If you’re like most people, you work for 8-10 hours per day and sleep for another seven or eight. That leaves you with maybe seven hours of free time each day to handle the long list of other personal responsibilities you have.
The last thing you want to do is spend 25 percent of that free time working out in a gym.
But, alas, you need to exercise to stay healthy.
So, the question becomes: How can you be more efficient and productive with your workouts, so you get in and out of the gym in just an hour or less per day?
8 Tips for More Productive Workouts
Being productive in the gym is about getting more results in less time. This doesn’t mean cutting corners or trying to get a full workout into a 15-minute time block. The goal is to do it right but also do it smart. Here are some tips:
1. Preload With Carbs
As you know, marathon runners often do carb-loading before running a race. But did you know that eating carbs directly before working out and lifting waits could actually have a positive impact on your workout?
More specifically, it gives your body the fuel it needs to perform a high-intensity workout that gets you more results in less time.
2. Have a Plan
Never walk into the gym without a plan. It’s not enough to say it’s “chest day” or “leg day.” You need a clear picture of exactly what you’re going to do. Everything from your warmup routine to the machines and weights you’ll use to the sets and reps should be planned out.
Otherwise, you’ll find yourself piecing together a workout and wasting time in between exercises. You’re also much less likely to get the results you want. (If you don’t have a plan, you’ll usually undertrain or overtrain.)
3. Lift Some Weights
If you’re relying strictly on cardio, you’re doing yourself a disservice. There’s nothing wrong with running on the treadmill – and it should certainly be a part of your routine – but this should only be a small part of your overall plan.
In reality, your overall metabolism actually goes down the more cardio you do. This makes it more challenging to lose weight. Resistance training, on the other hand, builds up your muscle and increases your metabolic rate. (Perhaps that’s why this Harvard study shows that people who spend 20 minutes per day weight training gain less abdominal fat over a 12-year period than people who spend the same amount of time doing cardio.)
4. Target Multiple Muscle Groups
There’s nothing wrong with a traditional bicep curl or calf raise, but try your best to perform exercises that target multiple muscle groups at once. For example, you’re better off spending time doing squats with an overhead press than you are doing three or four different exercises that target those muscles. (Why work harder when you can just work smarter?)
5. Take Advantage of Time Between Sets
Most people are taught to do a set, wait two or three minutes, and then perform another set. And while there’s technically nothing wrong with this, you end up wasting a considerable amount of time doing nothing. This downtime could easily account for 20-25 minutes of your workout.
A better option is to always have two exercises that you’re doing in tandem. For example, if you’re working legs and abs, you could use your downtime between leg presses to do some crunches (and vice versa).
6. Listen to Music
Most people are familiar with the little bump in energy that upbeat tunes can give you when working out. But did you know that listening to music can actually have a noticeable impact on your workout recovery?
According to this study, people who listen to slow music after their workout recover faster than those who don’t. This has to do with the fact that music increases levels of dopamine and serotonin in the body – both of which are known to fuel recovery. Music also helps lower your blood pressure and bring your heart rate back into normal resting range.
7. Go During Off-Peak Hours
Every gym is different, but get familiar with the schedule at your local gym. Track the busy times and the slow times. Then, based on this knowledge, create a workout schedule that avoids rush hour.
Going during non-peak hours gives you room and flexibility to do whatever you want. You don’t have to wait for machines or alter your workout because someone is using the equipment you need. Plus, it’s less likely that you’ll get interrupted by someone who wants to chat.
8. Hire a Personal Trainer
Too many things to keep track of? Just hire a personal trainer and let them know that you want to create a workout plan based on being as efficient and productive in the gym as possible. They’ll work with you to figure out a plan. All you have to do is show up and follow the plan.
Stop Wasting Time at the Gym
If you’re showing up to the gym each day and trying to come up with a random exercise plan on the fly, you’re messing up big time. Not only are you being inefficient with your time, but you’re also limiting your ability to get results. (This means you’ll need to spend more time in the gym in the future to get the same results.)
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, pack on muscle, tone up, or improve your cardiovascular health, having a plan that’s tailored to your specific needs will help. And regardless of your current fitness level or experience, we have online training programs that can work for you.
Not sure which program to choose? Reach out to us and we’ll make sure you get plugged into the correct one. All programs are created and overseen by Nathan DeMetz, who holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and even Information Technology. He also has certifications in sports nutrition, strength and conditioning, run coaching, and other related specialties.
When you sign up for one of our online personal training programs, you get a custom-built plan that focuses on exercises that are appropriate for your goals and interests. That way, when you show up to the gym each day, you know exactly what to do – down to the individual machines, sets, and reps.
For more information, please contact us today! We look forward to working with you.
Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, Utah State University, and the ISSA College of Exercise Science.
Nathan has 20 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.
To work with Nathan directly on your personal training goals, contact him today!