It’s quite common for fitness gurus and Instagram coaches to spread a derivative of the following mantra:
“Everyone has the same 24 hours in their day”.
The day they’ll then proudly publicise through their social media feed may resemble the following:
10AM: Green tea & power walk
12PM: Lunch time HIIT
2PM: Afternoon power nap
7PM: Weight session
9PM: Epsom salt bath & a massage
But let’s be real for a second here- most of us aren’t Facebook celebrities surviving off intelligent brand placement in our videos. We have jobs, a social life, taxes, and possibly kids to feed/clothe/ keep alive.
Yes, we all have the same 24 hours a day, but sorry Mr ‘Fancy-Instagram-Six-Pack-Guy’, our hours aren’t quite as open for a full day of ‘finding our zen’.
So, let’s examine how to, shall we say, ‘get the most bang for our buck’ in regard to our fitness efforts. We’ll jump on the trend of calling everything a ‘hack’ and refer to these as ‘time saving hacks’ 🙂
What little changes and time efficient efforts can we make that will have the biggest impact on our results (without having to live in the gym)?
Time Saving Hack #1: Meal Prep
Now I can already hear how some of you are responding to this suggestion: “Wait, we’ve established I have no time, how the hell can I fit in meal prepping?!”.
And I hear you – so I’m going to suggest 2 possible time-saving options you can try, to see which will best suit your lifestyle and time constraints.
Option One: The Big Prep
This is the option some of you may be feeling incredulous about. ‘The Big Prep’ means setting aside 2-3 hours (usually on a Sunday) to prepare, cook and store all of your meals for the week.
Now the amount of time this will take is dependant upon the answer to one very important question – “can you eat the same meal over and over again?”
For me, the answer is a definite yes. This makes meal prep far easier, to the extent that a week of lunches involved me cutting up a tray of sweet potatoes, and tray of broccoli and a tray of chicken breast.
I would throw them in the oven with some coconut oil and within an hour I’d have 5 highly nutritious meals.
All I’d need to do is make up a quick sauce with some tomatoes and basil and I’m good to go (the same procedure can be replicated for a variety of different meals).
My partner however, struggles with the same lunch for more than 2 days on the trot. So whilst this ‘Big Prep’ method is still viable, her need to make 5 different meals instead of a huge portion of one adds on an hour or so.
Now this can seem like a big commitment (especially at the weekend), but once all those meals are taken care of you’ll save some serious time during the week (which can be spent training, doing yoga, or any other awesome active thing you now have available to you!).
Option Two: The Doggy Bag
This is the choice I most often recommend to people newer to the meal prep concept, who find the ‘Big Prep’ suggestion overly daunting.
The methodology is simple. Make a larger portion of your dinner so that you can ‘tupperware up’ another serving for lunch the following day. If you’re making your dinner anyways it’ll add on no extra cooking time, but will mean your lunch is taken care of.
Time Saving Hack #2: Smoothies
If you’re always rushing out of the door in the morning or wishing you could hit the gym in the morning, but can’t eat a full meal or train on an empty stomach, smoothies can be the way to go.
The premise is as simple as it sounds – make a nutritious smoothie for a meal or snack and consume that instead of crafting a full solid meal. Although we’d only recommend such practices once a day.
A well balanced smoothie might contain a handful of blueberries, half a banana, a scoop of whey protein and some almond milk. It’s digested quickly and consumed even faster, making it a great athletic option if you find you’re always rushing from place to place.
The guys over at Precision Nutrition created a great system you can follow to create the perfect smoothie for your individual preference, which can be accessed here.
Time Saving Hack #3: Move More
Whilst readers of the Luke Bremner Fitness blog will already be aware that calories aren’t the only factor to consider for fat-loss, they certainly are a large one.
As such if you want to lose weight, then increasing the amount of calories you’re burning throughout the day is going to positively impact your results.
So how can you do that if you haven’t got the time to hit the gym?
Increase your daily activity levels. Which could mean sprinting up the stairs at home, biking to work, or just making sure you walk around the office every 30 minutes. Small combined efforts done consistently will have a big impact on your health and results overall – and it’s achievable for those of us on even the busiest of schedules.
Time Saving Hack #4: Train Hard & Fast
One of the most common reasons cited or not getting to the gym is “not having the time”. This more often than not, is because to the person making the excuse “going to the gym” constitutes a full hour to hour and a half of exercise.
That doesn’t have to be the case.
You can get a great, fat-burning work out within a 20-30 minute window.
Sticking with compound movements (such as squat and deadlift variations), limiting rest periods and super-setting movements are all great ways to decrease your actual training time whilst increasing your results.
In fact, here’s a 25 minute full body fat burning workout you can try today.
Time Saving Hack #5: Introduce High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Have you heard of the Tabata Protocol? It entails performing an exercise explosively, such as bodyweight squats, for a 20 second period. After that 20 second ‘sprint’ you’d rest for 10 seconds, and repeat that ratio for 8 total sets.
That equates to only 4 minutes of exercise. So you’re probably thinking “no way that’s going to make a difference”- but in reality it’s a highly effective fat loss tool.
Yes, just a 4 minute training session has been proven to elevate metabolic rate for hours post training, meaning you’ll burn calories at a faster rate long after you’ve showered off and headed home.
And is the tabata protocol a magic ratio? No, numerous other short interval HIIT protocols have replicated the results, proving that you can get astounding results even if you’re short on time.
Time Saving Hack #6: Lunch Time Training
People tend to work on the assumption that they either have to wake up super early and train before work or drag themselves to the gym after a long day at the office.
But as we’ve established in the previous two time saving hacks, workouts don’t need to be long to be effective, and the majority of gyms have showers so you can freshen up once you’re done. Enter the lunchtime training session.
Training at lunch will not only save you time throughout the day, it’s also going to release a surge of endorphins and hormones that will wake you up and motivate you to dominate the latter part of your day, so much so that your boss might even start requesting everyone get training to bypass the usual mid-afternoon energy slump.
An intelligent combination of short weight sessions and HIIT training is perfect recipe for fat loss and a healthy physique, which leads us nicely to the final time saving suggestion….
Time Saving Hack #7: Hire A Coach
Sometimes the most mental draining aspect of training yourself and getting in shape is trying to do the research and figure everything out.
Hiring an expert takes that mental burden off your shoulders. And not only will you feel greater clarity due to opening up some mind-space, you’ll also be allowing yourself to achieve greater results in a shorter amount of time.
If time really is a factor, wouldn’t it make the most sense to ensure when you can commit to the gym, that the training session is the most efficient and effective it can possibly be?
Hiring a coach ensures just that.
So tell me, after taking action on these 7 time hacks, hitting your physique goals and freeing up multiple extra hours a week to enjoy – what are you going to spend all that extra time doing?
Finding the time to fit exercise and healthy eating into a busy lifestyle can be very challenging. Here at Luke Bremner Fitness we specialise in working with busy professionals and business owners, so we understand the importance of time efficient health and fitness solutions.
We designed our core programmes – the 12 Week Transformation and the 4 Week Jumpstart with that in mind. To help you, the busy professional look, feel and perform better without sacrificing the previous little time you have available.
We offer a complimentary consultation so you can find out more about these programmes and how we can help you achieve your goals.