7 Ways to Maximize Your Time in the Gym
It's easy to join a gym, and easy to go to a gym, but maintaining that momentum and ensuring that you get the most out of each and every session can be more of a challenge.
That's probably why so many people end up losing interest and dropping out. It doesn't have to be that way.
With a few management techniques, you can make the most out of your time at the gym and enjoy an effective and rewarding workout. Hopefully you’ll ‘catch the bug’ and even learn to love it.
1. Work with a personal trainer or partner up.
If you lack motivation on you're own, a personal trainer can give it to you, making sure that you're living up to your commitment. Personal trainers assess your level of fitness and create a routine that addresses your goals. If you're not sure you want or need one, you can sign up for one session or a group session to find out if it works for you.
If you're not ready for a personal trainer, try working out with a friend. You can offer just the right amount of encouragement or hold each other's feet to the fire when need be.
2. Sign up for classes.
Take classes that pique your interest and they just may help you attain your fitness goals. Classes range from yoga to martial arts to spinning or Zumba. Training with others can ramp up enthusiasm and increase your energy level. Plus, once you've paid for a class, you're much more likely to attend and see it through.
3. Know before you go.
Make a plan and follow it. Before heading out to the gym, decide what you want to accomplish on this visit. Will you be focusing on cardio, resistance, endurance? Are you targeting your abs or arms? Then get more specific, deciding on how many reps or how much time you will spend on particular exercises. Take this idea right down to how much rest time you will need between each activity so you can avoid wasting precious time.
4. Superset it!
A superset is when you perform two different exercises, one right after the other, without resting in between. A 2010 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that performing supersets produces greater strength gains than traditional sets.
If weight training is your thing, make sure you increase resistance safely. High-intensity exercises can also help you make the most of your time.
5. Give your body TLC.
Food is fuel for your body, and you can't work out if your body isn't fueled properly. Have a snack before you go to the gym, but choose a healthy snack, like a piece of fruit or a protein drink. A 2004 study out of Texas A & M showed that dehydration impairs athletic performance, so don't let yourself get dehydrated. Replenish fluids lost through exercise by drinking plenty of water throughout your workout.
6. Music to work out by.
Most people find music helps adds another level of enjoyment to their workout. In fact, a 2008 study from Brunel University’s School of Sport and Education showed that carefully chosen music can significantly increase physical endurance and make the experience of cardiovascular exercise a more positive one. There's nothing like a good beat to pump up the energy!
This one may seem obvious, but look around any gym and you're bound to see someone looking at their smart phone rather than counting reps. There's a time and a place, but the gym is not it. That goes for talking on the phone, tweeting, texting, and facebooking. Let your calls go to voice mail and unplug from it all. Be in the moment and treat yourself to some quality time.
- Robbins DW, Young WB, Behm DG. School of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Lidcombe, New South Wales, Australia. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research / National Strength & Conditioning Association [2010, 24(10):2632-2640]
- Von Duvillard SP, Braun WA, Markofski M, Beneke R, Leithäuser R. Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Health, Kinesiology and Sports Studies, Texas A and M University. Fluids and hydration in prolonged endurance performance. Nutrition. 2004 Jul-Aug;20(7-8):651-6.
- Brunel University (2008, October 2). Jog To The Beat: Music Increases Exercise Endurance By 15%. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 21, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081001093753.htm