Life can become hectic sometimes and takes away your workout time. We don’t want long hours at the gym because they make you feel like you are wasting your time and become less motivated. However, I’m going to show you how “I just don’t have time for the gym” is not true. Read on to find out how you can get more out of your gym session!
Sounds counterintuitive, right? When you think working out with someone can motivate you and help you become more productive, but the real case may be that you spend more time chatting with each other than exercising.
I do miss training with others sometimes, and I did train with a bunch of people when I first started going to the gym. I needed the assistance, and I would spend four hours at the gym. But that’s when I was a care-free college kid. Now as my life gets more hectic, I prefer to work out alone and stick to my routine. If you spend too much time at the gym when you can finish your workouts in a shorter time, try flying solo sometimes.
If you think training by yourself is awkward because people may come to talk to you or watch what you are doing, try wearing your headphone and cranking up the volume.
If there’s one piece of advice I could give myself when I first started training, this would be it. You can’t imagine how many times I got intimidated to use the heavyweights because “That guy is lifting heavy he’ll laugh at me” so I waited for him to finish. There was also a time when I yo-yoed around because I didn’t want to stretch next to some model-like girls. Two things I tell people a lot to care less at the gym is:
1. People are so obsessed with how themselves look that they won’t pay attention to others.
2. People will only focus on the ones that have a kickass shape, such as the bodybuilding competitors or supermodels. So if you have some insecurities of yourself, don’t worry. Nobody will notice!
And to all the girls who think wearing makeup to the gym takes time but you have to do it, trust me, guys can’t tell!
After I realized this, I successfully reduced my time at the gym because I made training my goal, not looking good in the eyes of others. And as soon as you change your mindset, you will see progress as well.
Have a plan
I don’t just mean thinking about “I’m going to do legs or shoulder today,” I’m talking about constructing your routine and listing out your movements in your mind including the gym area you want to go and the machines you are going to use.
It not only helps be more productive, but it also helps with the movements. How so? When I construct my gym routine before I start working out, I’m telling my mind how I want to train such as activating the glutes first, targeting the booty for a while, then finishing with a little push for the abductors. And these thoughts can transfer to my muscles to help me be more mindful with the moves.
Always show up prepared!
Have a plan B
Going off the last point, it’s a great idea to come up few a few alternative movements than the ones you will actually do. During the rush hour, you might need to wait for a bench, a smith machine, or even dumbbells. Rather than wait around, think about how you can switch the order of your movements to finish the routine effectively. And you should always have a few bodyweight movements at hand in case nothing is available.
If there are movements you must do to target-train certain muscle groups, snatch the machine as soon as you see the opportunity. (But gum etiquette first, of course!)
Check your bag before leaving home
It can be frustrating and time-consuming if you find out that you forget your pants, shoes, or resistance bands after you arrive at the gym. You would either skip the session or go home and get it. Even if you decide to buy a replacement item, you still need to go to the front desk and wait in line. So try to make it a good habit to check if you have everything in the bag before heading out. If money wasn’t an issue, get a locker and keep spare clothes and shoes there. The money I spent on the locker also pushed me to work out more because I wanted to make my money worth it.
I know it might be impossible to leave your phone in the locker room because I can’t do it too. But I make myself a rule to rest only for 30 seconds between reps so I wouldn’t have time to touch the phone. Resist your desire to check your phone every time it rings and aim for the goal of checking it every 30 minutes to start. If this is too hard for you, then you need to leave it in the locker or don’t connect with the Wi-Fi there.
We’ve all seen people who watch shows on the running machine or cycling machine, and it’s not a good use of cardio time. Because you are focusing on the shows rather than the movements, which means you are less active than you should be and you burn fewer calories. Have a highly focused elliptical machine session with you, yourself, and the music then come back and tell me you are bored.
Compound movements over single movements & HIIT over endurance cardio
If you find yourself always in a hurry in the gym and don’t have time to finish the whole routine, switch the isolation movements such as bicep curls with compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, push-ups, and pull-ups. They activate and leverage more muscle groups and mimic some real-life moves as well.
Another thing I’ve become obsessed with these days is the HIIT sessions where I combine high-intensity movements such as burpees or jumping jacks with minimal rest time. They keep you active by maintaining your heart rate and burn more calories. I sometimes do a few shadow boxing combos to keep the body burning. And you can also add strength training to it such as tricep dips or push-ups. But if you just start working out, take some time to get used to this kind of high-intensity workout.
Nobody judges you based on how much time you spend at the gym, they judge you based on your RESULTS. The longer time you spend at the gym doesn’t give you a better body, but how much time you make out of a workout can make a difference. You can become stronger, faster, and leaner if you increase the intensity and reduce the time. You just need to make every minute of it counts!