I get asked this question by potential clients almost daily.
Our 1-on-1 PT sessions are usually 30 minutes long, and our team training sessions are 45 minutes. Apparently this just isn’t long enough to get results!
Many of you have this idea that we have to train for an hour in the gym 5 times a week to see results.
Our clients’ outcomes fly in the face of this common misconception. We see people completely transform their health, fitness and physiques with just two to three 30 minute personal training sessions a week.
If you’re convinced you don’t have time to train, the question I ask you is: why do you think your sessions need to be longer? And is your belief that training requires such a huge time commitment keeping you stuck and preventing you from getting started at all?
Most people are easily distracted in the gym, neglect to plan their sessions and are unfocused. Many perform less than optimal exercises or have a scattered approach which makes their workouts inefficient.
So how do we get a highly effective and efficient session completed in just 30 minutes?
The best way to get great results for the least time investment is by working with a highly skilled trainer. A good trainer will design sessions highly customised to your goals, so that every exercise selected in every workout is specific to getting you results.
But there are definite strategies we use to optimise your time in the studio, and you can use these yourself to get the most bang for buck out of your time in the gym.
Always have a plan
All our clients’ sessions are carefully planned ahead of time, and all yours should be too!
Go to any gym and you’ll see people wandering around aimlessly, tinkering around from one machine to the next. My guess is you don’t have time for this.
Just as we advise you plan your food, you need to plan your gym sessions too. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. You can have your sessions designed for you by a trainer, or simply jot down your plan beforehand. This might be around a few big strength exercises, or you might plan to roll through some cardio.
Either way, know what you’re going to do BEFORE you start training to avoid time wasting at the gym.
Use big compound movements
Compound exercises recruit multiple joints and muscle groups at once. Think squats, deadlifts, overhead presses and barbell rows. These exercises force the whole body to work as a system, so you build more muscle mass and burn more calories.
Designing your resistance training sessions around compound exercises will help you achieve more in less time.
Stick to a couple of big exercises for each muscle group instead of lots of exercises that target that muscle group and really push yourself with the intensity when completing that exercise. This is more effective and efficient than banging out lots of exercises that attack the same muscle group but without the intensity.
And there’s no need for compound movements to get boring as there are so many variations to these exercises!
Use supersets to reduce rest time between sets
A superset is a mini circuit of a few different exercises performed consecutively and then repeated. This is instead of completing several sets of one exercise, with rest in between, before moving onto the next set.
Performing supersets allows your muscles time to recover from a certain exercise while completing an exercise that focuses on another body part before you repeat that movement. This allows you to hit more body parts in a shorter amount of time. It also keeps your heart rate up and increases the intensity of the session. This is something we’re going for if we want to keep your sessions shorter.
Do full body workouts
If you split your body up into parts you will be in the gym more days a week just to make sure you knock them all off. You can get great results with three full body workouts a week. By hitting all the body parts in one session you cut back your overall gym time commitment.
One of the reasons our clients can fit so much into a 30 minute sessions is that there are no distractions by design. We keep our clients on task by minimising the amount of chat between sets, and of course there is no stopping to look at phones!
In your own sessions, be disciplined about staying away from distractions. Put your phone away, keep the chat to a minimum and try not to get distracted by the TV.
Reduce cardio time in the gym
This one is all about optimising the time you spend OUTSIDE the gym (the other 23 hours of the day). Cardiovascular exercise is an extremely important aspect of your training, but it might not give you the best bang for buck when time in the gym is tight.
Instead of devoting your time in the gym to banging out long cardio sessions, focus on upping your step count outside of the gym. Find every opportunity to move your body throughout the day. Walk as much as you can, take the stairs, run around with the kids – it all counts! Use a tracker like a FitBit, Garmin or Apple Watch and aim for at least 10,000 steps a day.
When you do cardio, stick to HIIT
If you want to do cardio in the gym, make it effective and efficient by using a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) protocol. This involves training at a high intensity (80-90% of max effort) for a shorter period of time (10-30 seconds) and resting for longer periods of time to recover appropriately (50 seconds – 2 minutes).
This will help to improve speed, power, strength and fitness. And these sessions are rarely longer than 20-30 minutes long. Bonus!