How Not to Waste Time at the Gym

Finding time to hit the gym can be hard at the best of times, so once you’re down there, making every second count is vital. To maximise your workout time at the gym, here are some common time-wasters to avoid.

Phone at the gym

© rh2010 / Adobe Stock

 

Get ready beforehand

Time spent getting ready in the changing room equals less time getting physical, so come to the gym prepared. Get changed before you arrive, and if you do need to use the changing room, make your visit as brief as possible.

 

Plan your sessions

Before you arrive at the gym, plan your workout session. Failure to go to the gym with a plan in mind will leave you procrastinating, wasting valuable time. Having said that, sticking religiously to your plan could also gobble up your time if the machines you want to use are busy or unavailable, so allow for some flexibility. Crucially, make sure you know how to use the equipment properly beforehand. This prevents wasting time performing movements incorrectly, which might even result in injuries.

 

Limit warm-ups

Warming-up before you get going is essential, but spending too long on this activity may mean you miss out on getting the real work done. An effective warm-up only needs to last around 5-10 minutes.

 

Focus on compound exercises

Instead of isolating muscle groups when exercising, turn your attention to compound exercises that tackle multiple groups at once, thus saving you precious time. Deadlifts, push-ups, pull-ups and squats are especially beneficial for targeting several muscles simultaneously.

 

Visit off-peak

If possible, visit the gym when it’s at its quietest, so you don’t waste time queuing for machines. However, if a machine you want to use is occupied, don’t stand idle waiting for it. Switch to another machine or exercise equipment, or perform some stretches until it’s free.

 

Cut the chatter

Working out with a partner can be a great way to motivate each other and assist with spot lifting. However, it’s vital that you stay focused on the task in hand if you want to reap maximum benefits. Keep unnecessary chit-chat to a minimum to achieve this goal.

 

Avoid distractions

Watching the TV screen, reading while exercising and fiddling with your phone will all eat into your concentration and time, making your gym sessions less productive. Focus on what you’re doing and shun any potential distractions. In particular, keep your phone on silent or leave it in your gym bag.

 

Mix things up

Doing the same old routine at the gym might prove a waste of time if your body is no longer gaining any benefits or progress has stalled. Mix sessions up a bit and keep muscles challenged. Don’t make sessions too easy, and keep rest periods brief, so that your body doesn’t cool down completely.

 

Bring a bottle

Staying hydrated is essential when exercising, but if this means having to make repeated trips to the gym’s water fountain, this could cut into your workout time. Instead, bring your own topped-up water bottle from home and keep it besides you when training.

 

Watch what you eat

If you fill up on the wrong foods after your gym session, all your hard work instantly comes undone and you’ve, essentially, wasted your time. Be mindful of what you eat to make your gym sessions worthwhile.

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