Hey guys, this is Cori from Redefining Strength. Welcome to the Fitness Hacks Podcast. This is the show where I share all my free workout and nutrition tips. I’m not going to ever fill this episode with sponsorships or ask you to buy anything. All I ask in return is if you’re enjoying the podcast to leave a review or leave a five star rating or even better share it with somebody you think it might help. This will only take a few minutes and would mean the world to me and possibly change the life of someone. So let’s jump right in.

I don’t have enough time to work out. Most of us have made this excuse and to some extent it is valid. We are busy. There is not enough time in the day to do everything that we need to do. However, there is always a way to design for the time we have and even when something pops up and we can’t get to our usual routine, we can have that plan be in place. Not to mention, I think a lot of times that feeling of I don’t have enough time stems from us trying to force an ideal workout schedule over designing for the time we truly have and recognizing that what is realistic for us in our schedule may shift over time. So often our excuses pop up because of our priorities and not owning our priorities in life and our priorities are going to shift.

There’s going to be times a year where you’re going to have to prioritize family. Maybe over the meal prep you usually like or you’re going to have to prioritize work over getting in the workout of the usual time you like to get it in. And so I think owning the shift in priorities over the year, be it travel for holidays, travel over the summer, different things like that. The more we own those things, the more we can plan in a realistic schedule. Because discipline is built through what we can consistently do and to help ourself become more disciplined. We can’t always be relying on willpower to replicate the habits. This means that we have to be able to shift our habits so that we can stay consistent enough with the routines that when things are a little bit quieter, when other priorities aren’t getting in the way as much, maybe we can move forward a little bit faster, but we’re still maintaining those results during other times.

That’s why I wanted to go over some tips so that you could design fast and efficient workouts that will really work no matter your schedule, because if you have six days a week, you’re going to design differently and you’re going to potentially be able to use that full hour. Now note too, just because you have six days a week to train and an hour to train, that doesn’t mean that you should be making a HIIT workout, which should probably be about 20 minutes. Stretch that full hour a workout should only stretch the full hour because you’re using more mobility work, you’re lifting heavier, so you need those longer rest periods. You’re working. Different energy systems are on speed and power where that recovery period has to be longer and therefore the extent of your workout might have to stretch out a little bit more. But we are not just designing for the time we have because we have that time.

We want everything to be included with a purpose. So if you have three days a week and 30 minutes, if you have four days a week and 15 minutes, you can always design for the time you have and something is better than nothing. If you have five minutes, use that five minutes because as much as it might not feel like, oh yeah, I didn’t burn them many calories, how much muscle can I really build in this time? You’re not only keeping yourself in the routine and habit of it, so you’re keeping that time still set for yourself, you’re still making yourself a priority with those things, but you’re creating that success mindset. So often when we miss one workout, if we’ve designed for six days a week and we still do five, we feel less successful. And that can lead to us feeling like, well, I’m not going to care about my macros as much, and now who cares if I miss another workout and there’s this slippery slope of sliding off all the habits we really want versus doing three days, 30 minutes.

When we feel successful with that, there’s a tendency to want to do more. So it’s remembering that a lot of this is the mindset, the habit, the routine that it ingrains because also skipping your workout and being okay with skipping your workout is repeating a pattern as well. So if you’re short on time, one of the best things I like to recommend clients do is timed workouts. So this can be done in a couple of different ways, but if you have 15 minutes and you think about designing a workout, you’re like, well, I don’t know exactly how long this is going to take, or you’re watching your watch or you’re not being intentional because you only have 15 minutes. But if you time out everything, if you time out, how long you’re going to be foam rolling for, how long you’re going to stretch for, how long you’re going to do activation for, how long your circuits are, even the intervals of work, you know that you can for sure get in everything as is for that 15 minutes and you can be more intentional with your training.

So implement timed workouts, put either intervals per side of foam rolling or a set amount of time you’re going to foam roll and run through different things. Set the two minutes that you’re going to go through some dynamic stretches or even set intervals work per stretch for activations. Set the 30 seconds for the GL bridges or say, Hey, I’m going to run through GL bridges, scapular pushups, all those things for two minutes, but set a time so you know exactly what you’re doing. So you can be very intentional during that. And then I like to either use time sets, so more like density sets or density intervals or interval training In general. I know we think about interval training only for cardio, but it’s a great technique for building strength because of the training density that it creates. So when you have less time, you’ve got to use that time strategically.

And when you use time circuits that can help you keep moving and create that training volume but in a shorter amount of time so that training density can increase, which can drive progression, whether it’s doing a minute of work where you use weights that really you want to stop at 40 seconds, but you push through even if you have to pause for a second and you do those extra reps that you might not have done. And I think that’s really key to note is that a lot of time with interval work, we would’ve stopped at the eight to 12 reps and it might’ve felt hard at 12, but maybe we could have done 14, 15 and we didn’t do it because 12 is the top. Yeah, sure, we went up and wait the next round. But when we do that interval work, we’re pushing past failure a lot of times pass the point we would want to quit, and that can build strength endurance, it can help with our recovery and work capacity.

So it can be a great valuable asset to us as we’re looking to build muscle, even if we do have more time. But even with density sets, you can do a time circuit and cycle through things. Now with these intervals of work, you’re pushing past failure. You have to be strategic in how you’re using rest because when we have less time, we don’t have as much time to waste. And I put waste in air quotes, waste resting. Now that being said, rest is incredibly important. If you do not rest, if you do not recover, you are not going to be able to go at a true a hundred percent intensity. And that’s why we see people doing these long hour long hit workouts, but their intensity is going. Or if you’re actually trying to train speed to be able to run further faster and you’re not recovering enough, you are starting to train slowness.

So recovery is incredibly important if we want to be able to truly push hard and create that progression, because so often depleted states where we’re pushing hard for that depleted state, we’re not actually challenging our body in a way that it needs to really adapt and grow stronger. We’re just depleted in terms of our energy stores, so we don’t have the effort to give. So it’s incredibly important that when you’re even designing those intervals of work that you’re cycling through areas so that you can keep moving, but areas are resting while other areas are working. So you have to, this is tip number two, rest without resting. So the first tip is timed workouts. Whether you’re using time for all the parts for intervals of work, for density sets or time circuits, you also want to rest without resting. And what that means is changing the intensity of the moves that you use, it also means cycling the areas that are worked and the types of moves you include.

So I love to create more training volume for an area by sometimes even including a compound move and then an isolation move. But you have to know that you’re fatiguing area, so you have to at some point cycle to allow that area to rest, which is why a lot of times if you are shorter on time, more full body workouts because then you can work your legs, then you can work your upper body, then you can work your core. And even in that, a lot of times you think, okay, the leg and the upper body compound movements are going to be a lot more intensive. But that core exercise, a lot of times we can even reduce that intensity, which then makes it more of a recovery exercise while we’re still working and getting a lot of value. So you want to cycle the areas worked, but also cycle the intensity.

That might also mean that you do a big heavy compound lift for your lower body and then maybe an isolation move for your upper body. And while I do, yes, like to focus on more compound moves because they’re working more muscles that once you’re going to burn more calories from those workouts when you’re short on time and not that workouts should only be about calories burn, but it is an added benefit. While you generally want to focus on more compound moves, there’s always nuance to it. And that cycling of intensity might be really key, especially if you plan to work the compound upper body movement in another one of the circuits that you’re doing or on a different day based on your schedule. So cycling intensity of movements, areas being worked so you can rest without resting because that will help you get more out of the time.

But also be able to go at a true a hundred percent intensity, keep those 35, 40, 50 pound dumbbells for those lunges over having to go down and weight to keep the same intensity. And even going back to the time circuits, this is where you want to think, how can I make a move harder without adding more volume in terms of more reps at once? So when you’re doing those things, yes, if you have a minute of work, you might want to push more reps in that time, but you don’t want to turn it into cardio. Think how can I do a harder variation where I have to use heavier loads and I max that at five reps and then keep going even for the 30 seconds or we’re in that density circuit where you’re potentially going through multiple moves, the time circuit, we’re going through multiple moves, how can I do it so that I do five reps with a heavier load and ultimately end up moving more weight?

The volume adds up over the rounds, but I’m not resting because I’m not getting maxed out trying to do 10 wraps. So that’s again, even going back to the resting without resting. So time workouts, rest without resting. The next one is knowing when to go full body versus isolation. So the more days a week you have a train, and the longer the sessions can be, the more you can work in isolation moves because they aren’t going to give you as much bang for your buck. They aren’t going to strengthen as many muscles at once. But isolation moves are incredibly important. If you really are trying to drive muscle hypertrophy or muscle growth for stubborn areas, it’s Q, we include both. Now that being said, so often we only say then, okay, fine, I’m short of time. I can only do full body movements or compound exercises.

I have to keep all my workouts full body and I have to alternate areas work, and we don’t think about including as many isolation moves, but that can also hold us back because there’s a time and a place and a way we can design based on our needs and goals and even evolve those over time. So yes, if you have fewer days to train and you’re shorter on time, I will definitely tell you, especially as you get to five minutes, do as many full body or compound booths as you can. Those are going to give you the best bang for your buck. However, there is a way to also include a combination of both when you have stubborn areas, even when you’re short on time, and this is where compound burner type things, density intervals can come into play, but you’re working the same muscle group in back-to-back movements.

However, one is a compound and one is an isolation. And by doing it back to back, you’re using that isolation to push past failure to recruit more muscle fibers and drive better muscle growth through fatiguing a muscle. That might’ve been a big prime mover in that first one. And yes, got tired, but wasn’t pushed fully to fatigue because weaker smaller muscle groups fatigue faster. We were also pushing it just past that failure point by being able to lower the intensity, isolate it, and then use a lighter load, still a challenging load, but a lighter load than you had to use for the compound move to keep going with that exercise. And then after that, the two moves for that one area. Maybe then you cycle to another area. So you’re still potentially doing that full body workout, but you’re implementing isolation moves in a way that is valuable over just saying, Hey, I’m doing bicep curls for the five minutes that I have, which is not going to burn a ton of calories.

It’s not going to provide a lot of back for your buck If you did a back row, you’d work your back work on scapular movement and get your biceps all in one. So you can use a combination of both based on your needs and goals. It’s just recognizing that there’s more nuance than lots of time. Use isolation, not a lot of time. Don’t use isolation. Just think about how can you rest without resting? How can you vary intensity? How can you fatigue muscles faster in the time and fatiguing muscles faster doesn’t mean just feeling more destroyed from your workout. Okay? It doesn’t mean feeling slaughtered in a sweaty heap on the ground breathing like you just ran a marathon as much as that hard feeling can feel good. Really getting enough load for your muscles is about did they fully fatigue? Could you have done an extra rep the next week?

Did you progress in terms of reps, variation, tempos, any of those different things. But sometimes doing that isolation moves so that you have to do 15 reps and you have to pause at 10 to get out the last five. That’s also fatiguing a muscle group. Even if after the workout you’re not laying on the ground dead, okay, that can be good. So do combine things. Don’t just think it has to be either or. But do think that if you are doing fewer times a week to train to create that training frequency over the week that each workout does hit multiple muscle groups so you can hit ’em two to three times that training frequency has been shown to really be beneficial. Even when we’re training for six days a week, you want to hit an area more than once a week for the optimal benefit, then maximize.

And this is the final tip I wanted to go over. Tip number four, maximize how you train through fatigue. So this partly goes back to the isolation moves, but it also goes back to how you use the intervals of work when you’re pushing through fatigue. Sometimes we have to use rest, pause, and I say this because sometimes just stopping at a rep range because we’re tired and then never picking those back up, we won’t have time to come back to it. Sometimes if you can do eight reps with something, but you really wanted to shoot for 10, do the eight pause for just a split second or two even though you’re short on time, and then do those 10 because that will be more valuable than just having stopped at the eight and potentially getting in another round at a different point. So sometimes you want to push past failure, whether it’s using that isolation move after the compound move, whether it’s using that rest pause technique, whether again, it’s going back to those intervals of work where you pause during them very briefly, but you keep going past the point you would’ve wanted to stop had you just hadn’t done traditional reps and sets.

This also goes back to those timed circuits. So often with the timed circuits, we do just push sort of to make them cardio and try and move faster, but think about lowering your reps. So if you do a weight that really challenges you for five reps and you end up getting out more rounds in that time, you could end up creating a greater amount of loads lifted in that time because you kept moving. Instead of just pushing to 10 reps with something, even if, let’s just say you end up usually doing four sets of 10 with a weight, if you can break it down and do that same volume in a shorter amount of time and do it by doing five reps when you’re at home in that short amount of time because you don’t have the ability to rest as long as you did when you did those four sets of 10, you’re going to see great benefits because that training density moving more loads in a shorter amount of time creates progression and it can create growth.

So maximize how you’re training through fatigue and again, cycle those areas work. So you can go at that true a hundred percent intensity short on time doesn’t mean a workout can’t be quality. It doesn’t mean it can’t be designed with purpose. It doesn’t mean it can’t be focused on your needs and goals. And even when we’re doing five minutes and we’re designing maybe a workout that wasn’t exactly the type of training we wanted to do because sure, maybe you’re not being able to go to the gym, set up your heavy bar for a deadlift and all those different things, you can still do things that move you forward. And this is the final point I really want to touch on before I check for any questions, comments, or concerns. But with this last thing, sometimes it’s remembering that if you can’t do the optimal, you got to do something and you can do something that moves you forward, even if it’s not directly what you usually would’ve planned.

So if you have five minutes to train, and usually you’re doing these heavy lifts right now, maybe this week you just look at it and you’re like, okay, this isn’t going to be the day that I have five minutes to train. How can I maybe switch my focus and do a little deload work on some of the weak links I even noticed popping up last week when I was doing my heavy lifts so that next week when I get back to it, I’ve worked on something that will ultimately move me forward. So yes, sometimes we do have to shift our perspective with training for a short amount of time or less frequently to a different goal than we had normally had. But the more we can plan ahead and own our reality, own our schedule right now, own even our mental state right now, because when we get busy and all the priorities come into play, we can get stressed and we can not feel like doing our workouts, which makes us skip them more.

Shift your focus so that you’re giving yourself a purpose for the workouts that you are designing that are based on your schedule that ultimately does move you forward even if it’s not the same, because I think sometimes we just do it as a comparison of, oh, well, this five minutes isn’t as good as my gym workout. Okay, but how can you make this five minutes ultimately pay off for your future gym sessions and keep you in that routine and keep you in that positive momentum because something is better than nothing. And even if we have a week where we maintain our previous results, that is success. We’ve maintained a previous result, we’ve created a new setpoint now this is a new launching pad for the next phase of our journey.

Thanks for listening to the Fitness Hacks Podcast. Again, this is the place where I share all my free work out of nutrition tips. I’m never going to run sponsorships or ask you to buy anything. All I ask in return is if you’re enjoying the podcast to leave a rating review or share it with someone you think it might help. This will only take a few minutes and it would mean the world to me and possibly change the life of someone you know.