Weight Training for a Busy Professional

Weight training at 35 is the best thing you can do for your future self. As a daily weight trainer in my fifties and a busy professional, my weight training routine demands that I create time to ensure I maintain the standards I set for myself.

Fitness and strength are qualities that are important to me. Being healthier, stronger and fitter helps me with every aspect of my life. Everything I did at 35 impacted who I am in my fifties. Career choices, family and health.

Part of my motivation for writing this blog is to communicate authentically to people around my own age, but I also want to let those dedicated younger people who are perhaps in their mid thirties, building their careers, potentially raising families or running companies, and making time to keep in shape, it will be worth it.

I also want to speak directly to people looking for gyms in the South Perth and Victoria Park area, and let you know we’d love you to come over and check out ours. If you find yourself searching for a ‘gym near me’, we pride ourselves on being the cleanest and friendliest gym in the area. We have a dedicated team of personal trainers and staff ready to help you take some control of your body and get as healthy and strong as you can.

This is what working out at 50 looks like for me, and how it fits into and improves my busy daily life. I would love to see what weight training looks like for you, and please share any tips if you have some.
“I don’t have time,” is the potted response for every professional who wants to start a new fitness regime. Taking control of our time enables us to be more functional people with our families and workplaces. Whatever time of day works for you and your body, lock it in and don’t miss it. Finding a 24/7 gym near your home or workplace makes finding that time easier.

Some people find training before work in the AM makes them primed for the day, while others feel the strongest and most energetic in the PM. My training session happens in the evening–around 5.30-6.30PM on my way home from work.

(Tip: if this time also works for you, do not go home first. Once you’re home it’s twice as hard to get dressed and go back out again, and you’ll miss the window of time you’ve set aside for the gym.)
If you’re coming back to the gym or weight training for the first time, go slow and lift light weights. I learned the hard way that if I didn’t want to risk injury my days of lifting PBs (maximum single rep lifts) were over.

The “good” pain you’ll feel from weight lifting comes the next day, leaving the muscle group you trained feeling uncomfortably sore as the muscles repair and grow. Torn muscles and tendon pain can be serious injury and will set you back, so never keep training on that feeling.

A few sessions with a personal trainer can set you up on correct techniques and the best style of training to meet your goals. Youtube and your local gym staff also contain a plethora of great advice and training tips if a PT is too much for your budget. Keep an eye out for our regular promotions including free trials and free personal trainer sessions.  

With steady increments and good technique you’ll be surprised at how fast you gain strength and endurance. Building your workout is a matter of finding that time, listening to your body and figuring out what works for you. You can mix it up with outdoor training, trying different workouts, or personal trainers to find what works best for you.

For instance I choose not to spend my available gym time on cardio training, so I craft my weight sessions to include cardio elements by reducing the rest time between my sets. In most sessions I’ll rest only for the time it takes to walk to the next training set. 

This works especially well if you’re training different body parts, allowing only 15-30 seconds between every set, keeping your heart rate up and bringing a basic level of cardio to every workout. 

Structuring your workout for this allows you to plan what you’re going to do and adjust your reps accordingly. 

My Gym Mantras

Here I’ll run through the routines I use, to show you a base anyone can work from and incorporate into their routines. 

These set types can be applied to almost every muscle group you’re training and can be experimented with to find what works best for you. Remember to mix up your set types from week to week to bring the best results so your muscles don’t get too used to what you’re doing. Once a muscle group adapts to any routine, they stop building muscle, instead maintaining what’s already there. By always changing your routine of set types our muscles never get the chance to fully adapt, thus allowing the muscle to grow further.

Twenty Ones

Especially useful for bicep curls, you start with 7 partial reps at the bottom to half way, then 7 partial reps halfway to the top, then 7 final full reps top to bottom. Total 21 reps.

Slow Mo

Every rep is done in slow motion, up and down. Each rep should take 5-7 seconds up or down. This is a brutal exercise so back off the weight and a spotter to assist you is valuable.

Drop Sets

Load your weight to the point where you can just complete 5 reps. As fast as possible, Remove some weight and do 10 reps with no rest, remove more weight for 15 reps, and finish by removing more weight for the final 20 reps. Total 50 reps.

This can be reversed (referred to as  “uploading”) by starting with light weights for 20 reps, quickly load on more weight so you can just do 15 reps, then 10 reps, and so on until your final 5 reps. Total 50 reps.

Negatives

You’ll need a spotter to help with this exercise. Load your weights with more than you can usually lift, and ask your spotter to help raise the weight, then without assistance, you slow the weight’s decline to the bottom. With the spotter raise it again and repeat the exercise until you’re resisting almost nothing and the weight falls quickly. 

Pauses

These are especially good for chest presses, but useful for other muscle groups as well. Lift the weight to the point of maximum load (typically this is halfway), then stop and hold it for 5 seconds before lowering it to the bottom, then completing the rep. A spotter is recommended for this exercise. 

Super Sets

These are when you use three different exercises focused on the same muscle group. For example: doing dumbbell curls, preacher curls, and hammer curls in a single set together, with no rest between them. 

Add a fourth exercise to the set to make it a Giant set.

10 Minute Routine

Can also be done in 5 minutes. Using multiple exercises as in the giant and super sets, but do not stop your routine after your first group of sets are “complete”, and instead start again and repeat until your 10 (or 5) minutes expire. You’ll need to reduce the weight after the first one or two times around. A spotter is recommended for this exercise.

Tens

One of my favourite exercises, great for any muscle group but especially for chest presses. I guarantee you’ll be sore the next day! 10 sets of 10 reps with 10 seconds rest between each set. You’ll have to reduce your weights many times. Watch the clock for the 10 seconds only between sets, and don’t rest between any of the reps 1 to 10.

ANDREW FORD

XS Fitness Owner

Busy professional weight training
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