Holiday Survival Guide:  7 Ways to Maximize Limited Workout Time (Now you'll get to train!)

Holiday Survival Guide: 7 Ways to Maximize Limited Workout Time (Now you'll get to train!)

In this blog, we look at ways to maximize your workout time, no matter how short it might be.  We know December is busy.  It’s probably the most joyous and, at the same time, stressful time of the year.  You may be meeting work deadlines before taking time off, going on vacation which (requires all the planning), and/or hosting a large dinner or two for all of your family members while trying to make the holidays special for the kids.  On top of that, you’re trying to keep up your fitness habits (or at the very least, not get worse).

We know one thing for sure, consistency is king.  Even if you have half the time to workout, you should still do a workout.  Doing a short workout will let you keep the habit, get the heart rate up and muscles moving and relieve some stress.  This one habit improves your potential to take on more, do it well, and make it easier at the same time (not just fitness, but life).

Alright, enough with the warm-up.  Let’s get to it!

Have a Plan

This does not need much explanation.  There’s more doing and less thinking when you show up with an action plan.  As well, you can put more thought into your workout beforehand making i intentional with your program and goals instead of doing something random.

Be Agile

Have a general idea of exercises you could do as a backup if the machine or equipment you want is unavailable.  Training the same muscle group is a good first place when you are looking at switching out an exercise.  Having an option or two for back up exercises allows you to be agile with the gym environment and take control of any situation you walk into while walking away on track and unphased by a busy gym.  Have a look at some of these examples for ideas to swap exercises.  See below for a quick cheat sheet!

Do a Conditioning Workout

A short amount of time to workout is not necessarily a bad thing.  You can use this to your advantage by having it push you to minimize your rest times.  The ideal workout to do with short rest times are conditioning workouts.  You will feel your muscles working, but the true challenge will be felt in your heart and lungs during conditioning workouts.  What’s essential when training this way is managing your rest time.  To improve your conditioning, you would generally use lighter weights than a strength or muscle building workout, perform more reps and keep a quick pace from one exercise to the next.  Because of the load intensity, you will not need an extensive movement prep sequence before you start.  Make it a full body workout, alternating from upper exercises to lower exercises.  Your heart will work hard to send blood to muscles from one end of your body to the other.  A 30-minute workout done this way would be an effective cardio type of workout.  The little-time-to-workout situation was made for this!  Below are 2 workouts you could do!

For Beginner or Intermediate
Complete 4 rounds.  Rest 75 to 90 seconds between each round
A1: Push up 8-10 reps
A2: Dumbbell Romanian deadlift 10-12 reps
A3: Dumbbell bent over row 10-12 reps
A4: Dumbbell squat heels elevated 10-12 reps

20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest. Repeat 12 times = 6 minutes per exercise
B: Alternating reverse lunge
C: Elevated mountain climbers

For Advanced
Complete 4 rounds.  Rest 75 to 90 seconds between each round
A1: Chin-up 6-8 reps
A2: Dumbbell push press 6-9 reps
A3: Dumbbell reverse lunges 10-12 reps per side
A4: Dumbbell squat heels elevated 12-15 reps

20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest. Repeat 12 times = 6 minutes per exercise
B: Side kick through
C: Dumbbell thrusters

Limit Phone Access (no emails, no social, no selfies)

“If you didn’t film it, it didn’t happen” vibe does not apply here.  Nothing will give you more back than investing focused time on yourself.  This means limiting all distractions.  Don’t worry, all of your distractions will be waiting for you when you are done with your session.

Prep Supplements Beforehand

If you are taking any pre, intra, or post workout supplements, get them sorted before hand.  Don’t even bother putting powders into sandwich bags or containers. Just put it right into your shaker and ready to add water.  This might mean you have multiple shakers on you and that’s ok.  Add water and drink...there’s no time to wash your shaker before your workout!

Don’t Expect Perfect

Winston Chuchill said it best, “Perfection is the enemy of progress.”  Have the best workout you can, no matter how imperfect the situation is.  This is such an important point, that we created a blog about it: 6 Reasons to Start Your Fitness Journey Now (Hard Truths).  Read this blog after if you want a little more insight into our strong beliefs about starting now.  Imperfect situations can improve with practice!  Read this last sentence again.    

Put Yourself First

You’ve heard this before but I’ll say it again.  The way to support others better is to put yourself first!  This means sticking to your commitments to yourself (training sessions, lifestyle habits, self love and self care).  I’m sure you don’t want to disappoint people, but sometimes you have to say NO to them so you can say YES to yourself.  You might not often come across someone who does this, but when you do, you definitely respect them for doing it.  

There you have it.  You have no reason not to get in movement during your day.  With the help of the strategies above, you can keep your habit of training, regardless of if it is the “perfect” situation or not.  You’ll be more disappointed if you lose the habit.  Habits are where you win! 

Looking for more strategies over the holidays to keep yourself on track?  Visit our Blog page for more Holiday Survival Guide top tips!

We want to hear from you!  What’s one thing you do that helps you have an efficient workout in a short amount of time?  Comment below and share this post with a friend!

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