Life is busy. No doubt about it. There are so many different places to divide our time and attention to. Families, Jobs, Sleep, Netflix, Workouts, They all want a piece of that time. When we prioritize one aspect (Say our Job), one aspect tends to suffer (Say achieving our fitness goals). With the clients that I work with, I often hear the same scenario “I work [x amount of hours] a day and I only have [x amount of time] to come to the gym”. I typically respond “Perfect! That will work” (within reason). My confidence behind that response is rooted in the idea of Goal Based Training. This is simply the idea of solely implementing workouts and exercises that will help us achieve our goals, No fluff included. While this may seem inherently obvious, I often find that many people are doing the opposite. If you are looking to maximize the time that you are able to spend in the gym, Follow along for a quick guide on how to create an efficient Goal Based Training plan.
First. The biggest piece to this puzzle. Which is surprisingly often overlooked; You need to decide what your training goals are. Ask yourself… What are the three things (fitness related) that are the most important to you. It could be losing 5 inches off of the waist to fit into an old pair of pants or it could be increasing total body mobility. What ever it is, Decide what holds the most value to you. Whatever these three things are, Rank them 1 through 3. 1 being the absolute most important to you, 2 being the second most important, and so on. Here’s an example from my own training:
Primary Training goals-
Lumbar Disc Rehabilitation
Maintaining Muscle Mass/Strength
Second. Once you have decided your primary training goals and have prioritized them, 1 through 3. Decide how much time you can dedicate to these goals. This will help you create a focus for the training session. For example, say you can only spend 30-45 minutes in the gym, 3 times per week. You may not be able to hit all three of your training goals in one workout. And that’s ok. That means we can place more focus and effort into the two most important training goals for that workout. Further increasing our efficiency. If I only had 45 minutes to work out for the day, here’s how I would split up that time:
Goal Time Spent
Lumbar Disc Rehabilitation. 30 Minutes
Core Strength/Stability 15 Minutes
Third. Once you’ve decided how much time you’re able to dedicate, Now comes the time to choose exercises that will help reinforce your goals. For example, If my primary training goal is lumbar disc rehabilitation… I can probably save time by cutting out bicep curls and abdominal crunches. That time is better spent incorporating exercises that will help with spinal stability and decompression, such as a Bird Dog or a Passive Bar Hang. If your primary training goal is putting on muscle mass, incorporate core structural exercises first. These being a Bench Press, Squat, deadlift variation etc... Then if you have time; incorporate accessories such as a tricep extension. Another tip if you are in a time crunch, Say you’re goal is to burn calories and ultimately lose body fat. Instead of doing steady state cardio for 30 minutes, *if your health permits* you may try a variation of interval training or possibly circuit training that will increase the intensity of the 30 minutes further increasing the number of calories burned within that same time span.
A1. Passive Bar Hang 4 x 1 min
B1. Childs Pose 2 x 35 sec.
C1. Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch 2 x 35 sec.
D1. Cobra Pulse 1 x 10
E1. Bird Dog 3 x 5 e.
As a quick recap. First, Decide your Training Goals. Choose 1-3 things that are most important to you. Second, Decide how much time you are willing to dedicate to achieve your training goals. Then proceed to narrow down how much you will be able to achieve in a single workout. And Third, Select exercises that will help you achieve your goals. Choose the most relevant/efficient exercises first then go into accessory work if time permits. Ex. Bench press before a Tricep Extension.
I hope this article helps someone out and as always, if you have any questions or are looking for help creating a training plan, please feel free to reach out.
NASM - CPT
B.S Health Education
Personal Trainer, The GYM @ Milford