Not too many people have the luxury of spending 2 hours at the gym every day. Having efficient and effective workouts is the key to success and longevity.
You don’t need to be there for long, but you do need to make sure it is effective. Here are some tips to make your workouts efficient but effective:
- Stop talking! If you want the best out of your workouts, keep it moving! You need rest periods but 15 minutes between sets to stop and talk is beyond a rest period. You might as well start your workout over again.
- If you work out during peak times, lunch or after work, make sure your workouts are built around that. Chances of you being able to super set certain exercises may be slim depending on what you are doing. For example doing a squat using a rack and then walking away to go use a bench elsewhere or another machine, may not work! That rack may have someone in it when you get back! Trust me, putting a towel on the bar doesn’t work, they move it! Choose exercises that flow together based on the gyms floor plan and how busy they are.
- Be organized! Sounds funny but it’s important. Get your towel, fill up your water bottle, get your equipment together for your first set, use the washroom (get that stunned look off your face, you know you stop and go when you should have gone before!), Get your head in the game, and make sure you have everything YOU need to workout. You waste so much time and ruin rest periods to stop and get something or use the bathroom! It’s the truth, see it all the time!
- Sitting on a machine doing 8 -10 reps, that looks too heavy for you; rest ON the machine for like 10 secs and then go again for like 5 sets. DO NOT DO THIS! Big no no! I see this all the time and can only assume they are in a hurry and don’t know any better. If you are lifting that heavy, rest for longer, get off and let someone else work in with you. Resting for a few secs and going again when its heavy is like one big long heavy set! Rest is important! If your time is limited than do supersets or a circuit. The “stay on the machine and bang out 5 sets quick” approach will get you nowhere quick! That’s not efficient. Rest periods are important and vary depending on the phase you are in. If it’s an endurance phase (higher reps, lower weight), rest is lower, Build phase is a bit longer rest and strength is even longer. Knowing what you are trying to accomplish is important.
- You can do any phase, strength, hypertrophy, endurance etc., efficiently. Superset (even in strength), giant set (great for hypertrophy and endurance phases), circuit training, interval training, HIIT, and tabatas and finishers.
- Workout when you are most motivated. If you workout at time when you hate working out, it will take you a lot longer because you will doddle. Having your head in the game and being focused not only keeps you moving but also ensures you are getting a better mind muscle connection.
- Any workout longer than 45 – 60 minutes, is not necessary! After 60 minutes the benefit isn’t as great! You build up stress hormones and can over train! To go long, you’d have to lower the intensity of the workout, and that means that you’re spending too much time working out. It’s better to work out at a higher intensity for a shorter amount of time.
The bottom line is, as simple as it seems, a well planned workout gets you way further for efficiency and effectiveness. It isn’t easy if you are not sure what to do! Most take the simple way out…. CARDIO! This, over time, will only deplete muscle. If you are doing those kick ass classes, after 40 mins, you aren’t even burning fat! Not saying don’t do them, but it’s important to have a balance and add a resistance training program. And ya ya, I know you do the class with the weights, (giving you the side eye), this is like an aerobic class with something in your hand. Not the same! Sorry! Seek out Professional advice; hire a trainer or online fitness coach. This will help you get started or help you get over that plateau you have reached! Be SMART with your workout and your goals!