Save Time in the Gym
"I just don't have time to workout." It's the number one excuse I get when people tell me why they aren't getting in shape. If that's the excuse you've been using, I've got good news. Here are nine ways you can save time in the gym.
Walk in with a plan. Decide on what you're going to exercise before you step through the door. Don't waste time wandering around without an idea of what you want to accomplish.
Avoid the gym when it's packed. No matter where you go, traffic in gyms have highly predictable patterns. The first wave of people arrives early in the morning. From about 7:00 am to 11:00 am, it's usually going to be busy. The second wave starts around 4:00 pm and typically lasts until around 8:00.
That means if you don't want to stand around waiting for equipment, plan on working out during the off hours. Get in before 7:00 am, in the afternoons between noon and 4:00 pm or late in the evening after 8:00 pm.
Days of the week matter too. The most common schedule people make for themselves is to workout Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you look at gym traffic patterns, those are typically the three busiest days of the week. Shift your schedule to Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Then, even if you have to workout during the busiest hours, you should still have fewer people to deal with than those same hours Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Bring your water with you. Don't keep running back and forth to the water fountain. At most, you'll get a few sips and all that walking back and forth takes away from the time you could be working out. What's worse, in crowded gyms, you may lose the piece of equipment you're working out on, forcing you to wait for another one to open up.
Exercise your jaws less. When you're talking and catching up with everybody else, you're not working out. Remember that they're trying to get in shape too. Saying hello is fine, but if you want to chat, meet them after your workout and spend some quality time.
Spend less time resting. Unless you're feeling dizzy or nauseous, you shouldn't take more than about a minute and a half rest between sets. That's all the time it takes for the immediate inflammation your muscles get from being pushed to subside and your breathing to return to normal.
Rest for more than 2 minutes and you're training to be a powerlifter. Powerlifters aren't as concerned about muscle size or definition; for them, it's all about how much weight they can move. If your goal is to lift as much weight as possible, by all means, rest 2-5 minutes between sets. But if you want to build muscle and better define your body, don't take long breaks.
Skip the free weights and concentrate on machines. Free weights take time to setup and change. Machines are much easier, requiring only a pin change or two.
Start doing supersets. Supersetting is a technique where you perform two different exercises in a row with almost no rest in between. Supersets are best for people who want to tone or cut up.
Quit doing redundant exercises. I can't tell you how many people I see do a flat bench machine press and then move on to a flat bench dumbbell press. Both those exercises work the exact same body part. When you work a muscle, you only need to target each angle once per workout. Working the same muscle from the same angle wastes time and can lead to overtraining injuries.
Get a home gym. The ultimate time-saver is working out right in your own home. No commute, no waiting for equipment and no restrictions on when you can exercise.
Each of these ideas can shave a couple of minutes off any workout. Taken together, you should be able to quickly cut 15 minutes off a 50-minute workout, saving you several hours each month. You stay in shape but spend less time at the gym.
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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.