The FML Workout: The Ultimate Time-Crunched Workout

how to build muscleI was an invisible man.  Standing there looking back at me in the mirror was a ghost – a sweat-drenched, oxygen deficient ghost.  With every breath my mind was leaving my body.  How did I let myself get into this position? 

Why was I so stupid?

You see, this was five years ago.  If it was today, the only image in my head would have been, “FML”.  Either way, the only words I could manage to stutter were, “I never want to do that workout again”.

Why I Did the FML Workout…

It was exam time and I was in my first year of university.  I wanted to ace those babies, but I also didn’t want to skip my workout.  I scheduled my workout for 5pm; two hours before my exam.  I texted my workout partner, Marc, and told him that we were going to do our usual full body workout, but we were to add a twist: no rest periods.

Marc should have replied back with, “FML”.  Instead, he wrote, “Let’s do it”.

That was our first mistake.

Since I only had two hours until my exam, I knew I needed to fit in a workout, shower, and a big meal.  I’ve always had a rule: Do not skip workouts during exam period.  The reason behind this is that when you exercise, your mind stays fresh.  When your mind is fresh, you will do better on exams.

Knowing this, I calculated that if we removed the rest periods, I would have just enough time to get in a kick ass workout and make my exam; formulating a fresh mind in the process.

The FML Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1A: Hang Clean 5 4
1B: DB Bench Press 5 6
1C: Front Squat 5 6
1D: Single Arm Row 5 6 (each arm)
1E: Plank 5 30 seconds

Marc and I performed the workout above with no rest (this was our second mistake).  For the Hang Cleans, we used our 6RM, and for the rest of the exercises, we used our 8RM weight.  We blasted through the exercises in circuit fashion.  Maybe this is what Curves feels like.  Actually, probably not.

We pushed each other so hard that by our third set of Single Arm Rows, I thought I was going to hurl my breakfast, lunch, and last night’s dinner.  By the fifth and final set, we were only busting out 2 to 3 reps on some exercises.

Never have I ever felt a synthesis of pain and fatigue like I did that day.  At least I made it to my exam.

Shedding Fat, Building Muscle, and Strength?

The exam period lasted two weeks.  Marc and I continued to do our workouts in this style for the remainder of exams.  The weird thing is, we were stronger by the end than we were before exams.  On top of this, we were both feeling shredded, with visibly pumped up muscles.

After further research, I found out that we were doing a style of density training.  The real key to density training is that if you’re not asking yourself “why am I doing this workout?”, then you’re probably not working hard enough.

If you’re not asking yourself “why am I doing this workout?”, then you’re probably not working hard enough. – Tweet This Quote

Marc and I both asked ourselves this question for two weeks straight.  So did the ghost staring back at me in the mirror.

If you’re crunched for time, try the workout above.  It only takes 20 minutes.

My philosophy has always been: a little exercise is better than no exercise at all.  After all, if you’re already there, you might was well go balls to the wall and make every minute count.

The clock is ticking…