How can I make time for my training?
We all know as Equestrians that time is one of the biggest problems & barriers we face in our daily life. There is never enough time to get all the things we want & need to get done in the day on the yard, with the horses never mind trying to fit in 8-9 hours of work & make some time for family & friends but ultimately time is one of the best excuses you can use.
Yes, especially at this time of year it is a fighting game to fit in everything but at the end of the day there is no less hours or time in each day than 6 months ago so why are you blaming the winter or lack of daylight for your decline in progress or giving up your workout routine?
We see lots of riders or maybe friends on IG & FB telling us how they spend an hour or 2 in the gym 4 or 5 times a week & many of us will see that & think straight away;
“Pffft I haven't got time to be training for that long every day”
But you don’t HAVE to train for that length of time. There is no right or wrong approach when it comes to training & getting progression with your strength & fitness. There’s no best time to be training for or best workout to be doing so it’s important to remember that if you only have 30 minutes to give to your training 3 times per week then you can still get alot done in that time & get results.
One of my online coaching clients said when we first started coaching together she was terrified I was going to have her training 6 days a week for 1-2 hours each day as that’s what she’d experienced before working with other trainers in-person & online but the difference here is I GET IT.
I’m just the same as you. I wake up at 6/6.30am each morning, go out muck out, if there is enough light ride then I scoot to the office as fast as possible do as much work as I can & then fit in the gym 4 or 5 times a week for an hour or so where I can make time for it. At the moment to get a hack in safely in the daylight this means training in the evenings or after work which is NOT my preference but at the end of the day I need to be adaptable & I’d far rather train than not at all.
From a strength point of view progression & getting gains comes from the total amount of work done across the week of training. Muscle growth happens when you expose the muscle to enough of a stimulus, it’s recommended that’s somewhere between 18-24 sets per muscle group per week. So it’s not that you should be training for X amount of time but focusing on, ok I need to get X amount of work done across this week, how is it going to work best for my time & week splitting the sessions up?
Then from here, you build your week of training. Aerobic improvements again come from increasing your speed or the amount of work/distance you’re able to cover during a session. So if you want to improve your running which will absolutely benefit your riding performance you don’t need to be adding miles to each run every week. You could go further but if time is an issue focus on increasing your speed during that run or adding in some hill work or tempo so you start to build your running strength & speed which in turn will help you when it comes to increasing the distance.
So my top tips on how to make time for your training each week;
1; It Depends
I know that’s an irritating answer but it’s true. It depends on what your goals are. Do you want to focus on building muscle & strength or do you want to improve your stamina? Being clear on this is important as the goal dictates the volume of work you’ll need to be doing on a weekly basis from both your resistance sessions & any CV work.
If you want to improve your deadlift PB then you’d need to be working at 80-90% of your 1 rep maximum doing between 4-6 sets versus someone who wants to be stronger in their lower body, they then would be focusing on lighter weights using higher reps for fewer sets such as 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps with less rest between so, therefore, it would take less time to train
2; Focus on YOU not what Sally does
Just because Sally next door does pilates 3 times a week & hits the gym 5 times a week for 90 minutes each session doesn’t mean that is right for you. Don’t compare yourself or your programme to others. As long as your structure works for you & is giving you the results you are looking for then that is what matters. Remember there is NO one right way to train. We all do things slightly differently with our horses & the same applies here.
3; Be realistic with the time you have
The best way to cause yourself failures or disappointment is to expect too much of yourself or put too much on your plate. If you can only fit in say 3 sessions spending 30-40 minutes in the gym each week or at home then you would be far better to commit to 3 structured sessions rather than trying to fit in say 5 sessions a week haphazardly & not being able to stick to it.
One of my clients runs 2 businesses, her family run a livery yard & she has children to look after. She was finding 40-minute sessions were just not working for her so now we focus on training 2 times a week for 20 minutes. Those sessions are hard work & at a higher intensity as we have less time but ultimately it works for her lifestyle & the time she has & is giving her results!
4; Block out your training in your calendar
Just like you would a work meeting or appointment or a lesson write your training in your diary or google calendar at the start of the week. Obviously, things change now & again but be really strict with yourself on holding that appointment. If you have clear intentions & a plan of when you’re doing what you’ll find you’re far more likely to get it done rather than saying ah I’ll see what I’m doing later today.
Be serious with your training & treat it just like you would a meeting or conference call. After all, it’s a meeting to improve your health & wellness so it should be treated as a priority & given respect by showing up & not allowing yourself to book in something else at that time.
5; Work with yourself; Home or Gym?!
If you know you don’t have time to get to a gym or driving to your local gym takes an hour for the round trip then make things easier for yourself! Covid-19 has shown us all that we can keep ourselves training & do plenty from home & still make progress. You don’t need much kit but equally, if you’re willing to spend say £80 on some bands, a KB or a couple of DB’s you’ll find you’ve got plenty of kit to work with & progress will follow.
If it saves you an hour & also money on membership then put that money & time back into your home training.
This is a great option too if you’ve got kids or only space to train at the yard as then you can work around your day & get it done when suits you! Many of my girls train in the evenings once the kids are in bed & they can have peace & quiet but still keep an eye on their children
5; Make the time
Unless you make an effort to actually make the time you’re never going to commit to training. We only have so many hours in the day absolutely but equally, it’s up to you how you use those 24 hours & if we’re all honest with ourselves much of that time is wasted. What are your priorities?
If you’re serious about increasing your strength or losing weight then your actions need to match up with the behaviours you need to take to get you to that place. So this means making your training or nutrition a priority & in order to do that you have to make time.
I hear you saying I don’t have time but you do. At the end of the day, we’re all busy but it’s up to you whether you spend that 40 minutes watching Netflix or get a session done. Think about where maybe you could gain time back. It won’t happen unless you make it.
6; If you’re unsure of how to make use of a short time for training then get some help
Work with a coach or trainer. Tell them your goals & that you can only give say 25 minutes 4 times a week. If you’re not sure how you can get your training into this time or the right things to do then work with a coach for a month or so, let them show you the ropes, get them to help build a programme for you then go do it yourself. That’s the best way to learn
7; Make sure you enjoy your training
Like anything in life if it’s fun & you enjoy it you’re far more likely to stick to it. Make sure what you are doing you enjoy then you’ll be way more inclined to make sure you do make time for your training.
8; Train early in the morning
If you know your days tend to disappear or unravel then wake up early & get it done early doors. You’ll probably find it far more enjoyable to do it early doors when the world is still asleep, no one is hounding you or distracting you & you’re not thinking, shit I need to be here in 20 minutes. It’s a great way to start the day too
It’s not easy to fit in training & make time for it around everything else going on in your life but I think it’s important to think about all the above & ultimately you wouldn’t let your horse stand in the box all day & do nothing so why would you accept that for your own body?
Let’s just serious-eliminate any wasted time, find a programme that works for you & let’s get you all riding strong!
P.s If you’re struggling to get yourself into a routine & need help with your coaching then I have now opened a Wait List for 2022. Please add yourself onto the wait list & I’ll be in touch in the New Year-JOIN THE WAIT LIST HERE