Going to the gym is one of those things people always dread despite being a regular activity on our to-do lists. The intention might be there, but the motivation might not. A tiring day is all it takes to make people feel lethargic and hit the sack instead of the gym.
But maybe you’re looking at your daily gym sessions the wrong way. So, what if you approached going to the gym as a significant productivity hack rather than trying to hack your way to more exercise? You can always “tweak” your training regimen to help you do more than you may have imagined. After all, it’s better to work out smarter than harder. So, in light of this, here are a few tips for making your gym sessions more productive.
1. Get the right gym buddy
It’s often believed that having a gym partner is the ideal way to stay accountable. But if your gym buddies and your fitness objectives differ, they might serve more as a distraction than a motivator, in that case. It’s time to pick a new workout partner if you find yourself lacking focus with your partner or feel your workout goals don’t align. If all else fails, you may consider working out alone.
You can also sign up with a personal trainer for a while if you want help. Ultimately, exercising with a personal trainer can increase motivation, help you break bad workout habits, and reach your fitness goals faster.
2. Time your rest periods
Resting between sets is always a good idea, but don’t let the time slip away. Rest intervals can vary depending on your objectives. For example, there are different rest intervals if you want to develop strength and power, enhance endurance, lose weight, or work on proper form. According to experts, the following rest intervals are the most effective based on the outcomes you may be seeking:
- Three-minute rest periods for better form
- One-minute rest periods for hypertrophy
- Two to five-minute rest periods for building power and strength
- Twenty to sixty-second rest periods for increasing endurance or weight loss
3. Perform superset exercises
Try using supersets to accomplish more in less time rather than sitting and doing nothing between sets. It will help you utilize your time at the gym more efficiently. You can also perform non-competing exercises that aren’t too demanding or don’t interfere with your main movements.
For example, if you’re doing dumbbell overhead presses, you can perform squats or sit-ups during rest periods between sets. This will allow you to do more and utilize every second of your time at the gym. Of course, the type of exercise you can perform between sets depends on your fitness and endurance levels. So, start with something basic and gradually increase the complexity of the exercises you want to mix up to create a superset routine.
4. Do high-intensity cardio
Generally, it takes more time to use cardio machines than weight lifting. However, making your cardio sessions more effective is one method to reduce the amount of time you spend in the gym and get excellent outcomes.
Many believe they must bike or run on the treadmill for 30 minutes to benefit from cardio workouts. That is not true. You can have excellent cardiovascular health in much less time-consuming ways. Instead, exercises like sprinting on the treadmill for about 5-10 minutes or pushing a weighted sled can raise your heart rate quickly. All you have to do is follow a strict training routine.
Tabata training is an excellent example of an effective high-intensity cardio exercise. Here, you can push out high-intensity bursts for twenty seconds with ten-second cool-down periods, repeating this for six to seven rounds. This high-intensity cardio exercise will pump your heart and allow you to do more in less time.
5. Try compound movement exercises
To get the most bang for your buck at the gym, you should select exercises that hit the most prominent muscle groups, i.e., your thighs, chest, shoulder, and core. Compared to isolation exercises, large compound movements like bench presses, squats, rowing, or deadlifts will target greater muscle mass. Because of this, you will make better progress in the gym in less time, allowing you to reach your fitness goals much faster.
So, start your workout with a complex movement or variation, if possible. Starting with the most energy-demanding exercises when you enter the gym is better because your energy levels are at their peak. Moreover, avoid intense cardio as you don’t want to go into these compound movements all drained out.
6. Fuel your body properly
Exercising on an empty stomach offers few advantages, so refuel your body with the correct nutrients to maintain energy levels. In fact, to get the most out of your gym sessions, try to have a full meal with carbs, fat, and protein at least two hours before you start.
Even a pre-workout supplement might also help you perform better and stay focused. These supplements have a variety of advantages, from improved strength and stamina to increased endurance to everything in between.
That being said, eating right doesn’t stop just here. You also have to consider what to eat after your workout. For your muscles to recuperate and get stronger, replenish the nutrients your body may have lost while exercising. Here are a few post-workout meal items that will provide you with the best results.
7. Always plan ahead
You should be well aware of the exercises you intend to perform before entering your gym. So, write down a few exercises you want to perform or make a mental note of what you hope to accomplish. Furthermore, pack your gym bag the night before.
We’d even go so far as to advise creating a monthly plan for you. By doing this, you’ll be able to plan exactly when you should go to the gym and what muscle groups you need to hit.
Exercise can help us live a healthier lifestyle. But for that, your workouts need to be productive. Productivity at the gym can only be achieved if you’re consistent. Plus, it’s all about efficiently utilizing your time in the gym, regardless of whether you work out for twenty minutes or two hours. So use the tips mentioned above to help you exercise smarter.