Q&A: I Have No Time For Exercise!

by Robert Maxwell

Ronald from Missouri writes: "Hi Robert, I'm a big fan of your site and Facebook group, and love your content for men my age (57 this year). My wife laughs at me because she figures I'll never actually take any of the advice I read. The sad part is she's probably right. It's not that I don't want to get stronger – I just don't have time. I run a busy mechanic shop and am working on a big reno of our house. I take very few days off, and when I do, there's always things that need doing at home. I know you've said that strength training should be a priority no matter what, and I agree. I even bought a gym membership last year (which I've barely used). I just don't know how I can work exercise into my schedule, without quitting something else important. Any advice for me?"


Hi Ron, thanks for the question. You're certainly not alone in this difficulty. Busy, productive men everywhere find themselves struggling to fit training into their lives. Some succeed, and some give up all together. I'd like to help you become the kind who succeeds.


The first thing you need to ask yourself is whether training for strength and fitness is worthwhile. You've read my stuff, so I'm sure you're familiar with the benefits: more strength, muscle, energy, testosterone, and happiness, in short. You're almost 57, and pretty active by the sounds of things. I'm guessing you're already stronger and fitter than the average guy your age, thanks to your lifestyle. If this is the case, it might be blinding you to some uncomfortable facts about the future. Turning wrenches and sawing lumber is far better for your body than sitting in an office chair all day, but it won't keep you from losing serious amounts of muscle, strength, and testosterone over the next few decades. Not unless you do something about it. Only resistance training can do that. Lifting heavy weights. I say this to help you realize that strength training isn't just a good idea – you need it. Maybe the effects of not training haven't take a serious toll on you yet, but they will. You need to decide if you stopping these effects is worth sacrificing some time. If your answer is no, face up to it. Cancel your gym membership, and give up the idea of getting to it "some day". It'll never get any easier to start than it is now. If your answer is yes, your job becomes getting the best bang for your buck in the gym in the shortest possible time, given your busy schedule and large list of commitments. Here are some strategies to make that happen.


Start by reading this article on how to train efficiently. If you're doing all these things already and still finding your workouts take too long, it's time to adjust your program. You need something fast, dead simple, and no more than 3 times weekly. Here's the program I'd recommend for maximum training efficiency and effectiveness.



5 minute active warmup (fast paced air squats, back, chest and shoulder stretches)

Squats - 3 sets of 5 reps (intensity of first set 75%)

Bench Press - 3 sets of 5 reps (intensity of first set 75%)

Deadlift - 3 sets of 5 reps (intensity of first set 75%)



5 minute active warmup (fast paced air squats, back, chest and shoulder stretches)


Squats - 2 sets of of 10 reps (intensity of first set 60%)

Overhead Press - 3 sets of 5 reps (intensity of first set 60%)

Pullups/Pulldowns/Rows - 3 set of 5 reps (intensity of first set 75%)




5 minute active warmup (fast paced air squats, back, chest and shoulder stretches)

Squats - 1 set of 5 reps (intensity 85-90%)

Bench Press - 1 set of 5 reps (intensity 85-90%)

Deadlift - 1 set of 5 reps (intensity 85-90%)




That's it. Dead simple, highly effective, and very fast. 30 minutes, 3 times per week. Friday might be even less. No extras, just bare bones compound movements. Yes, squatting, benching and deadlifting multiple times each week might seem like a lot. The reason I've laid it out this way is that these movements are the best for making you strong, and the varying intensity levels ensure you won't overtrain. If you're familiar with strength training programs, you might recognize some similarities to Mark Rippetoe's Texas Method. The intensity numbers are just a guideline, and you definitely shouldn't start off trying to achieve them if you're new to lifting (or coming back to it after a long hiatus). Just start moving under the bar. If you can't find 30 minutes 3 times weekly, get up 30 minutes earlier or go to bed 30 minutes later. Or spend 30 less minutes doing something during the day. This program is as simplified and streamlined as possible. The rest is up to you.




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