squats.
Want to do pull-ups? I suggest starting with a few less reps or hit a set of TRX rows first.
Basically do a simpler or lighter version of your main movement for one set before you get to the meat potatoes of your workout.
#2 Cut out the cool down.
Ok, let’s be honest….most of us don’t cool down anyway. Seriously, when was the last time you did? Don’t worry, I’m guilty too.
But if you are someone who enjoys the foam roller at the end of a workout or hitting the spin bike for 5 minutes, the days you are short on time are the days you will have to sacrifice these.
#3 Don’t change into gym clothes.
Last Thursday I knew was going to be an abbreviated workout, but I had to do something to ease the body and brain.
Another time saver is to do your workout or movements in the clothes you are wearing instead of taking the time to get on your full workout regalia.
Ok, before you start doing overhead press in your 3 piece suit or lunges in your heels realize this little time hack might have an appropriate time and place.
For instance if you are working from home and want to do a quick modified body weight workout, don’t mess with changing into all your normal workout gear.
Rather, save the 3 to 4 minutes, and get started in what you are wearing.
#4 Utilize “exercise snacks”.
I stole the concept of “exercise snacks” from our good friend Kevin B. many years ago. (Believe it or not, Kevin is the reason we have so many kettlebells because back in the day he taught our first ever KB class.)
Think about it this way. Throughout the day you might snack on food in order to get to your allotted amount of calories per day. Every little bit adding up to your total calorie number.
Well, the same goes for exercise snacking. Each little bit of movement, a set here, some pull-ups there, a few times up and down the stairs quickly, 10 push-ups while the report is printing....
Maybe it’s some body weight yoga in that 12 minute gap between meetings or you could use an exercise snack to reset the brain when doing a hard shift on tasks for the day.
Could it be you have been at your desk for a while banging out a blog post? :)
(I literally just dropped down and snacked on 15 push-ups.)
These snacks are powerful and will add up to a pretty big meal over the course of a day.
There you have it, a short list of ideas, while maybe not always ideal, that will allow you to still get some exercise in on a day you thought otherwise you wouldn’t be able to.
So next time you're pinned up against the wall I hope you use a couple of these tricks.