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15 Ways To Adjust Your Workout When You’re Busy

Set the time

Some days, or weeks, or months, get busier than others. That’s life.

But if you’ve chosen to make your health and fitness a priority, there’s no reason to make excuses. You can always work around a busy schedule.

Shorten Your Workout

Most workouts can be done in half the time and still be effective.

If you’re not sure how to do this, here are 7 ideas:

1. If you take long rests between sets, cut it down to 30 seconds. You’ll have to use a lighter weight than normal, but that’s ok. Your body responds to doing the same work in less time.

2. Set a goal number of reps and do it in as little time as possible. If you normally do 3 sets of 10, go for 30 reps. Use a lighter weight to make sure your form doesn’t break down. This is a fun twist for your exercises regardless of how much time you have.

3. Do your cardio for 1/2 to 2/3 your normal distance. Set your pace faster than normal, too. You’ll cut your cardio session in half, and challenge yourself to maintain a higher intensity than normal.

4. Do your cardio for the same distance as normal, but set your pace faster than normal. You’ll only cut a few minutes from your workout, but every little bit you cut adds up. Bonus: do this a few times and it’ll take your cardio to new heights you hadn’t thought possible.

5. Turn regular sets into supersets. Instead of doing X sets of an individual exercise and then moving on to the next, do 2 exercises back to back. Then do X sets of the combined exercises.

6. Cut out a few exercises altogether and combine the remaining ones into a quick circuit. You’ll drastically reduce your workout time while simultaneously boosting your metabolism.

7. Cut a set from each exercise. A shorter workout is still better than not working out at all.

Skip the Gym

No, don’t skip working out, just skip the gym.

If the commute to and from the gym is the problem, here are some solutions.

8. Do a bodyweight workout at home targeting your whole body. These can be made pretty tough. But even if you’re used to using a lot of weight, as long as your whole body is getting some work, it will help keep you from losing strength gains while you can’t get to the gym.

9. Pick 2 different body weight exercises and do them back to back until you’ve gotten 50 reps of each. Or 30 reps, or 100, depending upon your level of strength.

10. Be creative. Find a sturdy tree branch to do pull-ups on. Or put something heavy in a small suitcase and use it as a weight doing goblet squats, rows, single leg deadlifts, etc.

11. If it’s possible, go for a run in your neighborhood. Even if this isn’t your typical workout, it’s a way to stay active until you can resume your program as usual.

12. Not enough distance to run in your neighborhood? Do sprints. This requires much less space, and can provide a great workout in a fraction of the time. Bonus: Do them on a hill if you really want to take it up a level!

13. Have a bike? Get that sucker out of the shed and use it.

14. If all else fails, do as many burpees as you can and try not to throw up.


This is the tough love section.

“I don’t have time” is not a valid excuse (99% of the time).

All it means is you know you’re going to be busy, and you haven’t scheduled when you’ll workout.

15. Plan ahead. If you normally exercise around lunch time and you know you won’t get your typical lunch break, do it in the evening instead. Or the morning. Wake up earlier or stay up later, but find a different time of day to workout.

I know this isn’t easy. Believe me, I’ve found myself, more than a time or two, working out at midnight just to get it in.

There are times when it’s ok to make other things a priority for awhile. If you really need to skip your workouts for this phase of life, that’s understandable.

But be honest with yourself and don’t make the decision lightly. It can be very easy to break the habit of staying in shape, and extremely difficult to start up again.

If you need help figuring out a plan to continue toward your goals when you’re short on time, let me know. I’ll respond within 24 hours and help you any way I can.


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