Try Workout Stacking When You're Lacking Motivation To Make It To The Gym

Finding the motivation to exercise isn't always easy, especially on those busy days when it feels like you barely have time to breathe. In fact, about 90% of people who join a gym will quit within three months or so, according to LifeHack. However, contrary to popular belief, exercise doesn't have to be all or nothing, and unless you're a pro athlete, no one expects you to be out there hitting the gym every day.

With some planning, you can keep your motivation to work out strong no matter how busy life gets. One option is to stack shorter workouts so you can get the most out of your training time. For example, you could run on the treadmill for 10 to 15 minutes, do a few sets of push-ups and lunges, and finish with a quick stretching session. This approach allows you to check all the boxes without spending hours in the gym. Better yet, mix and match these short at-home workouts to get your heart rate up and build strength while watching your favorite movie or TV series.

Squeeze more exercise into your day with workout stacking

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic training and two hours of strength training per week. As the researchers note, it's perfectly fine to break your workouts into short sessions, even if that means exercising for just 30 minutes per day. In a 2001 study, women who exercised for 10 minutes three times a day had similar improvements in aerobic fitness and body weight as those training for 30 minutes in one sitting, reports the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

Based on this premise, there's nothing wrong with splitting your workouts into smaller chunks when your motivation runs out. But you can go one step further and stack multiple short workouts to build up your strength, endurance, and stamina — all in one session. This approach eliminates the need to follow a specific training program, giving you more time and freedom. For example, you can mix and match your favorite exercises from different workout styles, such as Pilates, weight training, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to create a custom fitness routine.

A typical workout takes at least 50 minutes to complete, depending on the muscles targeted. Plus, you may also want to add some cardio to the mix. With workout stacking, you can get a full-body workout — including cardio — in less than 30 minutes. This will not only free up your time but also keep things fresh and boost your motivation. 

How to stack your workouts for optimal results

Workout stacking is all about combining your go-to exercises in a way that fits your schedule and training goals. Let's say you're a fan of the Les Mills at-home fitness program, but you also love yoga. What you can do is pick your favorite exercises from each workout style based on how much free time you have, which muscles you want to target, and whether or not you want to do cardio.

For example, you can combine 10 minutes of Tabata or HIIT with 15 minutes of yoga to get a good stretch and break a sweat. Alternatively, focus on one or two muscle groups, such as your legs and abs. Perform three sets of squats, three sets of lunges, and two core exercises. Finish with a five-minute stretch if the time allows for it. For a full-body workout, complete two or three sets of burpees, step-ups, wood chops, and jumping jacks. Remember to warm up and cool down, no matter what your training routine looks like.

All in all, workout stacking isn't too different from circuit training. The advantage is that it offers greater flexibility and takes less time. While it's true that circuit training can take as little as 30 minutes, it uses timed intervals and must be completed at a fast pace. Additionally, most programs require moving from one exercise to another with no rest in between. That's not the case with workout stacking, which gives you complete freedom.