It’s 2022, and we’re all out here trying to live our best lives. We’re trying to work, play, have social lives, eat healthily, be fit, get plenty of sleep, and take the perfect selfie. Meanwhile, we are running ourselves ragged trying to get it all done and many times we are making things harder than they need to be. With 15+ years in the fitness industry, I have seen this all too often in the gym. Everyone comes in with the best intentions, but they complicate their workout programs by spending too much time on the wrong things, which ends up dampening their results.
Don’t fall into this trap! Yes, I’m talking to you: the person sitting on the bench press for 10 minutes between each set, the person spending hours on the same elliptical each week watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy, and yes, the person setting up your camera to record every rep while pondering over the perfect Instagram caption.
Now, maybe the above things are how you decompress after a long day or get yourself in the right mindset to handle the day ahead. And that’s fine! But if you’re spending a large amount of time in the gym and not seeing much in the way of results, you may be overcomplicating things. Consider restructuring your workouts using these simple tips.
This may be a scary concept but hang with me here. What if you left your phone in a locker during your workout, or put it on Do Not Disturb? Imagine the additional time you would have if you didn’t stop to scroll through social media, take selfies, text, or call for just ONE hour while you focus on becoming a healthier version of yourself. Even though it may be hard at first, staying off your phone during a workout may be the most effective way to maximize your time.
Have A Plan
Working out without a plan is like going to the grocery store without a list. You end up wandering around looking for what you want, spend far more time than you should have, and inevitably come out with something you didn’t need. One of the best ways to save time at the gym is to come in with a predetermined plan and stick to it. So, write down your workout beforehand and stick to it, or meet with a trainer at least once to help get you started. (By the way, your membership includes a complimentary consultation with a Personal Trainer…now may be the time to use it!)
Keep It Simple
People make the mistake of believing that their workout was only effective if it took hours to complete, was done to exhaustion, or included every muscle in their body and every machine in the gym. When it comes to exercise, more is not always beneficial. For most people, reasons for coming to the gym include losing weight, building muscle, getting stronger, and becoming healthier. The best way to achieve those results is to have a routine that is well balanced with both cardio and strength exercises and is completed to the point of fatigue, not exhaustion. There’s no need for workouts to exceed one hour unless you are an athlete preparing for a competition.
Minimize Rest Breaks
Another great way to increase your effectiveness at the gym is to utilize circuits and supersets. Superset training is the concept of combining two strength exercises together and then resting after completing both back-to-back. Using supersets is a great way to compound the effect and reduce the time in your workout. Circuit training involves 3 or more exercises and is often used to create a cardio response with strength training movements. This allows you to kill two birds - muscle building and cardio - with one stone.
Get A Trainer
This is not just a shameless plug for all the Personal Trainers out there waiting to help you (but we’re here and ready when you are 😊). Having a Personal Trainer is most likely the surest way to maximize your workouts and ensure your results. Trainers are your workout guides; they take the guesswork out of planning your workouts and they ensure that you become closer to your goals safely, effectively, and in the quickest amount of time. Don’t waste time struggling to find the workout routine that is right for you – let a certified professional help you!
There are only 24 hours in a day, so let’s make the time that we do spend in the gym efficient. With these tips, you’ll simplify your workouts so you can enjoy all the other wonderful parts of life. Let’s get in and get it done so we can get out there and live our lives!
Article contributed by Katie Allen
Katie Allen is a Regional Fitness Director at American Family Fitness in Virginia. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 2004 and went on to receive her Master’s in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from California University of Pennsylvania. Katie attended both schools on athletic scholarships, playing Division I volleyball at UVA and Division II volleyball and basketball at CalU. Katie has over a decade of experience in personal training, sports performance training, and fitness management. She has a passion for teaching and mentoring personal trainers that are new to the industry and even leads a certification course for the National College of Exercise Professionals. Katie specializes in weight loss, strength training, pre and post-natal training, and sports performance training, particularly for female athletes
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