Training When You Don't Have Time!

Are you one of those people who lead a very busy life? Do you have a job that demands 60+ hours a week? Then try this program to work with.
Are you one of those people who lead a very busy life? Do you have a job that demands 60+ hours a week? Do you have demanding kids, maybe more than one? If finding the time to work out consistently is a problem, then this article is for you. I can relate to this topic- last year, my job demanded 60+ hours, with no set schedule - I could start work as early as 5am, I could work as little as 8 hours a day or as much as 14 hours a day and I always worked 6 days a week.

I often spent hours on the road every day, as my job required me to travel all over the state. Not to mention, I had a kid in Pop Warner football - that's 3 practice nights and one game a week and I made almost all of them. So, how did I approach working out -and more importantly, how did I get results - in these circumstances? The first thing you need to do is realize that you have to be creative in how you design your routine.

The usual routines you see in the magazines just don't cut it. Now, some people can get up at 4 or 5 in the morning - Bill Pearl being a great example of this - and train. I don't know about you but I can't do that. I found I had to pretty much train at night, except on a Sunday when I could train almost any time. Anyway, the routine needs to be efficient, meaning short with the biggest bang for the buck. A simple full body routine is the obvious first answer and yes, these can work. Here are several examples of some good full body routines (abs are always done at the end of the routine):


Sample Program

Routine 1:

Routine 2:

Routine 3:

The key to these types of routines is to work hard and heavy on a few good, basic exercises. You can adjust these to your level by adding any number of intensity techniques: rest-pause reps, drop sets, forced reps and so on. As to the number of sets, the number listed works well for a full body routine. Any more and it turns into a marathon.

Now, how often do you train? The good thing about a full body routine is just that, you've just trained your entire body in one work out so you can spread out your training days a little bit. I used to shoot for two workouts in a seven-day period. If you train hard, this allows for good muscle stimulation and just as important, excellent recovery.

However, I find I prefer a split routine because the benefit of a full body routine is also the drawback; you can only work out so hard, with only so many sets when you train your whole body at once. A split routine makes better use of time, allowing you to train harder and do more sets for individual body parts. So I soon came up with some very simple split routines that work well when you just don't have a lot of time to train.

Routine 1:

Day 1: Legs - squats, Leg extensions, calf raises Day 2: Chest: bench press, incline press Delts: behind the neck press, side laterals supersetted with rear laterals, upright rows Triceps: skull crushers Day 3: Back: dead-lifts, cable rows, chin ups Biceps: incline dumbbell curls. Two things about this routine: each day is performed when you have time, which can mean several days in between, as long as all three workouts are completed within 8 days. The number of sets per exercise really depends on the time available, how advanced you are and how hard you're willing to work.

Routine 2:

The One Body Part a Day routine: train one body part a day, such as:

Day 1 - Legs: squats, hack squats, leg curls, calf raises Day 2 - Chest: bench press, incline flys, dips Day 3 - Back: dead lifts, t-bar rows, lat pull-downs Day 4 - Arms: Biceps - straight bar curls, alternate dumbbell curls, Triceps - close grip bench press, seated tricep extensions, Forearms - wrist curls Day 5 - Delts: seated overhead press, wide grip upright row, and shrugs

Or, do biceps with back and triceps with delts. As above, the number of sets and reps depends on you. This routine can be flexible, you can skip a day or even two if need be.

The key to all of these routines is training hard on compound movements. Try to consistently add to your top weight, do not rest too long between sets and add intensity techniques if you're an advanced bodybuilder (I've come to like drop-sets with 4 or 5 weight drops).

When you are already taxed with a hectic, draining lifestyle; recovery time is crucial. These routines allow for good recovery between workouts. The other critical aspect is motivation - you have to hang on to your goals and not let the fact that you lead a busy lifestyle hold you back. You have to make time for you, get in there with whatever time you have and hit it hard and heavy. Nutrient intake and timing goes along way for all bodybuilders but how do you eat right when you just don't have a lot of time?

When you aren't home, all you can really do is pre pack your meals and take them with you. If, like me, you drive a lot, invest in a cooler to carry everything. The other choice is protein bars and RTD's. As long as you can afford them, these work out great. If you work a desk job or some other type of job, I think these are the best choice. Remember to keep a food journal to be sure your macro nutrient intakes are adequate.

Remember, as long as you are dedicated and creative, you can always find time.

Be sure to also check out:
Bodybuilding For Babyboomers!

Thanks,