Streamlining Workouts When You’re Short on Time

couple doing chin-upsHappy you’ve joined a gym to be fit, but wish you knew how to make the most of your time there? Here are ways to streamline your workouts and get the results you want.

Have Plan and Stick to a Time Limit

Just like going grocery store with a shopping list, you will avoid wasting time at the gym if you know what you’re looking for when you get there. Don’t walk in without a clue of what is where or if you should do some cardio or head to the weights first. Wandering around or waiting for your turn is bound to eat up time.

Come to the gym with a plan. Know your exercises, the number of sets and reps, and what weight you will use. If you’ve planned on 30 minutes of lower body after 10 minutes of warming up, know your end times. Or, know which class you’re headed to, where it’s held, and have your bag packed with what you need before you go. The XSport Fitness app can help you plan your workout!  If you haven’t registered, click here to request your registration email.”

Use Supersets Instead of Straight Sets

A “superset” is basically a circuit—a group of a few exercises done consecutively. You can use supersets instead of “straight” sets, which is when you finish all the sets and reps of one single exercise before moving onto the next. This works especially well with bodyweight exercises and free weights.

For example, with a straight set you would do five heavy squats, rest your legs for a minute or two, do another five heavy squats, rest again then complete your set. With a superset, however, you can target a different body part that isn’t so tired by moving straight to other exercises while resting your legs.

Here is a sample total body superset. With this sequence, you can hit more muscles groups in about the same amount of time:

  1. Squat (lower body)
  2. Dumbbell Bench Press (chest)
  3. Chin Ups (back)
  4. Standing Anti-Rotation Press (core)

Do Fewer Exercises with More Weight

It’s a common mistake: you might want to strengthen their chest, so you do a barbell bench press, a decline bench press, an incline bench press, pushups, cable flyes, and who knows what else. Why waste time moving through so many exercises for the same muscle group when you can focus on one or two key lifts, and use a heavier amount of weight?

Here’s an example: Concentrate on perfect form for bench presses and pushups for your chest, and make a note of the weight and reps. Then, the next time you go to the gym, use slightly more weight. Not only will your muscles grow, you’ll cut out all the time you spent moving from one exercise to the next.

Streamline Your Warm Up, Too

What do you do to warm up when you get to the gym? Jog on the treadmill for 15 minutes? Stretch with a few yoga poses in the corner? Skip rope? Instead of figuring it out when you get there, it makes sense to memorize and simplify your warm ups.

Here’s a quick warm up routine that is easy remember:

  • 3 minutes of foam rolling
  • 2 minute of lateral lunges, reaching across
  • 1 minute of bear crawl
  • 2 minute of walking lunges, reaching overhead
  • 1 minute of burpees

Another smart streamlining option is to warm up on your way there—if you live close enough or can park far enough, you can power walk, swing your arms and take a few moving stretches as you make your way to the gym’s front door.