How to Make Your Gym Workout Time- Efficient

Time spent exercising is time well spent because exercise is so vital to your health and fitness. But since time is such a precious commodity in todayís fast paced world, no one wants to spend more time than is actually needed to stay fit. Here are ways to streamline your gym workouts to make them more time-efficient.

Location, location, location.
Letís start with the most basic of factors affecting the time you spend exercising at the gym Ė location. Studies have shown that if it takes you more than fifteen minutes to get to your gym, your chances of continuing to exercise there are slim. No matter how good the equipment, instructors, services, or amenities, if you are spending more time traveling to the gym than you are working out, it just isnít practical. The same goes for choosing a far-flung gym simply because they are offering out-of-this- world slashed down prices. Remember that time is more precious than money. In the long run, you are better off paying higher prices for the convenience of an accessible location. In an ideal world, the best gym for you would be right around the corner to your home or your office or it would be located right in your office building (the most convenient). In the real world, you might have to settle for a mediocre gym that is close by.

Parking is another factor to consider in making your gym workout more time efficient. The gym might be close by but if there is hardly any parking, you will not only lose valuable time but you will also lose your cool as you battle it out for the few available parking slots.

Make your workout fit your schedule
A time-efficient workout does not just mean the time spent actually working out but it also means how efficiently you can use your time before and after the workout. Many mothers find that going to the gym right after they drop their kids in school or before they pick them up after school is the best way to kill two birds with one stone. They only have to make one trip. Other people work out at lunchtime near their office so they donít have to waste valuable family time before or after work. Others find that exercising before or after work is the best way to make their workouts fit their daily schedule.

Shut your mouth
Itís true that many people join a gym not only for fitness but also for social reasons. Exercising with friends can be just the motivation you need to keep you working out for years. However, unless you have spare hours to spend at the gym, talking too much while working out will do two things: Waste your time and cheat you of the results you deserve.

When people complain to me that they are spending too much time at the gym, I ask them to analyze how time is spent working out and how time is spent chatting with other people. I have rarely had someone come back to me after his or her analysis and say that they spend more time exercising than they do talking. And even if you donít mind spending half your life in the gym, talking to other people while you lift weights will lessen the focus and intensity you should be giving your muscles. Itís hard to do quality repetitions when your mouth is moving at the same time.

If you are doing a moderate to high intensity cardiovascular workout, you can still talk but only a few words at a time. So if you are talking a mile a minute while on the treadmill, you can be sure that your workout is at a low intensity. If you challenge yourself at the moderate to intense levels (or do an interval program that mixes intensities), you will get more Ďbang for your buckí or you will burn more calories per minute so you donít have to do as much. This is assuming, of course, that you are fit enough to work out at those intensities. Thatís why it should be your goal to get as fit as you can so you can do more work during a shorter period of time. Take note that this concept does not apply to individuals who have to exercise for longer periods at a lower intensity because of health or orthopedic reasons. Donít ever sacrifice safety for time efficiency.

Have a well-designed program
A well-designed program should be safe and effective for your fitness needs and goals. But that doesnít always mean it is time efficient. You might have too many exercises for the same body part. Or you might be doing the exercises with too much speed and momentum meaning you could get away with less exercises if you just did them at a slower and more controlled pace. Consult a fitness professional (that should be one of the benefits you get for joining a gym) to fine-tune your program so you can get the same results, if not better, with less exercises.

Adjust to busy times at the gym
Unless you work out in a gym that has very few members (meaning it wonít be around for long or it is subsidized by a school, club, or company), the hours from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. and from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. are usually full of people. No matter how big the gym (the bigger the gym, the more members), these time slots are usually crowded. So if you have no other time to exercise except at ďpeakĒ time, you had better be able to adjust your workout program. This means using the bike instead of the treadmill if all machines are taken so you donít waste time standing around or doing resistance exercises while waiting for a free cardio machine (any machine). It means alternating sets with complete strangers. This way two people can share the same strength machine. As one person rests in between sets, the other person works out on the machine. Have alternative exercises ready. If you canít use the bench press station, you can use the cable machine or the chest press machine. Or you can even do push-ups.

Stretch in between sets
Stretching is an important component of an effective exercise program to balance out all the contraction that the muscles go through. But since many people are running after time, it is the part of the workout that usually gets forgotten. A time- effective way to include stretching in your gym program is to stretch in between sets. The average length of time to rest between one set and another is one minute. This is more than enough time to stretch whatever muscle you have just contracted. Besides, one study indicates that you can actually lift more when the muscles have been stretched.

Consider one-set training
If you are a novice weight lifter (six months or less) or you are someone who needs to lift weights for health reasons (as compared to aesthetic or performance goals), consider one-set training because studies have shown that lifting one set can be just as effective as lifting two to three sets if you are the kind of person I just mentioned above. This means a sixty-minute weight lifting routine can be cut down to 20 to 30 minutes.

Split your program
If you have the kind of schedule that will allow you to go the gym every day but not spend that much time there, then splitting your program just might be the solution you need. Instead of doing a full cardiovascular, weight training, and stretching routine three times a week, you could do your cardiovascular exercise on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays and do your weight training/stretching on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

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