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20 Minutes a Day...

I could really use a little help from some of the vets here… I currently work 50 hours a week and go to school full time. I really need to get back into shape, but I have very little free time right now. Between work, school, and homework, pretty much every minute of the week is already booked before I get out of bed on Monday.

I realize this isn’t ideal, but I only have about 20 minutes a day to workout. What’s the best use of this time? I can workout everyday if I want, but I really only have about 20 minutes at a time. If it helps, I’m 34 years old, 6’0" and a fairly soft 185 lbs. It will probably be another two years before my schedule eases up, so I’m trying to make the best of it. Suggestions?

I should also add that I’ve always been able to stick to a solid eating plan, so my diet won’t be an issue.

Thanks,
Balzak

Look up “Cardio Strength Training” by Robert dos Remedios. He has some killer templates in there…cool workouts you can finish in 20 min or less. You can find it for under 10 bucks on amazon. There’s a vast variety of workouts in there and enough to keep you entertained for quite some time without ever feeling to monotonous.

Maybe 5/3/1? Maybe one extra lift per day?>

[quote]JohnMariette wrote:
Maybe 5/3/1? Maybe one extra lift per day?>[/quote]

When I was running 5/3/1, by the time I warmed up, did my warm up sets, and my 3 working sets I was easily 30+ minutes into my workout.

What exactly are your goals? Have you considered looking at Convict Conditioning? Got some great bodyweight strength stuff that you can do at home in 20 mins and recover quickly enough to probably be able to work out 6/7 days a week.

[quote]jskrabac wrote:
Look up “Cardio Strength Training” by Robert dos Remedios. He has some killer templates in there…cool workouts you can finish in 20 min or less. You can find it for under 10 bucks on amazon. There’s a vast variety of workouts in there and enough to keep you entertained for quite some time without ever feeling to monotonous. [/quote]

I just ordered this on Amazon. Thanks for the recommendation!

[quote]furo wrote:
What exactly are your goals? Have you considered looking at Convict Conditioning? Got some great bodyweight strength stuff that you can do at home in 20 mins and recover quickly enough to probably be able to work out 6/7 days a week.[/quote]

I’ll check it out. I certainly wouldn’t mind working out 6-7 days a week, especially if I could do it at home with minimal equipment. As for goals, I’m really not at a stage where I can be too specific. I’m not terribly overweight, but I could probably stand to lose about 20 lbs of fat. I really just need to put on some muscle and stop being so weak and flabby. I’ve gotten really lean in the past, but I’ve never developed much in the way of muscle mass. I’m looking to change that.

Like others said depends on goals. But 5-10min warm up and 3 min per set? Wouldn’t it be harder doing another program since 3 sets is all you can do(honestly not trying to sound like a dick).

Could do 5/3/1 just work fast and realize that you have to be moving lol

You could do a few days a of circuit type conditioning as has been mentioned above. You could then pick 1 exercise to perform on each of the other workout days.

For example on a continuous 2 wee cycle you could perform:

Sun: Conditioning
Mon: Squat
Tue: Conditioning
Wed: Bench Press
Thur: Conditioning
Fri: Power Cleans
Sat: Conditioning

Sun: Conditioning
Mon: Deadlift
Tue: Conditioning
Wed: Shoulder Press
Thur: Conditioning
Fri: Front Squat
Sat: Conditioning

Dons flame suit.

Crossfit? Seriously. It will get you fitter helps work on most major muscle groups. You could just hit some full body style circuit work two or three times a week and just smash a pure cardio session on one other session.

[quote]ACTrain wrote:
You could do a few days a of circuit type conditioning as has been mentioned above. You could then pick 1 exercise to perform on each of the other workout days.

For example on a continuous 2 wee cycle you could perform:

Sun: Conditioning
Mon: Squat
Tue: Conditioning
Wed: Bench Press
Thur: Conditioning
Fri: Power Cleans
Sat: Conditioning

Sun: Conditioning
Mon: Deadlift
Tue: Conditioning
Wed: Shoulder Press
Thur: Conditioning
Fri: Front Squat
Sat: Conditioning
[/quote]

Can you elaborate a little? What would the conditioning days look like and what type of set/rep scheme did you have in mind for the lifting days? Thanks.

You can do tabata in only 8 minutes, I’m just not sure if you could do it as a beginner

[quote]dreadlocks1221 wrote:
You can do tabata in only 8 minutes, I’m just not sure if you could do it as a beginner [/quote]

I highly highly recommend against doing tabata as a beginner. But when your conditioning is good, it is a very fast way to get the job done.

A tough situation, but there’s been some solid info so far. Some other programs to consider…
Dan John’s One Lift a Day:

Wendler’s Effective Training for Busy Men:

A low volume/high intensity plan (lower volume = less time in the gym):
http://www.T-Nation.com/article/bodybuilding/pump_down_the_volume

Mike Robertson’s Twice a Week Program:

Also, since you said this could be the norm for the next two years, it might be worth reading Dan John’s Work, Rest, Play, Pray, just to keep everything in perspective:

[quote]Balzak wrote:
I certainly wouldn’t mind working out 6-7 days a week, especially if I could do it at home with minimal equipment.[/quote]
What equipment do you have at home?

This is like saying “I want to go on vacation, but I won’t get in the car because I don’t know where I want to go.” Setting the goal is the first step. It makes no sense to wait.

At 6’0" and a soft 185, you’re “skinny fat.” Focusing on losing another 20 pounds won’t help.

Agreed. This is almost a goal. Narrow it down a bit more - make it S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based) and you’re there.

This is often either a training issue, as in not enough heavy lifting which would’ve built the lean muscle mass and made the finished physique more well-defined, or a diet issue, as in not enough quality protein, or both. All relatively-easily fixable.

Step 1 stop pretending you are good at eating well. I am 55, about 9% body fat. I have small muscles like you. You can do upper/lower spilt. Use light weights you will not need warmup. Do 20 sets in 20 minutes, rest should be 20-40 sec. reps about 10-12. About 4-5 exercises, about 4-5 sets each.
You will loose 2-3 pounds weekly if you eat right and get stronger.
All the best!

[quote]Balzak wrote:

[quote]ACTrain wrote:
You could do a few days a of circuit type conditioning as has been mentioned above. You could then pick 1 exercise to perform on each of the other workout days.

For example on a continuous 2 wee cycle you could perform:

Sun: Conditioning
Mon: Squat
Tue: Conditioning
Wed: Bench Press
Thur: Conditioning
Fri: Power Cleans
Sat: Conditioning

Sun: Conditioning
Mon: Deadlift
Tue: Conditioning
Wed: Shoulder Press
Thur: Conditioning
Fri: Front Squat
Sat: Conditioning
[/quote]

Can you elaborate a little? What would the conditioning days look like and what type of set/rep scheme did you have in mind for the lifting days? Thanks.
[/quote]

Depending on the equipment you have available there are a ton of options for conditioning.
Just to name a few:
Sled Dragging
Hill Sprints
Farmers Walks
Body Weight Circuits - rotate between body weight exercises such as pullups, pushups, and squats. Do 100 reps of each with the following rep scheme, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1. As little rest as possible during the entire workout.
Lactate-inducing Lifting aka Circuits with Weights - great article CT wrote 5 years ago. Start with really light weight, you’ll be suprised how hard the circuits are when going non stop.

For lifting days I would pick a rep range, I like sets of 3 or 5, being a beginner you may want to start at a higher rep range like 8. Ramp the weight up to a max weight for the rep range, if time permits you could do another set where you drop the weight by 15-20% and do as many reps as possible.

Here is an example using Dumbbell Bench Press
Warmup Sets:
30 x 8
50 x 6
60 x 5
Work Sets:
85 x 5
95 x 5
105 x 5
115 x 5
125 x 5
100 x 11