As review, here are the first 7:
1. Pick the best exercises
2. Take the time to learn to do the best exercises correctly
3. Avoid combo exercises
4. Group exercises effectively
5. Consider set-up & clean-up time when selecting exercises
6. Wisely program accessory work
7. Do not be afraid of rest
And now for the rest:
8. Work hard, not long
There's an old saying in the training world, “you can work hard or you can work long.” In the case of time efficient training, since you don't have time to work long, you have to work hard. (Please do not mistake me for some type of “one-set to failure is all you need” guy). It is human nature to go longer rather than harder, but harder is what most people need to get better. Really ensure that you are putting full effort into your training. Be smart, but work hard!
Logging your training sessions is an essential part of efficient training. While this should be obvious for performance training, I believe it is also extremely important for us to training. Progressive changes to the barbell lead to progressive changes with the body. Every training session should involve logging this session as you go (do not do this afterward as you do not have time anyways and you lose accuracy thus defeating the whole purpose) and referring back on previous sessions to set goals for the current one.
While there are still too many people who skip the warm-ups, many people mistakenly think that sitting in a slouched position on an exercise bike while zoning out with the gym TV’s is a great way to start a workout.
I know most of you will know this, but as a reminder, interval training is the most time-efficient form of “cardio” you can do. It is generally better for performance improvement and for fat loss. A 10-20 minute session of intervals will accomplish at lot more than a 30-40 minute jog.
When the things most commonly neglected when someone is busy is the flexibility component. While stretching after other forms of exercise is good, it is not essential and may not be practical for the busy person. Please note, I am not advocating a total neglect of some type of cool-down as this can be dangerous for venous pooling).
This is another effective tip for both the time crunched trainee and a trainer. After you know how much time you can realistically commit to training, break that time down into blocks. For example, let’s say someone has 45 minutes:
- Training prep phase: 5 minutes
- Strength Training: 20 minutes
- Intervals: 15 minutes
- Cool-down/stretch/minor accessories: 5 minutes
As I mentioned in introduction, many people make the mistake of trying to multi-task their workouts. A better approach is to allot a time for training and give the training session your full, undivided, 100% focus. Then when you are done, get on with the rest of your life. As a result, your results will go up while your risk of injury will go down. This is especially true for those who are at the intermediate and advanced stages of training.