T Nation

Not Much Time to Train


Hey everyone, I've been out of the gym for about 3-4 months now (due to work and personal stuff) but am really looking to get back into training again. Work is still taking up a huge amount of my time right now so I only have 1 or 2 days to train a week, and when I do manage to get to the gym I usually only have time to spend 30-60 minutes training.

Current stats are:

Age: 23
Sex: yes please :slight_smile: err I mean male
Height: 6'
Weight: 165 lbs
Body Composition: Skinny with some definition, pretty low body fat% maybe around 10-13%
Total Years Training: 5, but usually more for fun then for serious gains
Current Routine: None

Diet: 3-5 meals a day, eating anything and everything. I have never had an issue with body fat so I don't worry too much about what I eat. I do try to eat as much beef, chicken, fish, vegetables, fruit, and non processed food as I can. So semi clean, with the odd (once or twice a week) take out meal or restaurant/bar meal.

Goals: Nothing fancy just yet, just wanting to get back into a training routine and build a base of strength for when I have time to seriously commit to a routine and proper goals of building size and strength.

Lifting Stats: Estimated 1RM now/1RM before I stopped working out)

Deadlift: 300 lbs / 405 lbs
Squat: 225 lbs / 300 lbs
Bench Press: 190 lbs / 250 lbs
Overhead Press: 100 lbs / 135 lbs

I understand that I'm not going to be making any miracle gains in size and strength only being able to train 1 or 2 a week, but right now my goal is to just get back into the gym, get a routine going and build up a bit of a base so that when work does slow down I'll be ready to jump into a more serious routine.

Before I stopped training while I was still trying to balance work, training, and life I was had 2 workouts that I would alternate between.

The first was:

A. Deadlift - 5 sets of 3 reps
B. Bench Press - 5 sets of 3 reps
C. Pull up - 5 sets of 3 reps

And the second was:

A. Squat - 5 sets of 3 reps
B. Overhead Press - 5 sets of 3 reps
C. DB row - 5 sets of 3 reps

If I had time and/or the energy I would add in some quick ab work and sometimes some face pulls or arm work.

As you can see these workouts where very simple, could be done very quickly and didn't have much volume. I am looking to do something similar this time around but am not really sure of what set/rep volume to use.

I do still kind of like the exercise selection, but am open to any suggestions that might make more sense, since they are all 'fun' exercises and I think that will help me get back into a routine of training of I look forward to being in the gym.

Feel free to ask any questions that I haven't answered in my post and any suggestions about set/rep selection or even exercise selection would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

P.s Sorry for flooding the boards with yet another 'critique my routine!!!!' post. I tried checking the 'Do this routine not that one' post and a few others but nothing really fit into my very non muscle building friendly situation haha. Thanks again for the help!


This is a picture of me from 2 or 3 years ago. Mid way through my training 'career' haha. As you can see I do have some definition but am pretty dam skinny too! I'm not quite as defined anymore because of the lack of training, but am still pretty similar even without the training and now eating whatever I want.

Hope it works!


Seems like very little volume for growth. The low reps scheme you have seems good for developing some strength (if you really did DL 405 on that routine I am impressed) but it doesn't seem like your muscles are getting enough stimulus to encourage growth.

I'm just another guy trying to get big, though. I could be wrong.


I know that there isn't much volume, but right now I'm not really looking to build a bunch of muscle or get as strong as I can. My schedule doesn't allow me very much time in the gym right now so all I'm looking to do is a couple workouts that I can bang out in 30-50 mins once or twice a week just to get back into the swing of things for when I do have more time to start following a properly structured routine to build strength and muscle.

And that routine I outlined above is only what I was doing for a month or two before I stopped training altogether because of not having enough time. Before that I had followed proper routines off this site and that I had made up to get my lifts to the numbers I posted.


Dude, this is NOT being an ass right now, but why either bother posting here if you're saying you're not even serious about it? You're only going to get flamed way worse than this.

...how many hours a week are you working?

Because I work 40 hours every week and am a full-time student (15-17 credits/semester) and have internships... yet I can make it in 5-7 days a week... while getting bigger, stronger, and leaner.

So, what's the next excuse?


I can see how it looks like I'm trying to take the easy way out here, and that I'm not serious about training. I am serious about getting bigger and stronger. I guess what I was trying to say is that I'm not expecting a miracle routine that's going to get me huge and strong while only training out once or twice a week. The once or twice a week I do get to train I'm going to be busting my balls in the gym and give it my all with nutrition outside of the gym. And however slow my progress is I'm going to be ok with that.

As for the work situation, I'm working Monday-Thursday 13 hours a day doing maintenance at a precast concrete plant. so climbing on and into concrete molds, fixing machinery and so on. Fairly intense physical labour. And than I drive 'home' to my folks place 2.5 hours away early Friday morning and work with my dad for Friday and Saturday, about 8-9 hours each, doing residential and commercial moves. Leaving me with Sunday to relax, see my girlfriend/friends, and train.

I've used work as an excuse not to train for the past 3 or 4 months but now I want to get serious about getting back into the gym as much as I can. I'm sorry if I came across as being lazy or not caring about training and it seems like I'm wasting peoples time being on here. I just need some help in creating 1 or 2 workouts that will give me the most out of the little time I have to train.


Your work schedule sounds like mine only my Saturdays and Sundays tend to be more hours work. I still get to the gym 4 days a week for 60-90 minutes. Excuses are like assholes, everyone has one.


This is not me being an ass either.. But you guys can rip on me all you want, its not going to hurt my feelings. If I have to go through 10 posts calling me lazy and telling me I'm full of excuses for every one I get with some helpful info that's fine. For all of you who work as much as me or more and still get to the gym 3-5 times a week, good on you.

And I honestly mean that, I wish I had the drive and dedication to devote that much of my life to training. I do really enjoy being in the gym and I enjoy challenging myself to see how much weight I can lift. But I also enjoy having a girlfriend, having friends, and just having a life in general. I don't ever plan on being in a bodybuilding contest or competing in strongman competitions. So I may not be as serious as most of you on this site in how much time I devote to training. But the time I do devote to training I am very serious about. And I'm sorry if that means I'm wasting your time by posting on here asking for some help in creating a simple routine that I can do a couple times a week, and if that's all you see from this post then feel free to flame away or simply ignore my post.

Again this is not me coming up with more excuses about why I can't or won't train 4 times a week. This is simply me saying that right now I enjoy how my life is set up and I don't want to change it. Training a couple times a week is what I have to work with right now and any help anyone can give me towards making the most of that will be greatly appreciated. And any posts ripping on me will be appreciated too.. As they do keep my thread towards the top of the forum haha.


Right now I train once, at most twice a week. The one training session however is a 2-3 hour all-out strong man event style session.

I suggest you buy Wendler's 5/3/1. It can be used on a 2 day/ 1 day template and is designed to entail workouts of less than 60 minutes (provided you do little assistance work).


I'm actually in the process of acquiring/making some strongman equipment. As it's something that I've been interested in trying for awhile. And I didn't know that Wendler's 5/3/1 could be done as a twice a day program. I'm pretty excited about that though since its also something I've been wanting to try for awhile. 5/3/1 twice a week and strongman on Sunday's could work out nicely. Thanks for the advice.


in "blood & chalk" wendler wrote about two days version of 5/3/1 - just find this

if you have enough time to do so...