Training

Escaping the Holidaze Part II: Training on a Time Crunch


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By Nate Winkler

In ‘Escaping the Holidaze Part I‘, we looked at the nutritional side of the holiday season, traveling, and all the considerations that come along with being healthy when you’re away from home.  Eating healthy and applying proper nutrient timing is crucial, however, there is an exercise component that is required.  Training during the holidays is tough, but training on a time crunch and still achieving your goals can be done.  I’ll explain what I’ve found over the past month that works for anyone who has a packed schedule but remains committed to reaching their goals.

Your Goals, and a Tree

Some popular nutritionists are preaching that as long as you eat ‘right’, you don’t need to train much to get the physique that you want, or they say  that nutrition is 80% of the equation.  I’ve thought about how the aspects of training and nutrition are related to each other and what the most important variable of achieving your optimal physique is.  Imagine that you’re cultivating a tree, you must have sunlight, soil, and water in order for a tree to grow. If any one of these three variables are removed, your tree will die. Achieving your goals are much the same way. If you are a power lifter, you must train hard, program right, and recover, missing any of these variables will only leave you injured or disappointed on meet day.  If you want to ‘get ripped’, you must lift weights (body or external resistance), eat the proper amount of calories from the appropriate macronutrient type, and have an aerobic component to your training, simple as that. In each of these examples above, all of the major components are equally necessary in order to achieve one’s goals. Nutrition is crucial, but exercise creates an environment internally that allows the body to burn fat, build muscle, and gain mass if the right macronutrient is applied.

In ‘Escaping The Holidaze Part I’, #2 of the Travel Top 10 was to ‘Train the night before or morning of travel’.  Exercise is great for obvious reasons, but one key component of exercise, like we discussed earlier, is the stimulus it provides.  If you train before you leave for your trip, everything you eat will be processed differently and more efficiently while sitting in a car, plane, or couch for that matter.

Getting With The Program

This parking lot was 1/4 of a mile away from the house I was staying at 2 weeks ago. Getting my tempo runs in before a birthday party only took 20 minutes from the time I left the front door until I returned. Simple. 

At this point you may be thinking, “Yea, not exactly earth shattering, exercise and eat right, but there’s just no time.” Everyone is too busy to exercise during the holidays.  Making it to all the festivities, and still getting your exercise in is impossible right? Well, here’s your solution: A 4 day a week training program that never takes more than 30 minutes a session and leaves the weekends open for family, traveling, kids, and whatever other time vampires you’re currently dealing with. ‘Training on a Time Crunch’, has two levels; not Beginner and Advanced, if you’re training at all during the holidays, you’re already ahead of all the other couch potatoes delaying till the New Year. Level I and Level II will differentiate the two workouts, you decide your level and get moving.  If you can’t get to the gym to do your running, good, simply find somewhere around your house and make the intervals work somehow.  If you think it’s too cold, just add a few layers and you’ll be fine, I promise.

Training on Time Crunch: Level I

Day 1: Tempo Runs 20 Minutes

70% Run for 20 seconds

Walk for 20 seconds

25% Run for 20 seconds

Walk for 20 seconds

And repeat…

Day 2: 30 Minute Intervals

Assisted pull ups are a great way to build lat strength until you are able to do pull ups. Bent legs will allow you to use your legs to propel your body towards the bar.

Interval 1: 20 seconds on/10 seconds off for 6 minutes

Exercise 1: Fat Man Pull Ups (bent/straight leg)

Exercise 2: Plank Variation

Exercise 3: Push Ups (knees on the ground/regular)

REST FOR 5 MINUTES

Interval 2: 20 seconds on/10 seconds off for 6 minutes

Exercise 1: Shoulder Movement (bent lateral raise, shrugs, etc.)

Exercise 2: Plank Variation

'Chops' are a great full body movement that will accelerate fat burn by utilizing all four limbs in one exercise. Choose a weight that you can move quickly for 20 seconds.

Exercise 3: Body Weight Squats/ Chops (shown right)

REST FOR 5 MINUTES

Interval 3: 20 seconds on/10 seconds off for 6 minutes

Exercise 1: Curls

Exercise 2: Alternating/Walking Lunges

Exercise 3: Dips (Seated/Regular)

REST FOR 5 MINUTES

Day 3: Recovery Runs 21 Minutes

70% Run for 30 seconds

Walk for 60 seconds

And repeat…

Day 4: 30 Minute Strength Training

Exercise 1: Bench 3×8, end with a challenging set

Exercise 2: Squat 3×8, all 3 sets should be at same weight

3-4 Barbell Circuits: A weight you can handle and move quick with, 90 seconds rest in between. Move quickly from exercise to exercise without resting.

10 reps of push ups on barbell

10 reps of bent over row

10 reps of upright row

10 reps of front squat

10 reps of overhead press

Training on Time Crunch: Level II

Day 1: Interval Runs with Push Ups 20 Minutes

60-70% Run for 20 seconds

Walk for 20 seconds

Push Ups for 20 seconds

Walk for 20 seconds

And repeat…

Day 2: 30 Minute Intervals

Interval 1: 20 seconds on/20 seconds off for 6 minutes

Exercise 1: Pull Ups

Exercise 2: Plank Variation

Exercise 3: Push Ups

REST FOR 5 MINUTES

Nothing incredibly special about DB floor press, this exercise just allow you to stay in one area of the gym around the squat rack during this interval.

Interval 2: 20 seconds on/20 seconds off for 6 minutes

Exercise 1: Back Squat (choose weight wisely)

Exercise 2: Plank Variation

Exercise 3: DB Floor Press (shown right)

REST FOR 5 MINUTES

Interval 3: 20 seconds on/20 seconds off for 6 minutes

Exercise 1: Curls

Exercise 2: Alternating/Walking Lunges

Exercise 3: Dips (Weighted/Regular)

REST FOR 5 MINUTES

Day 3: Tempo Runs 20 Minutes

70% Run for 20 seconds

Walk for 20 seconds

25% Run for 20 seconds

Walk for 20 seconds

And repeat…

Day 4: 30 Minute Strength Training

Exercise 1: Bench 3×5, end with a challenging set

Exercise 2: Squat 3×5, all 3 sets should be at same weight, approx. 70-75%%

Exercise 3: One armed DB rows 2×12-15 per arm

3 Barbell Circuits: A weight you can handle and move quick with, 90 seconds rest in between. Move quickly from exercise to exercise without resting.

10 reps of push ups on barbell

10 reps of bent over row

10 reps of upright row

10 reps of front squat

10 reps of overhead press

What to Expect

Like I said in Part I, this program is not going to prepare you for a powerlifting meet, but it will prevent you from totally falling apart during the holidays and forfeiting all the progress you have made in previous months. This program will also help during those busy times throughout the year when it seems you’re in a plane or a car more than your own bed. Reaching any milestone requires a series of dedicated decisions. You can’t change everyone else’s schedule, but you can change yours and adapt to stay the course. ‘Escaping The Holidaze’ and any busy time period during the year can be done half an hour at a time.

 

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