Lifting is one of my favorite activities.
That said, I don’t want to spend all my time in the damn gym. As much as I love picking up heavy things and putting them down, I need balance. Gym-ing all the time doesn’t make me feel happy, balanced, or grounded
More isn’t always better. Sometimes it is though.
If someone only does the elliptical, more lifting is a plus. Now, if hypothetically someone hypothetically was training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai twice a day, 6 days a week, in addition lifting 3 times a week, this hypothetical person probably doesn’t need more exercise.
In case you didn’t pick up what I was putting down, I was the “hypothetical” person bt-dubs.
We don’t need to spend all of our life-force on our fat loss pursuits to get that line of definition on the back of our arms that makes wearing a tank top feel more awesome.
Now, creating lasting healthy nutrition habits with minimal mental energy and time is a different discussion. And I would be more than happy to write about it in the near future.
If you’re interested in this topic email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Write the damn thing already!
Today, for clarity’s sake I want to focus on cutting down gym time. For now, I’ll give you some tactics you can start implementing today to minimize your gym time and still get as sexy as you wanna be.
You don’t need to lift everyday
In fact, I wrote an entire other blog post on why 3 or 4 days of lifting is usually optimal. Check it out here: How Many Times A Week Should I Workout?
Focus on the Big Rocks
Devote the majority of your gym time to practicing bang-for-your-buck exercises. This means you’ll only be doing 5 or 6 exercises per session.
Compound, Multi-joint exercises are where the money’s at. Our gym sessions should revolve around the 5 fundamental movements (Push, Pull, Squat, Hinge, Carry) which all happen to be compound exercises.
We can explain the term Compound (multi-joint) by comparing it to Isolation (Single Joint) movements.
An example of this comparison would be Squats (Compound) vs. Machine Leg Extensions (Isolation). Squats involve movement at the ankles, knees, and hips in addition to a shitload of spinal stability. Leg Extensions involve movement solely at the knee.
More examples of compound lifts include: Bench Press (Push), Bent Over Row (Pull), Lunge (Squat), Sumo Deadlift (Hinge), and Farmer Walk (Carry).
Compound movements win because they’re efficient. You can work more muscle groups in less time. Furthermore, because many muscles are working together in compound lifts, you can hit each muscle involved harder than you could with an isolation move. A boat with many rowers is more powerful than a boat with one rower.
Let’s look at the deadlift. We can break it down into the muscles involved, and we will, but it doesn’t really do the lift justice in describing its benefits.
The deadlift works the entire back, thighs, butt, deep abs, forearms, shoulders, calves, some arms i.e. everything.
Using every muscle in your body at once means you can lift a lot of weight. Each of those muscles is being loaded with much more weight than it could handle on it’s own. Go team!
It’s an instance of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. Like you! 🙂
The result is a greater training effect in less time with less exercises. Yeah Buddy!
If you absolutely need to throw in some curls or whatever, set a timer for 15 minutes at the end of your session. This is your cut off time. After that timer goes off, you’re done! Get out of the gym and go have a few laughs with some friends.
Stop doing cardio if it makes you associate the gym with masochism. Cardio can be great. Some people love it. It makes them feel as good as hitting the devil’s lettuce. That said, if it ain’t doing anything for you, scrap it.
Use that time and energy for something that’s important to you–something you feel like you never have enough time for.
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