It’s nearing the end of August and you’ve got a late September or October hunt approaching fast. You’ve been maintaining a pseudo active lifestyle but you want to kick it up a notch so that you hit the slopes in top form. You’re also working 40+ hours and have responsibilities at home that take precedence over all else. What do you do? Get rid of wasted space in your workout. Work your body efficiently and timely to maximize your gains and reduce the required workout time.
By wasted space I mean the time you are using to recover between sets before busting out the next reps. What I’m not talking about is a 6 minute a day workout to propel you into super stardom and a washboard stomach. A specific example that everyone is familiar with would be the bench press. Say you’re in the gym and you just busted out a set of ten reps. What do you do now? You walk around catching your breath, maybe head over to the water fountain, lollygag adding more weight…you get the point. You just wasted 5 minutes. Lets say you do 4 sets…that’s 20 minutes you just lost. 20 minutes is a several mile run or long hike with a weighted pack.
Now before we get too defensive, I get it that if you’re truly trying to maximize your strength gains then yes, you want those breaks between sets. What that does is to help take the aerobic side out of the equation and focus your energy on boosting the amount of weight you can lift. There was a point when that was my goal. I no longer need to squat a bus or bench a pickup though to be successful in my sporting activities. I do still want to get stronger but that is not my sole focus. My end goal is getting up and down the mountain with a loaded pack in a timely manner without hurting myself.
Back to the original point of this article, don’t waste time. Try working a circuit next time you work out. A circuit in my mind is something you can do continuous without having to break to rest a particular muscle group. Go back to the bench press example. Do that set of 10 reps but rather than break and do nothing to let your chest recover immediately jump into a rowing exercise. The rows will work your back, let your chest rest, and still give you an aerobic workout to help with your stamina on the mountain. Personally, I would then throw in a set of step ups too. So in this example you would work your chest, the opposite muscle in your back, then work on your ascent skills with the step ups, all while keeping that heart rate up.
You can devise your own series of circuits so an hour long workout is truly an hour of exercise. You could do squats and arms, deadlifts and shoulders, power cleans and planks or whatever combination of exercises that let one group of muscles rest while taxing another. I usually go on a run or hike with a pack then come back and cycle three exercises in a circuit. I minimize wasted space in my workout and I utilize all my precious time exercising rather than catching my breath or recovering. I’ve got 23 other hours to do that.
It’s not too late. Focus your efforts and take advantage of what time you still have left before hitting the bush in hopes of filling your tag.