I’ll level with you: fitness is a commitment, fitness can be tough, and fitness is rarely the easiest part of anyone’s day. Compound that with a busy work schedule and family commitments, and it can seem nearly impossible to maintain any sort of consistency when it comes to exercise. Four workouts per week can seem just as unattainable as two, and when we do actually find time for sweat sessions, the stress of daily life has already sapped us of the energy needed to get results.
But there are actionable steps you can take today to fit more fitness in less time. That means saving time, getting more out of the sessions you are managing to prioritize, and even doubling up workouts with other important tasks (stick with me on that last one).
Below, I’ve highlighted six of my favorite tips to fit more fitness into my weekly routine while helping ensure each and every workout is as effective as possible.
1. Ramp Up Your Warm-up
All too often, we ignore warming up in order to get right to the heart of our workout. After all, that will shave precious minutes off our time in the gym, correct?
But a well-executed warm-up has multiple benefits, including injury prevention, that warrant its inclusion at the start of any fitness activity. By viewing warm-ups as an integral part of the workout — not just something to begrudgingly slog through beforehand — you’ll better prep your muscular and nervous systems for the work ahead, ensuring you get more out of each and every rep and exercise.
By gradually upping the intensity of your warm-ups over the course of 15-20 minutes, you’ll also find an easy way to include more work and total reps into your session. I like to program warm-ups that segue seamlessly into my working sets themselves, leaving my body primed for work and honed in on movement patterns to come.
2. Embrace Supersets
Cut down on rest between sets by alternating exercises that work opposing muscle groups. For example, superset push-ups with pull-ups, only taking a shorter rest after a set of both movements has been completed.
This cuts down significantly on rest time, adding an additional conditioning component while reducing overall time spent in the gym. (Anecdotally, I’ve found this can be true by up to 30% on total time.)
3. Explore In-Office/At-Home Solutions
Don’t let travel time be the excuse that keeps you from achieving fitness goals. A bodyweight workout at home — or even in the office — is better than none at all. And yes, that includes a warm -up.
It doesn’t even take any equipment to get in well-rounded strength and conditioning session, but rather, a commitment to actually moving for a set period of time. Plus, bodyweight movements are easy to keep track of as far as progress, so you can easily measure improvement in reps completed from one week to the next.
4. Exercise During Off Hours
No one likes waiting for machines, racks, or dumbbells to free up at the gym. While it’s not always the most convenient thing to work out in the middle of the day or on a lunch break, overall I’ve found exercising on off-peak hours saves time due to reduced gym crowding. There’s a greater chance your equipment of choice is free, and with fewer gym goers in the building, fewer potential distractions standing between you and your working sets.
5. Take A Class
Even fitness veterans can benefit from taking a structured group class at a local gym or fitness studio. Often times, these classes include warmups, mobility and skill work, strength training, and conditioning all rolled into an hour or less.
Having an instructor keep you on track and accountable — even in a group setting — removes distractions and lets you focus on your workout in a more concentrated time block.
6. Utilize Walking Meetings
Walking is incredibly underrated when it comes to fitness. By walking more, you can reduce body fat, decrease sitting time, and even boost creative thinking. It’s not just for politicians in high-budget thrillers: As colleagues to join you in a walking meeting to make your brainstorming sessions a little more active.
Your heart — and creativity — will thank you!