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Forget about Weights, Reps and Sets Before Mastering the Stopwatch

Let me take you through my last workout. It’s a new kind – not exactly like how I describe it in my Skinny to Muscle Guide. Well, yes the main principles are the same – BUT! The new thing that I’m super excited about using is… A STOPWATCH! Or.. Actually it’s an app called Interval Timer, but it serves the same purpose; keeping track of the time spent on rests and sets.   interval-timer   It’s ALL about intensity, so you can forget about how much weight you are using, if you don’t have your intensity down yet.  

Celebrities use Stopwatches in their Training

I got the idea from a great guy named Duffy Gaver – a so-called celebrity trainer – who said that his STOPWATCH was his number one new thing, he’d bring to a workout.     At 05:00, Duffy Gaver talks about the stopwatch and why he is such a big believer in bringing a timer to all his workouts.   duffy-gaver  

Bringing a stopwatch to a workout is probably my favorite new thing – and how it can change any workout by putting that on it.

  Hence, the single best workout equipment is not clothes, gloves, bands, supplements or anything like that.   It’s a timer.  

Please welcome the Interval Timer!

The app I’m using is called Interval Timer – download it here – and it’s the best. A very simple app that does exactly what it’s supposed to.   interval-timer-app   Instead of just describing how it works or why it makes good sense scientifically, I’d rather take you through my last workout – in order to give you a better understanding of how and why I use it.  

Time for a TIMED workout!

It’s 7 in the evening, and I’m running through the wet darkness in the Copenhagen winter. It’s a 2 kilometer run down to Fitness World, and it takes me from lazy and tired to ready and warm.   Beeping myself in, binge drinking an energy drink and throwing my running jacket in a locker – ready for action!   I turn up my Plantronics BackBeat Fit Bluetooth Headphones; playing Recondite’s most popular tracks on Soundcloud – perfect for today’s ‘Push’-session; chest, triceps, shoulders, core.         Walking up the stairs to the Free Weights room, I fiddle with my iPhone, trying to unlock it with Touch id, but it doesn’t work. Four digits later, I search for ‘int’ and open up Interval Timer. It’s preset and ready to go!  

BUT – I want to just briefly say what these presets are. In my case, I’ve chosen

  • 5 sets of 30 seconds work followed by
  • 1 minute of rest.

You can set the different WORK and REST intervals yourself – and also the number of rounds in a session. In my case, it’s 5 sets.


Back to the workout session!

I’m throwing some plates on a barbell and get in position for the bench press.   Before laying down in position, I tap the START button on the Interval Timer. 10, 9, 8.. countdown to the first set.   I throw myself down on my back when I have 5 seconds left before the first rep. Lift the bar out of the rag and start pushing the weight from me.   I try to aim for a rep range of about 10-15. It’s really not that important for me; as long as I push myself to a point very close to failure.   After 11-12 reps, I look down at the timer, which turns from green to red; STOP. And rest for a minute, until the screen turns green again; GO!   What this does is that it keeps my pulse high, my sets are super intense because of the short rests between sets. And it allows me to get SO much more done while being in the gym.   It saves me all time of staring at nothing, maybe at girls, checking my phone, thinking about tomorrow. No, having a timer set for each set and rest makes my workout super efficient and focused. It’s GREAT.  

How to get started

No magic here – just get the app Interval Timer, set up your intervals as you like them and get to work. For inspiration, you can try my settings of 10 seconds countdown, 30 seconds work (x4), 1 minute rest (x4) and 30 seconds of cool-down (which I use as a last set).   You can listen to music while using the app – it only makes a sound when you reach the “Session completed” message.   Try using the Interval Timer a few times and get used to having a timer set on your sets and rests. May sound annoying to some, but you’ll eventually get to love this thing.   You can get much more work down in an hour than you normally would, because the only waste of time you have is in between exercises.   So that’s your only job really; be efficient when going from one exercise to the next. Best is it to have a plan from the start, so you know where to go after your down with the Bench Press etc.  

Why Interval Timer is TALLSOME!

I am a tall and skinny guy wanting to gain weight. If you are like me, you need focused workouts with high intensity, and then you need to get out of the gym.   For us, there is no point in hanging around for hours – because we go catabolic and break down muscle instead of building it.   Get in, get to work, and get out. Go home and drink a protein shake and have some healthy food.  


What I eat every morning; protein shake, multivitamin, fish oil and magnesium.

  The Interval Timer helps us with being focused and keeping intensity high in the gym. 5-6 rounds of 5 sets is a good session, and it doesn’t have to take more than 45 minutes to complete.   rued-after-workoutWhen I’m done with an intense workout like that, my body feels great and I can just feel how right that workout was. Go try it yourself – it’s amazing.   Check out the app Interval Timer for iPhone – maybe also for Android.       Let me know in the comments what workout gear you treasure the most!

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