No time?! Doesn’t matter…train BIG, not long.

I’m time poor.

I’m also a first time father of a seven month old son, William. There’s a direct correlation between those two facts.

But all parents will know and affirm that this is the best experience on earth. Quite literally, the best.

However, this is a peculiar paradox when you consider that all the things you valued up until this point (time, money, relationships, relaxation, sleep, fitness, etc) essentially all deteriorate to some degree during this time.

If you use the PCSV (Pre-Child Scale of Value…yes, I just made it up) on your life post-child, your life should be way worse. The oxymoron is, it’s way better.

Now, casting aside a reflection on the phenomenal philosophical, theological and physiological factors that might underpin this value overhaul, the reality is, the things that used to be highest on your priority list have shifted…


As a former bodybuilder, training six days a week for 90-120 minutes at a time was not uncommon. Nowadays, I celebrate when I get to train for half an hour three days a week. Seriously, that’s a huge win.

My time has gone, but valuing my fitness (and physique, AKA, ‘Dad-bod’ avoidance) still has its place, and it should always have its place in our lives, regardless of this time depreciation. The thing is, half an hour, three times a week MIGHT BE ALL YOU NEED!

Again, remember the background I’m coming from…lots of volume, hours of training, every day…I was never a proponent of succinct workouts. That is until I had to be (thanks William!).

But now that I have to train concisely, turns out, maybe that’s all we need to be doing.

How do you do this?

BIG MOVEMENTS! That is, 90% of your 30-minute session MUST BE compound movements (‘big’ movements) that use a heap of muscle and therefore demand massive calorie consumption to fuel this muscle. Exercise that require multiple joint actions. Isolation exercsies…no. Forget your curls. Do a Chin Up or a Barbell Curl instead. Leg extenstions? Stop it, don’t be ridiculous.

Squat. Deadlift. Keep it BIG!

It’s true that bigger is better. And the more muscle you use, not only do you demand more calories during the workout, but the greater the metabolic demand simply trying to recover and resynthesise after your workout.

And yes, your rehab and prehab movements are all important too, and of course, SMR foam rolling is all good…yes, yes, sure, but listen, you do these in front NETFLIX when your kid is sleeping. This way you can sip on a glass of Pinot Noir between sets. Don’t waste precious gym time doing these. You turn up at the gym to WORK!

Now, you do get 10% of your workout (3 minutes) to do some isolation work, so hitting some posterior deltoids for some aesthetics, or knocking out some core work can be used in this time. Heck, do some curls if you have to. But you’ve got THREE MINUTES ONLY.

Don’t think you can get this done in three minutes?

You ever done a 180 second set of curls? Didn’t think so. Try it, then tell me 3 minutes isn’t long enough.

The other rule is this – once thirty minutes rolls around, stop. You HAVE to stop. If you still have another set to do, you don’t get to do it. Instead, LEARN from this time management issue, and rest less between sets next time you train. Let the frustration of missing a set fuel your focus to be more efficient next time.

Here’s an example 30 minute workout to try.


A1. Overhead Barbell Push Press 10 x 12

A2. Deadlift 10 x 10

NOTE: Superset these two exercises and do them EMOM style (Every Minute On the Minute). Do a set of Push Presses, which will take approximately 30 seconds, then when the minute rolls around (approximately 30 seconds later) do a set of Deadlifts. Continue this process by starting your next set on every upcoming minute.

This will take exactly 20 minutes, leaving you 10 minutes for the rest of your workout

B1. TRX Row 3 x 10-12

B2. TRX Push Up 3 x 10-12

NOTE: EMOM style again. 6 minutes total.

C. Band Pull Aparts 1 x 50

That’s 30 minutes. You just need to work hard, work fast, and most importantly WORK BIG!


Are you wasting your time in the gym?

A good Geelong Personal Trainer can be hard to come by, but we’ve got ‘em. 40 years collective training, coaching and competitive experience all with tertiary quals, and we’ll work with your goals within your time and life requirements.

30 minutes? Not a problem. We’ve got you covered.