Whenever I see people complaining they don’t have time to exercise or that they wished they had more time to train better, I can’t stop thinking about the word efficiency. The readers might be tired of me writing all the time about efficiency, economy and so on. But it’s undeniable that efficiency is a key word for training.
Although I consider mechanic efficiency and running economy extremely important features in sports training today I want to talk about something broader: efficiency to train.
In my opinion, the advance in knowledge and technology made our lives only busier. In the middle of the crazily busy modern life we have to find time to exercise, practice sport, and eat properly, isn’t that right? So, if we are inefficient our training gets frustrating, if not almost impossible.
I will try to cover a few situations that make training more time consuming and the solution I would suggest to each one. The list bellow is not exhaustive and the suggestions I will offer are general, but I believe they can help you:
Situation 1: The same-spot obsession – The runner who only runs on parks and nature, or they only run at a certain place, which is normally far from their work place and home. This person has to commute every day to get to the place he likes running. Solution: This one might seem obvious, but you would be surprised with how many athletes I trained who never realized why they were suffering so much with time. Anyway, this runner could try to run at places close to his home and leave the preferred places for the weekend. It’s sometimes a trade-off between what you like the most against what you would have to suffer before getting there.
Situation 2: The broken down sessions – A person who likes to do endurance training and strength training on the same day but separate in two periods. Although in the textbooks this is ideal, committing to two training sessions per day is something quite complicate for someone who is busy. Solution: I would sacrifice a little of the “quality” and “quantity” from both training sessions and put them together at a more convenient time.
Situation 3: The insanely long gym sessions – Have you ever noticed this guy at the gym who loves weight lifting and tries to perform the most complicated series, with many different exercises, long intervals between sets, etc… and he gets to the gym at about 7PM? Frustrated, he claims he can never finish his training schedule. Well this problem is quite common. Solution: Here is another trade off: either this person comes another time, when the gym is less crowded, or he has to change the way he works out. Sometimes, doing too many exercises / machines is too much, it’s better to focus on the most important and more “general” multi-joint exercises. Also, if you are not a professional body builder, elite power lifter, or Olympic weightlifter, you should not worry so much about doing series with too many sets and long intervals. Try to be efficient, try bi-set or super-set –like exercises; these exercises can be almost as efficient as the “traditional” ones and they save a lot of time since you exercise one muscle group while resting another.
Situation 4: Evening training – Although I am aware that many people prefer training at the end of the afternoon and beginning of the evening, I think this not efficient at all. Daily problems tend to build up together with your level or tiredness. Plus there is the rush hour approaching, traffic-jam, dinner getting close, family waiting for you, etc. Solution: I know very few people who like waking up at dawn, let alone feeling like exercising; however after “clearing this hurdle” the day gets 10x better. After you exercise in the morning, the feelings of accomplishment and disposition are amazing.
Situation 5: The toxic “training” partner – Don’t get me wrong, he might be your best friend, or your spouse, relative, etc. Although having a partner can be motivating, some people only pull us down when it comes to training. You know what I am talking about, right? That guy who tells you to skip practice, or just one set… Those people who are confuse, or always late, make you wait for him or her, and even sometimes stand you up. Solution: Please do NOT break up with this person, especially if he or she is important to you (LOL). But instead, be smart about it. Set out to train by yourself, tell the people you need to focus. You may be subtler if you wish: find someone else who can train with this person besides yourself; or at least try to do most of the training by yourself and sometimes with this person.
I know there are many other situations I didn’t cover here, but my main point was to warn the reader that sometimes you can “make more time” by being more efficient with your training. My suggestions are not absolute rules; every person has his or her way of dealing with things. Try to think of an example that fits your routine; ask the question: am I being efficient? What can I improve to make my training life easier?
We have created a simple poll (below) to know which situation bothers you the most. Let us know and next week I will discuss the TOP 3 New situations sent by you guys on our facebook page.
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