T Nation

Limited Training

Here is the deal. I am a trainer at the a gym. I also do yard work on the side. From having to demonstrate routines and working in the yard 2-4 hours out of the day I am usually tired. I would like a routine were I workout either 2-3 times a week or maybe just 5-10 sets a day. I know I am trainer and should now this, but I would love to get feedback. What do you guys recommend. I personally respond best to 4 workouts a week for 45-60 minutes long in length averaging around 20 sets per workout. However I do not have the energy to do this right now. Please give me some advice or suggestions. Thanks Pressed for time.


There was a time when I also was a Fitness Trainer. I had to travel to up to three different gyms to train clients. I was also training in martial arts four days a week (sometimes up to five), boxing two days a week and weight training 2-3 days a week. What I did for weight training? Simple. Split my body into two. Upper body day and lower body day and trained primarilly with compound movements. Bench, deadlifts, squats.

try one set to failure, 8-12 reps…i found this to be effective for a while until my motivation levels got back up to par. Grant it, my situation was a little different than yours, but after a few weeks of this type of training i am sure you will be ready, and probably anxious to go back to your other type of training. Most people respond very well to this if they have never done it before. I like to utilize this approach between my heavy cycles. It will get stale after a while, but it will give your body a rest and you’ll still make gains. I would go with 3 workouts a week; alternating upper and lower body between workouts…in other words, you’ll be working each muscle 3 times in two weeks. give it a try, and i think you’ll find it beneficial.

Day 1- five sets of squat, five sets of RDL’s
Day 2- five sets of bench, five sets of overhead presses, Day 3- five sets of clean and jerk, five sets of deads. That is pretty easy and won’t take much time. Not the most optimal training program, but hey just go find a good peaking cycle for however long it is going to take you to get your motivation back.

Say I was to do this Day 1 - Back 5 sets, Day 2 - Chest 5 sets, Day 3 - Legs 5 sets, day 4 - rest Day 6 - Repeat. The only thing done different is maybe a different exercise and different rep ratio. For example day 1 I could do 5 sets of pullups fo 8-10 reps. The next back routine I could do 3 sets of deadlifts for 6 reps and 3 sets of a rowing exercise for 15 reps. What do you guys think about this.

you’d be better off doing one set to failure instead of just throwing something together. One set to failure has been proven to work, and it doesn’t take long at all. You get a nice little pump, feel good, and leave within 15-20 mins. Like i said before, it will get stale, but hopefully after a 3-4 weeks of this type of training you’ll want to get back to your old routine.

Thanks Joelm, I will think about that.

Get Buffed, by Ian King. Since you are a trainer it will be well worth the investment. One of the best parts of the book (to me at least) is the discussion over training frequency. He says that for most people something around 10 sets a workout is ideal-with a frequency of 4x a week. For you however I would suggest training three days a week (say M,W,F) and then you have the weekends off, this is known as a calender split and works well for most people’s schedule because it is the same every week. The exception with King’s book however is he likes to have a 4 different training days (ie, 2 for upper body, 1 quads, 1 hams) So one week you would do A,B,C and the next week D,A,B. I am a very busy college student and followed this format through finals (while missing tons of sleep and not eating the best) and was still making gains every workout. As they say, “If you’re not making improvements, why are you in the gym?”