It seems as though most people feel like they need to spend an hour or two at the gym 7 days a week in order to get any real results. Well this simply is not true. The real problem is that people don’t know how to use their time efficiently in the gym.
This is the biggest problem I see at the gym. People walk around aimlessly doing a one set of an exercise and then spending the next 5 minutes resting or talking with friends before they do another set. No wonder why you can see the same people at the gym every day, but you never notice any changing in their bodies.
I am going to share a few of my training secrets with you so you can use manage your time more efficiently. This way you can spend less time in the gym and more of your time doing the things that you enjoy. The best part is that you will burn more fat, lose more weight, and get some serious results in less time.
When it comes to using your time in the gym efficiently the two main factors are the intensity of your workout and having a solid workout plan.
Here are a few tips to get you started
1. Get yourself started on a workout program. Have a plan of what you are going to do before you get to the gym. Having a plan will eliminate wasted time. If you know exactly what you’re doing for your workout, it easier to focus on what you have to do to get it done.
2. Get away from the crowd. When I am training clients or working out myself, I always find an area away from the crowd. A place where I can bring all of the equipment that I will need for the workout. This way you don’t have to wait for other people and you can move from one exercise to the next very quickly.
3. Work out with a purpose in mind. It is important that you keep in mind what your goals are and focus on putting all of your energy in to each and every workout. Look at every set and reps as taking another step toward getting closer to your goals. This will help motivate and inspire you to get more out of your workouts.
4. Make sure that you are using weight that are challenging. Get rid of your little pink weights, they are not going to help you build lean muscle and burn fat. In order to get stronger you must overload the muscles and give them more work than what they are use to.
For example if you are doing an exercise were you trying to get 10 reps, you should only be able to do 10 and no more. If you can do more than 10 reps you need to increase the weight because is to light and you are not challenging the muscles enough to get any real changes.
You have to push yourself in order to get results!
5. Use your time efficiently by pairing your exercises together and move from one exercise to the next. There are a few different ways to do this. My two favorite ways are circuit training and pairing two or three exercises together. This way I can move from one exercise to the next with a built in rest period. I am able to get through my workouts quickly because there is very little time is wasted in between.
When circuit training I will often use choose 6 to 8 exercises. I quickly go from one exercise to the next until I complete the entire circuit. Then I take a short rest at the end before repeating.
When pairing exercises I will pair two or three exercise together. I will often pair a pushing, pulling, and an ab exercise together. Sometimes I will pair an upper body exercise with a lower body exercise.
6. Reduce your rest time between sets. One of the best ways to increase your intensity is to limit your rest time between sets. This is a great way to keep your heart rate elevated and it helps to crank up your metabolism. I use a stop watch to monitor my rest time. I usually only give myself one minute or less in between sets when I am training. Sometimes I will even jump rope in between set as an active rest period.
7. Instead of wasting your time walking on the treadmill for an hour, start interval training. By using interval training you will be able to burn the same amount of calories, if not more in half of the time. Interval training is short period of a high intensity activity followed by a short active recovery period.
For example you will run a sprint at an 8 mph pace on the treadmill for 30sec. immediately after finishing the sprint you would decrease the speed to 3.5mph and walk for 30secs as an active recovery period. After 30 sec you would increase the speed back to 8mph and repeat.
If you can’t sprint you can jog at a slow pace then walk for your recovery. Another way is to power walk on an incline then decrease the incline and walk at a slower pace as a recovery. The goal is to push yourself to get better every day.
8. Keep a workout journal. Write down your workout. Include the sets, reps, weights, and rest time. It is also a good idea to write down how you felt during the workout.
You should already be keeping a food journal so it should not be a problem to for you to keep a workout journal as well. I often recommend keeping both the food log and workout log in the same book. This way all of your information is in the same place and it is easy to look back and assess your results.
Another reason why you should keep a journal is so that you can look back at what you did in your previous workout and know exactly what you did and how you felt. This will help you push yourself to do a little better every time you workout. The goal is to get a little better everyday.
There are my 8 tips to help you use your time in the gym more efficiently.
Now it is up to you to start putting them into effect and start getting some real results!
By Benjamin Petitpas, CSCS, CPT
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