Christmas is on our doorstep and December is normally the month when people become busier than usual and tend to skip the gym. You probably felt guilty of this to allow more time spent with Christmas shopping, last minute work meetings to finish projects or just to attend social gatherings. This is the time when your body really needs the exercise, so you can maintain your hard-earned results and your sanity.
Have you noticed recently that your gym seems emptier than usual? December is the month when only the most dedicated are to be found on the gym floor, they will also be the ones who won’t feel miserable comes January 2018 and instead of trying to get rid of holiday weight, they can crack on and work towards their goals.
I do understand however, that time is even more precious at this time of the year so you really should aim to make the most out of your sessions, and even if you only have 30 minutes, make it count. Here are 5 ways to save time in the gym.
1. Prepare and conquer
Easy principle. If you have your gym gear on you in the day, you have no excuse to bail out. Get your gear, towel, snack box, water bottle, if needed a change of clothes and shower tools ready the night before your planned workout.
All you need to do in the morning is to grab them and leave the house. Some people prefer getting the workout out of their way, so they can crack on with their life afterwards.
2. Focus on the big lifts and intesity
The so-called compound movements work your full body, involving many muscles. This makes them the perfect exercise to perform when you’re short on time.
Deadlift, squat, bench press, pull-up, press-up and their variations will not only improve your body’s overall strength, but will boost your fat loss process simply by using multiple muscles in one move. It’s important to understand your body’s limits and work at a rep range and load that will be challenging and suited for your goals.
We’ve discussed in detail why it’s beneficial to include HIIT into your busy routine for fat loss. When you want to save time in the gym but also want to make sure you get the most out of your workout, go for High Intensity Interval Training.
When designed and performed properly, it will get you out of breath and drench you in sweat in as little as 20-30 minutes. Perfect to start your morning when you have a long day of meetings and evening events ahead of you. It’ll make you feel great, energised and also ensure you did your part on the fat burning front.
3. Be strict on rest time
Spending time on your phone in between sets and losing track of time will have two result: you will waste precious time and potentially let your muscles go cold which will not only jeopardise your progress but also poses risk of injury.
How much you should rest in between sets will depend on your goals. If you’re on a strength phase, performing heavy lifts, your body will need anywhere between 2-5 minutes.
However if your goal is fat loss and to improve cardio fitness, you will be good to have only 15-45 seconds rest depending on the type of exercise and ensuring your performance doesn’t struggle. That’s just about enough to have a sip of water.
Leave your phone in the locker and us a stopwatch to measure your rest period.
4. Keep it to minimum equipment
Often, we spend ages in the gym just to walk between the weight section, cardio machines and functional training areas when we have a rather complicated workout planned for the day.
Majority of the exercises can be performed with any equipment that add load to the workout. Pick only one or two, set yourself up in a corner and crack on.
With a little creativity you can work your whole body with any of the following equipment: barbells, kettlebells, dumbbels, powerbags, medicine balls, slam balls, weight plates, battle rope, TRX, cable machine. Use a step for added cardio or jump on the rowing machine at the end of your workout.
5. Plan ahead
Being a busy professional requires you to plan your day or week ahead to make sure you stay on track and achieve your work goals for the day or week. If you haven’t done your task scheduling and planning for a day, you will spend extra time on figuring out as you go.
It’s the same in the gym. If you haven’t got your workout planned when you step foot in the gym, it’ll likely take you longer to get a good workout as you need to do all the thinking as you go. While if you have your exercise plan in your hand or phone, you just need to do the work.
Another thing to consider is to always be prepared to alter your exercises in case an equipment is not available, or see point #4 on minimum equipment use.
If you’re one of those people who doesn’t know how to structure a workout properly to achieve your goals, get help from a fitness professional or personal trainer to do the brainwork for you. This way all you really need to focus in is to put the effort in every time.
In summary, busy times are not an excuse to quit the gym or neglect your physical needs, quite the opposite. Make sure you have a plan and if you need help with that, feel free to get in touch.
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