How I Got Fit By Working Out Less

I have consistently worked out for the last six years. During the first three years of my fitness journey, I spent a lot of time experimenting with different types of workouts. I was always under the impression that more was better when it came to working out, so I started dedicating five days a week to the gym.

Though I was seeing some promising results, I was also running into issues. I had far less time for myself and other activities, I was developing nagging injuries and I was never totally satisfied with the results I was getting compared to the amount of time and effort I was putting in.

This led me to experiment with weight lifting in a way that worked my entire body. I condensed my five-day-a-week workout into two full-body workouts. I've been training like this for three years and I love it.

Here are five benefits of switching to full-body weight training:

1. You'll have more time.

The most obvious benefit of switching to full-body weight lifting is more time. With more time, you'll find your life becomes more balanced and less stressed — both of which are just as important as exercising. Also, if you're someone who's adamant about working out a lot, you can use this extra time to expand your fitness horizon by experimenting with other forms like yoga or kettle bells.

2. You'll recover faster.

When you lift weights a lot you begin to notice that certain muscles get used far more often than others. For example, your arms and shoulders are almost always employed for upper body exercises, meaning there's less time for them to recover properly because they're always in use.

By switching to a full-body workout you have to do far fewer times each week, you ensure your entire body is fully recovered by the time you start your next workout.

3. Your risk of injury decreases.

By working out less and reducing the amount of repetitions your body has to endure, you drastically reduce your chances of developing an injury.

4. You'll hit fewer plateaus.

One unexpected advantage of full-body weight lifting I’ve discovered is fewer plateaus. The reason? All you have to do to break a plateau is add an extra day or two between workouts.

As the weight you're able to lift increases, so does the amount of recovery time your body needs. But with a split style workout, it’s hard for your body to get that extra time and you end up plateauing. With full-body weight training, it's easy to add an extra day or two to recover (because you're only working out two or three times a week). As a result, you're able to break through your plateaus easier.

5. You muscles will be more balanced.

Muscle imbalances occur when you're constantly isolating specific muscle groups, or when you over or underwork certain muscle groups. By doing a full-body workout, you're reducing your chances of developing muscle imbalances — all your muscles will be getting the same amount of exercise on the same day.

Guidelines to Help You Put Together a Full Body Weight Lifting Routine.

  • Lift heavier and reduce the amount of sets and repetitions. Try experimenting with three sets of five repetitions.
  • Focus on the main five muscle groups which include leg press or squat, chest press, pull downs, seated row and shoulder press.
  • Try to end every set with muscular failure (when you reach a stalemate with the weight and you hold it until you can’t handle it anymore or your muscles slowly give out).
  • Start off with two days a week and increase the amount of rest days as needed.

Switching to a full-body weight lifting routine has allowed me to build a physique and level of strength that I'm satisfied with while also giving me more time for myself and other activities. If you're someone who has a busy schedule or you're looking to free up more time, try experimenting with full-body weight lifting.

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