How to Get In and Out of the Gym in 30-60minutes
When it comes to the gym do you:
Avoid going to the gym because you don't think you have enough time?
Spend more than 60 minutes in the gym?
Wonder why the heck it takes you so long to get a full body workout in?
Want to know how to make the best use of your time to get results with your strength program?
If so...this post is for you!
Now, some people love the gym so much that they would hang out there all day, every day, and likely even sleep over if they were allowed. You see these people there every time you go, they are there when you arrive and still there when you leave (hey, that sounds like me hahaha). Kidding! Let's be serious...most of us want to get in and out of the gym as quickly as possible while still making the gains we seek. We want to maximize our results and minimize the amount of time we spend getting them. Am I right?
I love to strength train and I do play in the gym for longer than an hour when I have the time. But it is my passion, hobby and career, so I enjoy playing and experimenting! Most of the time, however, I have a big list of other things I also want to do (multi-sport athletes always have another workout to do!) so I aim to get in and out of the gym in 45-75minutes. I have learned many techniques for maximizing my gym time in the shortest amount of time and can easily get a solid, full body strength workout done in 30 minutes no problem. There are many tricks and I want to share them with you...so that you are more likely to GO and get those gains! Here you go:
1. Gym 'like a boss'. If you don't want to be there all day, make it your job to get in and out. Put that focus at the top of your mind before heading to the gym and have your plan in place. Know exactly which exercises, reps, sets and weights you are going for before you start your workout. Having a progressive plan is the number one way to maximize your gym time! Don't be that guy wandering around, wondering what to do and making it up as you go, if you want to be efficient. Need help with this? I'm here for ya!
2. Make the most of your warm up. You have to warm up correctly if you want to push hard enough to make gains without risking injury. Period. I use the rowing machine for 3-5 minutes because it activates the most muscle groups and prepares the entire body. Then I do a warm up set of the main moves I am planning on doing that day, using a weight that is about 50% of my planned weight. 10 or so reps. This ensures you are prepared fully and also adds a light set to your workout -bonus!
3. Always choose active rest between sets. You will never ever ever see me standing still and watching the clock between sets at the gym! Alternate between two exercises whenever you can to cut your gym time in half-literally. This is the easiest way to shorten your workout time! Choose opposing exercises to allow for greater recovery or similar ones if you want to make it harder with super sets.
4. Work HARD. You don't have to do more than 2 or 3 sets of each exercise but you do have to work HARD and push your limits on each one. Instead of doing 4 sets of exercises, do 2, but work to failure (just before form starts to crumble, not beyond that!). One of the main reasons to keep a training log is to have numbers to beat each time you head to the gym. Always make it your goal to increase something at your next workout- reps first, then weight or adding sets etc. Your mission should be to try and beat your numbers! When you are starting out, you will easily do this- bumping up your reps each week, then earning the right to increase the weight. As you gain more experience and strength, it gets harder to beat those numbers every time, but the simple action of TRYING will boost your fitness and maximize your gym time.
5. Forget isolation exercises. If you want to shorten your gym workout, then switch your routine up to include exercises that use multiple muscle groups. Pick 6-8 big moves that either use a large amount of muscle mass (squats/the big lifts) and/or that combine upper and lower body patterns (ie squat to overhead press with dumbbells) to decrease the time and increase your results. Using cables and free weights is the way to go. Avoid machines that lock you in, sit you on your but, don't activate your core or challenge your balance and isolate movements. Functional, movement based training is where it's at! Of course, if you want to break through on strength gains for specific muscles/movements, then you can add additional sets or high rep off day accessory exercises to increase the volume (time) that you are spending on these areas. But we are talking about efficiency today:) When I am in the gym I aim for 6-8 exercises and complete 3 sets (to failure - make it burn!) of the 2 most important exercises on my plan for that day and then 2 sets (to failure again!) of the rest. Lower reps, and heavier weights, means less time in the gym so don't be afraid to progress to lifting heavy once you get your technique down.
6. Go in a disguise. Put your ear buds in and pull your hat down low if you want to get in and out quickly! If you want to socialize, then that is great too, but spending time chatting will add to the time you are in the gym. If efficiency is your goal, then keep moving, smile and catch up with your peeps another time. I am the queen of this...and maybe I don't come across as the most friendly gym goer because of it...but I can knock off a killer workout in 45 minutes so I don't mind!
7. Good tunes. My secret weapon! I listen to my favourite, high energy tunes that keep my feet moving and my focus on HIGH. Tunes definitely help me rock my workouts in record time.
8. Put down your phone! Scrolling, taking selfies and posting to instagram will double the amount of time you spend in the gym...I might be speaking from experience:). Put your phone on airplane mode and lift like a boss!
There is more to rocking your strength gains then efficiency tips tho...check out my article on Transforming your Body to get into it further!
What are your best tips for maximizing your gains and minimizing your gym time? Thanks for sharing!
Go get dem gains!
Practicing Kinesiologist :: Global Strength & Endurance Coach
Owner Equilibrium Lifestyle ManagementAdventure Athlete @wildseads
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