We are all busy and probably struggle to get a workout in when we have so many other demands for our time like work, family, hobbies, and household responsibilities. Most people do not have unlimited time to spend at the gym or working out at home, so having a plan for our workout will help ensure that we are getting in and getting out in a reasonable amount of time! Here are 15 tips to make the best use of your time at the gym.
Before we begin, it is always best to vary your workouts. Your body adapts to the same routine very quickly, so it’s imperative to mix up and change your routine up. Most experts recommend changing your routine at least every six to eight weeks, or even more often if you like the variety. Plus it helps keep your motivation higher and prevents boredom. These are not one-size-fits-all recommendations, it’s always important to consider your personal goals, preferences, and abilities.
Keep socializing, social media, and texting to a minimum. It may seem like these distractions only take a minute or so here and there, but the time adds up. Plus they take your focus away from your ultimate goal of getting an awesome workout completed in the most time efficient way possible.
Have a plan before you go to work out. Start with a warm-up (five to ten minutes), then move to either cardio or resistance training and switch halfway through (if you are doing both in the same exercise session). Use a comprehensive exercise library with instructions, photos, videos, and muscles worked like on Exercise.com. Finish with a cool down and flexibility/stretching at the end (ten minutes).
Include the warm-up, cool down, or flexibility/stretching exercises in your routine, don’t skip out on them to save time. The warm-up should only take five to ten minutes and cool down and flexibility around ten minutes. Both are a very important part of your workout and very beneficial to health and well-being. Flexibility helps us move better during normal daily activities and functional movements, like reaching to grab something from a high shelf or getting in and out of our car.
Consider high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to save time on cardiovascular activities. Research supports the health benefits of HIIT, which usually take less time to complete when compared to steady-state intensity cardiovascular exercises. For example, spending 15-20 minutes doing intervals of vigorous effort with short rest periods has comparable health and cardiovascular benefits as 30 minutes of running on the treadmill at the same speed (Foster et al., 2015).
Don’t forget about full-body cardiovascular and power exercises like burpees, jumping jacks, squat jumps, or jumping rope. They don’t take a lot of time, don’t take a lot of space or equipment, and get your heart rate up quickly.
Focus on multi-joint, compound, or combination activities in the weight room. Examples of multi-joint or compound exercises include squats, deadlifts, or kettlebell swings. Focus on combination exercises like bicep curls with a shoulder press or bench squat with a lateral raise. Body weight exercises like push-ups, lunges, planks, or wall sits are also time efficient and do not require any equipment.
Another tip for the weight room is to complete an upper body exercise, then while you are resting, complete a lower body exercise. This is what fitness professionals call a “superset” and it’s just when you alternate exercises with no rest in between. For example, do one set of bent over rows then immediately do one set of lunges. This allows the first group of muscles to rest while you are working out the second group. It is a very effective way to utilize your time. You are still allowing one group of muscles to rest while the other muscle group is active.
One more tip for resistance training to keep your workout simple and straightforward. Two sets of ten repetitions is easy to remember, time efficient, and works both muscular strength and muscular endurance.
Consider taking a class where the workout is pre-designed for you, like a streaming fitness class, yoga class, spinning class, bootcamp, Camp Gladiator, OrangeTheory fitness, Crossfit, F45, or 9Round. All you have to do is show up, work out, then leave.
Find a certified personal trainer and let them know you want the most effective workout in the time you have available (30, 45, 60 minutes, etc) and let the professional design a great workout for you. Personal trainers have a wealth of experience designing exercise routines and can take the guesswork out of it for you to get a full-body workout in the time you have available.
Use a fitness wearable, like a Garmin, Apple watch, or Fitbit to track your calories and heart rate. Set a goal for your calories burned or minutes that your heart rate is in the cardio or peak heart rate zone. There are a lot of mobile apps available that can track calories burned and/or heart rate zones with your wearable device. Once you reach that goal, move on to your cool down and flexibility exercises to finish your workout.
Complete a circuit training routine with a friend. Find a workout plan online or on an app, or many fitness professionals also post routines on their social media. Take turns timing your exercises, or do them at the same time, and help push each other to the finish.
Design your workout playlist ahead of time or consider a mobile app that already has playlists ready to go, like Spotify or RockMyRun. This keeps you from stopping to change songs or playlists during your workout. You can just start it and let it play for your entire workout!
Figure out the time of day when your energy levels are the highest and you feel the best working out. It might take some trial and error for a few weeks to determine this, but it will help prevent the sluggishness which might slow down your workout.
Get plenty of recovery and sleep. Recovery, rest, and sleep are the critical times when your body repairs itself from the effects of exercise, including rebuilding muscles, repairing tissues, and replenishing energy stores. Sleep and exercise have a reciprocal relationship, they both influence each other (Chennaoui, Arnal, Sauvet, & Léger, 2015). Adequate recovery and sleep ensures that you will be able to maximize your workouts and be at the top of your game!
Chennaoui, M., Arnal, P. J., Sauvet, F., Léger, D. (2015). Sleep and exercise: A reciprocal issue? Sleep Medicine Reviews, 20, 59-72, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2014.06.008.
Foster, C., Farland, C. V., Guidotti, F., Harbin, M., Roberts, B., Schuette, J., … Porcari, J. P. (2015). The effects of high intensity interval training vs steady state training on aerobic and anaerobic capacity. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, 14(4), 747–755.
Melissa Morris is a professor by day and a part-time writer for Exercise.com. Melissa has a BS and MS in exercise science and an EdD in educational leadership. She teaches nutrition and applied kinesiology at the University of Tampa and has worked in health education, fitness, and nutrition for 15 years. In her free time, Melissa loves to workout at Orangetheory fitness and run 5K and 10K races.
We are excited to welcome you to the only online personal training program for busy adults that want to improve mental health, decrease stress, and boost energy!
Before you get started, it is important to make sure that you have the equipment needed to perform all of the exercises. So here is your shopping list with fitness equipment that will allow you to exercise in the comfort of your home safely and efficiently.
Must haves in order to get started right away:
– Dumbbells (two pairs ranging from 15 to 50 lbs.) – besides the 25# you have, look for 15s, 20s, and 30s to get started or select the power block feature below!
– Swiss Ball
– Bands with Handles
– Pull Up Bar
Recommended equipment to get more out of your workout experience.
– Flat Bands
– Kettlebells (two kettlebells ranging between 15 and 50 lbs.)
– Power Block (Power Blocks are essentially dumbbells with variable resistance)- as a better investment and substitute to dumbbells
Email us know if you have any questions, and enjoy you workout!
To save time and money with meal prep, we love simple green salads with chicken. Often, we spice up our salads with veggies and fruits plus a homemade dressing, such as a strawberry balsamic vinaigrette!
The prep time and cook time for this lunch fit in with consolidating steps of meal prep perfectly. Taking about 20 minutes to cook the chicken and 5 minutes of actually putting your lunch salads together.
Handful of loosely packed fresh spinach placed in meal prep container
Chilled, grilled or baked chicken portioned out to the specifications of your macronutrient guide
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp of balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp of cracked black pepper
Mixed veggies to taste and to the specifications of your macronutrient guide
Steps to prepare your lunches before your busy work week.
Thaw and Grill chicken breast(about 1 pound) seasoned to taste. Let chicken cool in refrigerator. Slice thin.
Grab one loosely packed handful of fresh spinach and place in meal prep container. Easily swap out brown rice in the perfect portion called for in your macronutrient guide!
Add thinly sliced chicken breast to meal prep container.
Add assorted veggies, your choice.
Store in fridge until the morning to grab and go, prepared for lunch ahead of your busy day!
The purpose of meal prep ahead of your busy week is to save you time AND money. Adding this fast meal prep recipe will save you boatloads of each! Once your ingredients are prepped, diced, sliced, mixed and placed in the oven, you are free to grill or saute your other meals for the upcoming week.
To save time and money, prepare your breakfasts ahead of your busy week!
This simple to make meal-prep breakfast is a great way to make your morning routine quick and healthy!
6 section (minimum) muffin tin, non-stick
1 quart egg whites
6 pack of eggs
Diced vegetables of your choice (peppers, onions, brussel sprouts, zucchini, etc.)
Cracked black pepper
Crushed red pepper
If not a non-stick pan, lightly grease tin with coconut oil.
Dice your choice of vegetables to smaller than bite-size portions
Divide veggies equally between each section of the muffin tin.
Crack one egg into each section of the muffin tin.
Pour the equivalent of two egg whites into each section of the muffin tin.
Sprinkle spinach over top of each section, crack black pepper and crushed red pepper to taste.
Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes or to desired consistency. Eggs should be firm once fully cooked.
Remove from oven and quickly remove eggs, add your choice of protein (1/8 c.) and portion into containers for grab n go meals in the morning!
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Click HERE NOW now to apply! And watch the video below to learn more details!
Five years ago when we began our coaching journey, we stressed how important exercise was to help you reach your goals. And while very impactful to help you reach your goals, fitness alone will not make as big of a change!
We realized after about a year and a half that we weren’t providing the elite level of service that we held ourselves to so we dedicated 18 weeks to learning the advanced application of sports nutrition from Precision Nutrition! That education was a game changer for our community once we added in the #PrepWars Meal Prep Workshop!
Finally, we discovered the next step to help you reach your fitness goals was to add in some very important books that launched our clients forward!
The TOP 5 LIFE CHANGING books we recommend along with a the top 3 reasons they make a difference are….
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, raising exceptional children, becoming more productive, building revolutionary companies and social movements, and achieving success is understanding how habits work.
Exercise is a keystone habit that impacts every area of your life because it boosts energy, decreases stress, and establishes a routine.
Once a routine of exercise has begun, nutrition changes soon follow to support the additional energy expenditure while building lean muscle mass and decreasing body composition.
The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
This book demonstrates how to eliminate the barriers to success by overcoming false fears and beliefs.
Two limiting beliefs that stand out are Burden and Not Feeling Good Enough, this book helps lay out a strategy to overcome these debilitating limiting beliefs.
“Each of us has an inner thermostat setting that determines how much love, success, and creativity we allow ourselves to enjoy. When we exceed our inner thermostat setting, we will often do something to sabotage ourselves, causing us to drop back into the old, familiar zone where we feel secure.”
Find Your Why by Simon Sinek
“If we want to feel an undying passion for our work, if we want to feel we are contributing to something bigger than ourselves, we all need to know our WHY.”
Finding and committing wholeheartedly to your purpose helps to remind us why we begin a fitness journey and keeps us on the path when distractions or set backs arise.
“Before we can stand out, we must first get clear on what we stand for.”
Mindset by Carol Dewick
It is your mindset that will help you achieve your goals quickly and safely. If you have a growth mindset you are more likely to believe that you will reach the destination you set out on a quest for.
“No matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.”
When you avoid the trap of a fixed mindset, your achievements will come to you faster and are more likely to stick as a lifestyle change.
The Sacred Enneagram by Chris Heurtz
By learning and identifying our personalities, we can recognize our tendencies, both good and bad in order to become our best selves.
“When it comes to recognizing the truth of our own identities, most of us experience a symbolic version of blindness that keeps us from seeing ourselves for who we really are.”
Our personal growth journey is propelled forward by connecting with our identity and our personalities. Once a connection is made with out true selves, our spiritual journey can begin wholeheartedly.
By combining a strong purpose with a safe and effective workout and nutrition program, we see our clients reach their goals faster than any one of the three dimensions on their own.
To connect with a certified personal trainer at Fit Life Champions, book a complimentary consultation at www.calendly.com/riseup
Listen in as Dave reads aloud the top 10 reasons listed below here:
1. Boost Self-Esteem– The most important reason to exercise is self-efficacy. Feelings of burden and inadequacy are what bring me down the fastest, which inspires me to push forward and harder in each workout.
2. Exercise reduces stress– Each and every workout pushes me further than the one before. Resistance training reduces stress by boosting serotonin and lowers cortisol, the stress hormone. Working out with others will also lower stress by building a support system around you, eliminating the feelings of solitude.
3. Improves sleep– Throughout college, anxiety destroyed my sleep patterns. Tossing and turning until 2-3 am nightly affected performance in class and prevented me from reaching my goals in a timely manner. Since graduation in 2012, I added a melatonin supplement to my daily routine and increased the intensity of exercise which has made a huge difference in getting the quality of sleep.
4. Improves muscle tone and strength- Progress over time and reaching fitness goals drastically improves my confidence over time, eliminating the depressing and anxious thoughts speeding through my mind and heart.
5. Reduces body fat– A combination with diet and exercise, a positive body image can greatly improve feelings of self-efficacy.
6. Strengthens heart and lowers blood pressure- Having high blood pressure logically raises stress and anxiety, but because of exercise, I will prevent those feelings and a premature death from heart disease.
7. Increases energy level- Just as the downward spiral is continued without exercise, the opposite is true when I have a great routine and motivation to exercise. The more exercise in my life, the more energy I have to put into the success of my business and personal life.
8. Ward off anxiety and feelings of depression- I implement the higher intensity exercise into my fitness routine to take a break from the stress of life for an hour or so. I never used to practice self-care and take “me time” until this year, knowing that in order to achieve my business and personal goals I must feel deserving of that time set aside for me.
9. Builds stronger bones– Resistance training places stress on bones, bending them and strengthening them without breaking. Red blood cells are formed in the marrow of our bones increasing the importance of strong, healthy bones. After exercise becomes routine, the body functions better over time and hormones level out to improve mood.
10. Look better, feel better- Losing 15 pounds of unhealthy weight got others asking “How did you make a change?”. You better believe the difference that makes in my life and helped the self-esteem increase over time.
If I am able to touch even a few with my story battling depression and anxiety, then writing this blog post will have been worth it. With great humility, I must set aside my insecurities and fears in the hopes of helping clients, friends, and family while helping me heal with a support group; over time.
Depression can feel like the largest stack of bricks resting on your shoulders as if you are carrying the weight of the world. In my experience, the pressure is the uncontrollable reason for me to shut down emotionally, physically, and mentally.
The source of my depression is intensely sensitive and only important in the context that it put me on a journey I have endured since I was 17, latent and brewing from that time until finally surfacing when I was 19.
When I am caught under the pressure of depression, my motivation and performance suffer drastically compared to the “good days”. Personal, professional and physical goals are left unaccomplished. I lack the desire to progress, develop and move forward on my path. As you can imagine, it becomes a downward spiral where one affects the other. The lack of motivation equals fewer workouts, and fewer workouts lead to a deeper depression.
On the other end, anxiety can feel as if that same ton of bricks rests directly on your chest. It prevents me from taking a full breather or the ability to moderate my heart rate. I would almost prefer depression to anxiety because, in a depressed state, my body and mind don’t feel anything whereas my heart beats at max capacity when I am anxious. In an anxious state, my mind and heart won’t pounding a million miles an hour. Yet another vicious cycle that affects sleep patterns and deprives me of the rested state I need to perform at my best the following day, weeks and months.
I know that I am not alone, and far from it. The World Health Organization states that 6.9 million adult Americans suffer from depression. More than 18% of Americans have episodes of anxiety and it has a wide range of causes, like the one I suffer from – post-traumatic stress disorder.
I was 19. I was away from home trying to pursue my college degree in History when I broke emotionally, calling my father. I spilled over into anguish and sobs the moment my parents welcomed me home. At the time, pouring out my heart to the most important people in my life was the first step to begin the long climb back up from the bottom and knowing that I would always have their support meant everything.
I saw a psychologist for a time and received a prescription for Prozac. I didn’t even make it through the whole prescription before I decided that I wanted to beat my struggles on my own, healthy and free of prescription drugs.
In the summer of 2008, I considered going back to school to finish my degree. Amazingly, my parents were even more supportive than any time before in my life. Knowing me the way they did, they knew what it would do for my daughter Madison and me. Yet, I still had no clue how much they were right.
I learned so much attending the Metropolitan State University of Denver even though I was juggling a daughter, a full-time job and a relationship.
In the spring of 2012, I interned at the University of Denver in their strength and conditioning department as part of my degree. A few things I was able to take away from the semester was that I learned how to train athletes for strength, power, and speed.
Every day, I went to that internship doubting whether or not I would finish my degree, probably because I never once heard positive feedback or gained applicable knowledge from their overwhelmed staff. I woke up at 4 am twice a week and before 6 am on the other three days arriving without direction or stated purpose in the facility. I was able to observe the coaches in an NCAA Division 1 collegiate atmosphere for 475 hours during the last semester of college, but the whole time I was anxious over whether I would ever reach my goal.
I learned invaluable lessons from their strength coaches, but what I learned about myself has meant more than their brief teachings. I realize now that I was at the height of my anxiety and depression during the challenging demands of an internship, full-time bartending, a daughter, and a relationship. I felt incensed because I lacked the confidence to see my future developing in front of me.
As it turns out, I was simply repressing all the angst, anxiety and depression by pushing through, willing myself to finish the hardest part of the journey to date. I was unaware of and ignored so much during that 3 1/2 year stretch of my life including much-needed workouts that would have managed my anxiety and depression. I don’t regret missing out on the social aspect of college compared to the deterioration depression was causing on my self-esteem and personal relationships.
I did not start working as a personal trainer immediately after graduating college. I was still working nights at a restaurant and bar that helped support me through school. As a result, I was in a relationship that was not healthy, exercising irregularly, and drinking way too much.
And then two things happened.
First, my ex-wife took me to court to gain more custody of our daughter, costing me $6000 in lawyer fees just to keep her in my life. Second, my mother, Sandi, asked me to meet her once a week at a local gym to train with her, paying me for my services.
I jumped at the opportunity to put a little extra money towards my lawyer bill. In her own subtle way, my mother led me to the path that would change my life permanently. We were approached once by a trainer who asked if I was training her, I claimed no, I was “just working out with my mother”. The next time we spoke, Sandi asked me to find a more private gym for our training and that is what led me to find Blunt Force Training, a private studio space in the heart of Denver.
She was my first client to commit to two days per week and eventually increasing to three days each week. To say that Sandi is an inspiration in my career is unflattering to the term INSPIRATION!
I know it would be an understatement to say that I have come far the first 18 months of my career. From working nights and weekends at a local restaurant to full-time income (in part-time hours), personal training is something I never thought was possible. And it almost wasn’t possible because I was juggling two jobs, mornings and nights, Madison and an unhealthy relationship. It’s a fact, my depression and anxiety eventually caught up to me in September of 2013, my live-in girlfriend moved out suddenly and caused me to change my entire lifestyle.
The NUMBER 1 change I needed to make was diet. I began cooking almost all of my meals at home. Next, I decided to stop drinking for three weeks, which ended up being critical for the success of my business and personal life. Guess what happened? I lost 15 pounds in those three weeks, launching me into the new routine of meal prep and dedication in the gym.
The NUMBER 2 change I needed to make was to moderate my drinking. I chose to eliminate alcohol from my lifestyle choices. Alcohol truly is a depressant, leaving me without a sense of self and causing me to make unwise professional and personal decisions. A part of this decision was to remove coffee from my daily routine because it made me irritable, anxious, and frankly a bad trainer overall. Coffee is a stimulant with additional toxins that I cannot bring into my body while attempting to balance my anxiety. When I don’t consume these two beverages, I am more consistent and seem to have fewer bad days.
The NUMBER 3 change I needed to make was to find my purpose. I sought out the purpose in my business and my personal life which you can read more about here, Your Purpose Fuels Your Passion. Instead of focusing on the downward spiral of depression, I focused on the service I was able to provide my clients, their progress, and their overall health. That breakthrough came when I suffered significant injuries for the first time since my childhood.
I developed a repetitive motion injury in my elbows from so many years of cocktail serving. I also found a herniated adductor that prevents any significant progress in lower body strength and power exercises and because of a knee injury, any type of running is difficult.
This has been the origination of my most recent bout with depression and anxiety. My sense of self is encouraged and defined by my performance. I train like an athlete, which means I feel like an athlete and that means I suffer like an athlete. When an athlete is injured and held back from competing, he feels disconnected from teammates, friends, and family. I’ve felt THAT. I’ve experienced THAT. It has led to a different level of depression and anxiety.
Instead of falling deep down into that vicious cycle of depression, I chose to relate to my clients and their roadblocks with a more personal connection. This improved my perspective when it came to training other people, athletes or not, and what I found is that I was not as alone as I had thought.
I believe in my clients wholeheartedly, which forced me to believe in myself wholeheartedly. I am so surprised that this reversed the negative effects of depression and anxiety that I had experienced before now.
And I owe it all to exercise.
My Fitness Career has Become My Lifestyle Choice
Depression and anxiety in my life are not self-diagnosed. As I said before, I saw a psychiatrist for a time and received direction, reading materials, and techniques to combat my symptoms.
I ultimately chose a version of self-treatment via exercise and nutrition because of what I learned while I completed my Exercise Science degree in 2012. There were bountiful benefits of exercise for diseases that Americans face beyond mental disorders, including heart disease and diabetes. This tutorial is specifically about depression and anxiety and the effects exercise has therein.
Fast Forward Down the Road
Let me finish by stating that this is the hardest thing I have ever done; writing a very personal tutorial about why I utilize exercise to combat depression and anxiety.
I would like to thank Abby Watkins of Abby Watkins Photography for the amazing photographs. They far exceeded my expectations and I feel they could not have come at a better time for me personally or professionally.
Even as I write these words to be read publicly, I’m filled with an anxious feeling. The difference here is that it is nothing compared to the immense pressure I have felt during this journey. I feel exposed and raw; natural and vulnerable. And with the new found confidence that I am able to perform to the best of my ability as a father, friend, coach, son, and leader that I possibly can. Only with exercise has this been possible, and with great thanks, I extend the credit to those that lead me to this point in my life.
I have included new passions in my self-treatment of depression and anxiety, two of which help more than any of the others… Boxing and Jiu-Jitsu.
Boxing provides me stress relief, cardiovascular endurance, and a new sport to learn. Boxing keeps me fresh and I am able to compete against myself. By no means am I an expert boxer, but it allows me to set my sights on the future instead of the past. It encourages me to strive to be better than I used to be, as a man, as a father, and as a trainer.
Then came jiu-jitsu. I felt as if I needed to get far outside my comfort zone in the fall of 2016. I kept driving by a building four blocks from my studio, Fit Life Champions, and I stopped in one evening to check out their space. I instantly respected and liked the owners of Colorado Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu West and joined their fundamentals class twice per week until I gained the confidence to attend 4-5 classes regularly. One year later, I have competed in a local tournament and am bumping at the ceiling of white belt and approaching blue belt; but not until I compete one more time at my current four stripe white belt ability level. You can read more about my Jiu-Jitsu journey here https://daveglaser.com/how-jiu-jistu-changed-my-life-and-career/
Dave Glaser has an Exercise Science degree from the Metropolitan State University of Denver and four and a half years of training experience. Combining the certifications of NSCA-CSCS, CPT, NASM-PES, USA-W, and Precision Nutrition Level 1, he is able to coach the highest level of athlete in the private training studio in Denver, Co and online personal training programs for men and women. In addition to coaching athletes at the high school and collegiate levels, Dave is a business and success coach for personal trainers across the U.S. To learn how you can become involved and work with the team at Fit Life Champions, click https://fitlifechampions.com/how-to-begin-a-strength-program-safely/