If you’re lucky, you might get an hour or so at the gym two or three times a week. Maybe you enjoy that time, or maybe it’s all your can do to get through it. Either way that time is valuable to you and you should make every effort to pack as much fitness into that hour as you possibly can.
Unfortunately, the gym isn’t always the most productive place for a lot of people. Depending on the day, it can be time-consuming, full of delays and distractions and just all around unproductive.
What we need to do is optimize our gym time, so that we don’t spend an hour talking to friends, fidgeting with our phones or doing other things that can and should occur outside of the gym.
To make it work, you’ve got to want to get the most out of your gym hour, and it’s going to require laying down some ground rules for yourself.
If you’re interested, this is how to do it.
1. Turn off your phone — It can’t be emphasized enough that texting will nickel-and-dime your workout within an inch of its life. If you’ve got all day to spend in the gym, that’s one thing. But if you only plan on being there for an hour and you spend 15 minutes of that time looking at your phone, you’ve lost 25 percent of your workout.
A good policy is to leave your phone somewhere in the gym where you can check it periodically to make sure you aren’t missing a family emergency.
Aside from that, don’t look at it until you’re done working out. This alone will make you more productive.
2. Make your playlist ahead of time — If you take an iPod to the gym, make sure that you get a playlist made ahead of time so that you can just push play and not have to worry about dialing in a new song every three or four minutes. The same principle applies here as with your phone, in that the less time you spend fidgeting with gadgets, the better off you’ll be.
Music is definitely a powerful motivating tool that you should feel free to utilize, but don’t let it take time away from the reason that you’re in the gym in the first place.
3. Limiting the amount of time you spend resting between sets — I know that rest in between sets is a necessary part of any workout, but if the goal is to keep your heart rate going, then it shouldn’t take up too much of your time.
Once you’re finished with your set, take just enough time to catch your breath and let your muscles recover. Most of the time that shouldn’t have to be longer than a minute and even 30 seconds is enough for someone in decent shape.
4. Avoid “fitness talk” — It seems like a lot of people will go to the gym and spend more time talking about fitness than actually engaging in any kind of fitness activity. Don’t be this person. While I’m not saying you need to be completely antisocial, keep your conversations short and avoid striking up casual talk, even if you have friends there.
It’s a tough rule to follow, but it will definitely save you some time if you’re in the habit of doing a lot of talking in the gym.
5. Workout alone — It might depend on your personality, but working out with a friend is more often than not, going to be more of a distraction than any kind of help. You can’t move on to a new exercise at your own pace, or use the same piece of equipment without alternating.
Its a much more time consuming way to get your workout in and you won’t get nearly as much done as you would have on your own.
Unless you’re being trained or training someone else, go solo during your workouts.
Natalie Parsons is a professional blogger that provides information for health, fitness, and finding workout routines and affordable fitness centers that work for you. She writes for Fitness 19, the best and most affordable fitness center in Westminster CO including many other locations.