We understand that working out can’t always be your first priority. Some weeks even making it to the gym once or twice feels like a huge achievement—and that’s totally alright, according to trainer, fitness model, and Instagram influencer Kirsty Godso. In fact, she says there are a few things you can do to really make the most of a short strength-based workout—whether you only have 15 minutes in the weights room, or only managed to squeeze in a couple of sessions this week. Ahead, Godso dishes on exactly how often you need to train, what you should be doing, and more weight training tips to get the most out of your next sweat session.
Train twice a week and see results in less than a month.
“Weight training requires a little more patience but it’s worth it! If you’re sticking to a program and getting in two-to-three sessions per week (providing you’re making efforts in the nutrition department also) you will usually notice a difference in three-to-four weeks. One of the beautiful things about weight training is if you commit to it, it will commit to you. It can transform your body both performance and appearance wise much more effectively than other types of training. Try and find performance goals to work away at to keep you mentally engaged in your training and this is also a great way to track your progress!”
Training two or three times a week won’t make you bulky.
“Training with weights can be intimidating for women but it really shouldn’t be. Incorporating weight training into your regime helps you to build lean muscle which will not only make you feel and look good but the more lean muscle you hold, the more calories your body burns at a resting rate. Calories and aesthetics aside, this can help generate a much greater energy release in your body and it’s a very empowering type of training. You definitely feel a difference in your body as you get stronger. Weight training will also help you improve in other areas of your fitness. For example, if you’re a runner, you will notice that you have a lot more power in your legs and you can hold your body more upright.”
Do a this warmup to avoid injury.
“You want to warm your body up for the exercises you’ll be doing. This can involve a dynamic warmup to begin with and then your first set should be done at approximately 60 percent of the weight you will be using. You want to make sure you warm your body up sufficiently so that you’re primed and ready to go without risking injury.
You don’t need to have a “legs day.”
“You don’t have to section your weights workouts into body parts such as upper body or legs day etc., but do be sure to include a good mix of movement patterns such as squats, lunges, push, pull, hinge and rotation work. You also want to try and incorporate different planes of movement to make sure you’re training your body to function in all directions.”
Recover between sets.
“Factor in appropriate rest time for the work you’re doing. Recovery between sets is essential with weight training so that you come into each set with refreshed energy. A trainer can help you plan this into your schedule.”
Change your regimen every month.
“Session plans can look different each time and can vary in the number of exercises and total duration. You can even play around with intensity levels. If you’re working towards a goal, try not to do a random different mix of exercises every tine. You will experience more benefits if you follow more of a structured plan for four-to-six weeks then switch it up.
As little as 15 minutes in the weights room can make a difference.
“Some time is better than no time at all! You can do a highly effective workout in a very short amount of time. Focus on form and trying to hit full range in your exercises to get maximum benefits and add in some speed and higher intensity work also to pull the heart rate up. An easy format to follow is to pick five exercises and make a mini circuit that you can repeat a few times depending on how much time you have. For example if you only have 15 minutes to workout you could do a simple and effective bodyweight circuit such as:
1. Single Leg Squat to Push-up (alternating)
2. Bear Crawl (Forward and Back)
3. Lateral Shuffle to Squat Jump
4. Mountain Climbers
5. Plank Saw (on forearms)
Do each exercise for 45 seconds with 15 seconds rest in between. Repeat three-to-four times.”
You can take a couple of weeks off training without losing those hard-earned results.
“Sometimes a vacation is what our body needs. Rest and recovery often gets demonized but in moderation it’s great for your body. It gives you time to reset so that you can come back into your workouts with some extra pop! You can still stay active on vacation by moving around and doing activities. Our muscle memory is pretty good so you shouldn’t decline too much in your strength gains in the gym if you have a couple of weeks out. You may notice some extra soreness at first when you go back but you’ll be back in the swing of it in no time.”