Batched Training: Get more from a lot less

by Drew Price on June 12, 2008
in Uncategorized

Many of you interested in lifestyle redesign, efficient and effective working techniques and the like will have heard about ‘batching’. In a nutshell it is the process of saving a load of similar tasks up to do at the same time with the aim of decreasing the amount time wasted switching between different tasks. It works incredibly for email, filing, sending post, food shopping (more on this is the ‘Batching your diet’ post) and is a powerful ‘lifehack’, is there any way to employ this trick with health and fitness though?

Recently I have been working with more and more ‘time poor’ people and seeing as it’s so useful elsewhere you have to ask yourself ‘can bathcing work for training and gym time?’

I think it can but you have to think about the structure of your training, how you support this training with diet and also think about how to would change the format dependent upon goals and fitness levels

Now before we go on this is aimed at those go really just go to the gym to train, if you play sports then you can use the fact that you condition yourself whilst competing meaning that you really just need to the fill the gaps with properly structured strength work (supported by good diet!) every 2-4 days, this is what Tim Ferris (author of 4-Hour Workweek or the 4HWW) did with quite spectacular results here

The advantages of Batched Training

Let’s face it, getting to the gym, changing twice, showering and getting back is time consuming, by batching your training you are going to save a lot of time through the week and also free up whole evenings, mornings or lunch hours for other things be it socializing or ‘personal admin’.

Another advantage is it will force you to focus on the really important things that count, meaning you loose the junk exercises, and shake up your training.

In summary

  1. Decreased traveling time
  2. Decreased traveling expense (and pollution)
  3. Decreased time spent warming up
  4. Increased training density (the amount of work in a short time)
  5. Freeing up whole days where no evening is used up or no kit needs to be carried
  6. Allowing longer for recovery periods
  7. Fits between sports activity more easily
  8. Decreased duration needed for steady state cardio

shall I go on?…..

OK so time saved and better quality training blah blah blah, but there must be a catch?….

Possible problems and pitfalls

OK so we all know that you can’t spend hours in the gym doing quality training, if you’re training hard there simply isn’t the energy so ‘saving up’ workouts and doing them side by side isn’t going going to cut it.

Also you are going to have to accept that these batched training sessions are going to be hard work, however as discussed above this is probably an advantage – the more effort yo put in, even just in short bouts, the better your results will be.

Structures and batching by goals

There are certain types of exercise you want to look at when putting together a structure for these sessions; they are the training methods you will employ to increase fitness and better your physique they are (with components of fitness in breackets)

  • weights (strength power etc)
  • cardio (cardiovascular health)
  • lactatate/metabolic work (metabolic conditioning, strength endurance, also corodination)
  • prehab and mobility/flexibility (range of motion, flexibility, muscle and joint health etc)

You have to put all these things in the right order to allow for management of fatigue and to et the most out of each type of exercise, through a lot of experimentation (on myself and others) I have found his to be the following

The basic template

  1. Warm-up:
  2. High intensity weights:25 to 40 mins
  3. Metabolic training#
  4. Weights two (if needed)
  5. Longer duration steady state cardio.
  6. Warm-down:

If you compare the average time invested every week for someone looking to get a lean muscular physique it may look like this

  • Monday: Weights: 1hour
  • Tuesday: Metabolic type conditioning: 25mins
  • Wednesday: Weights and steady state cardiovascular training: 40 mins
  • Thursday: rest.
  • Friday: Weights: 1 hour
  • Sunday: Steady state cardiovascular training: 40 mins

Total time invested: 5 hours 50 (including training plus 25 mins changing traveling each time)

Compare this to the batched method

  • Monday: Batch one: 1 hour 15mins
  • Tuesday: off
  • Wednesday: off
  • Thursday: Batch two: 1 hour
  • Friday: off
  • Sunday: off

Total time invested: 3hour 5 mins (including training plus 25 mins changing traveling each time)

Time saved per week 2 hours 45 mins, that’s 143 hours a year or almost 1 week!

In part two I’ll go into the batches used in the above example, how to change the plan up for different goals and we’ll also look at how to fuel these sessions


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