Are you the type to get to the gym and wander around for 15 minutes before deciding to hit the stairmaster? Well that is just not efficient! Read on for five tips to stop wasting your precious gym-time and learn how to make your workouts more efficient.
1. Make a Plan (& have a backup): Before you get to the gym, think about your workout. All it takes is a couple of minutes, perhaps on the walk to the gym, to think about what want to accomplish. By planning ahead you won’t waste your limited gym time deciding what to do. Your plan should be specific. Don’t just think “ok, I’ll run then I’ll do some conditioning.” Instead think about the details; here’s a sample for a 45-minute workout:
30 minutes on the treadmill made up of a 5 minute warm up jog followed by speed intervals, 1 minute sprint and 3 minute jog (completed 5 times) then a 5 minute cool down jog. Next, 10 minutes of ab exercises and 5 minutes of stretching.
Come up with a few routines and rotate them throughout the week. Instead of spending your time at the gym thinking about a plan, go in with direction and you will make the most of every minute. If you get to the gym and all the treadmills are taken, have a back up plan in mind (or reverse your original plan- start with ab work followed by running when a treadmill opens up).
2. Use Every Second: There are so many times that I get to the gym early for a spin class and see members sitting on the couches in the lobby waiting for their class to start, while others spend 15 minutes in the locker room getting their pony-tail cute & bouncy. I’m not suggesting that you should look like a bum at the gym, but throw your hair up, toss on your gym clothes and get out of the locker room. Instead of sitting around or primping for your workout, use that time for a little bonus work. It can be as simple as 10 pushups or a 1 mile run on the treadmill, but whatever it is, it’s an added calorie burn.
3. Write it Down: At the end of your workout take note of what you did. This will help you figure out what your net workout should be. On Monday note that you ran so on Tuesday you can focus on weights. It’s also important to remember what weights you are using and how many repetitions you completed. During your next visit at the gym you’ll know to push yourself beyond that level. Continue to up your reps and/or your weights to see improvements over time. If you don’t challenge yourself to extra reps or a a couple of added pounds, your strength will never improve.
4. Stay Focused: I know working out with friends can be fun and companion workouts can get you to the gym more often, but make sure you aren’t chatting away your workout time. If you’re going with a friend, save the chit-chat for your stretch time or the walk home. While you’re at the gym focus on why you’re there. To really bond over your workout, look up a couple of partner workouts to help push each other. While doing this, make sure you don’t stray into the latest gossip when you should be counting reps.
5. Work Hard: It’s a big misconception that you need a lot of time at the gym to get results. Truthfully, if you’re working out correctly all you need is about 20 minutes of intense fitness to see results and benefit from the workout. Instead of running at a steady pace on the treadmill for an hour, challenge yourself to a shorter run made up of sprints or increased incline (or both!) intervals. You’ll feel the burn much faster as your heart rate accelerates during interval training.
Follow these tips and your time at the gym will be quick and productive!
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