Only got 30 minutes for a gym workout? No problem. Follow our guide to an effective workout for when you’re in a hurry.
There are times when your day-to-day commitments and work life outweigh the time for exercise in your busy lifestyle. This can have a negative impact on any exercise routine you’re trying to stick to, at which point you may fear for any gains you’ve made and, without the self-assigned stress management of the gym, that busy day can get on top of you.
At times like this it might be a case of finding the time. Sure, you may ordinarily like to carve a lavish segment out of your day to allow hefty rest periods after each exercise. If you’re not sticking to a specific workout plan, maybe you allow for an extra exercise here or there, depending on your motivation. This workout plan, however, is about identifying where you can steal enough of a break to get a solid 30 minutes in the gym, which is suited to lunch breaks and before work for early birds after that worm.
It’s not about doing half a job or going half-hearted, it’s about making the most of a short amount of time in the gym. With a vague strategy and the knowledge of a few go-to exercises you will be able to not only get in the resistance training and cardio you’re after, but also get an overall muscle workout and keep burning calories after you leave the gym.
When it comes to cardio you need to assess how busy your hectic day has been. Have you been eating properly? Have you been rushing around and building up a sweat? Weight loss and the amount of energy is a balancing game. You need to make sure you have enough energy resources for an effective workout that develops your muscles and sees you properly recover. If you’ve been busy and skipping meals, not getting your protein and carbs, then you won’t get the most out of your session. If you haven’t been getting your carbs in because you think you can’t get a longer workout in will see you gain body fat, think again.
For starters, if you are charging about at work, you will be burning calories – not to mention the brisk march to get to the gym. One answer is high intensity interval training. Using the example of the treadmill, by sprinting in 30 second bursts with minute-long walking ‘active rests’ in between for 12 minutes, you will increase your heart rate and work your muscles to the extent that you will continue burning calories for the next few hours once back at work.
If it’s muscle gains and atrophy you’re concerned about, you’ll burn calories (and continue burning them long after) while getting your gains. The aim is to hit as many muscle fibres as possible. This requires more effort and uses up your energy resources – meaning it burns calories.
In order to hit as many muscle fibres as possible you need to focus on compound lifts. These work multiple joints and muscle groups, as opposed to isolating smaller muscles like your biceps. This way you will simultaneously ensure you are getting overall coverage (rather than just heading back to your busy day knowing at least your biceps are pumped).
The best way to burn calories is, therefore, working your legs as this is where the largest portion of your muscle mass is. For an upper body workout, presses and rows will use the most muscle groups to work your front and back. Stick to the following:
✓ Leg press
✓ Trap bar
✓ Bench press
✓ Arnold press
✓ Seated row
As for sets and reps, time isn’t a luxury in this thirty minute session. Depending on how limited your time is throughout the week, you may want to stick to fewer sets and higher reps at a moderate weight. If your whole week is looking busy, throw in a heavy session with more sets and fewer reps (5×3) and cut one upper body workout and one from the lower body list.
Last but not least, make sure you replenish your energy to recover and grow. While on the run, one of the most effective ways is with a whey isolate protein shake, which will ensure you quickly absorb your protein and carbs when you need them.