According to a Men’s Health survey, the number one reason for not working out is “not enough time.” I would argue that most of the people who gave this response just don’t know how to be efficient and productive in the weight room. If you spend a lot of time chatting, flirting, reading, waiting, and flexing, you’re wasting your time — and wasting your workouts.
Here are some strategies to help you be more efficient and productive at the gym:
- Have a plan. Don’t “wing it.” Create a written itinerary and maintain a workout chart. Keep track of your exercises, weight, reps, sets, and rest intervals.
- Don’t let socializing interrupt your workout. Stay on task. If you absolutely must, chitchat for a few minutes when you arrive and before you leave.
- Stay focused on your workout. I realize there may be plenty of distractions. Don’t get caught up watching the “scenery” at the gym.
- Be purposeful with your warmup. A dynamic warmup (movement prep) only takes a few minutes, prepares your nervous system for activity, and builds strength, stability, and flexibility.
- Don’t rest so much. Try doing supersets — performing one movement after another without rest (for example, after a set of bench presses, move directly to a set of dumbbell rows). Then rest briefly and repeat the superset. Since each exercise works opposing muscles or movements (pushing versus pulling in this case), you won’t tire as quickly and can spend less time resting between sets.
- Don’t spend a lot of time waiting for equipment to become available. Grab a pair of dumbbells, medicine ball, kettlebell, etc. and be productive while you wait, or substitute another exercise with a similar movement.
- Try high-intensity intervals. Instead of a slow, steady, low-intensity aerobic workout, pick up the pace every 30-60 seconds. Raising your intensity by just 15-20% will double the calories burned and cut your workout time in half.
- Skip the isolation exercises, like bicep curls and crunches. They provide a very low return on investment. Try combination moves, like the dumbbell lunge to curl to overhead press. The most basic compound movements — squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, push-ups, and rows — are often the most effective.
Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!