If you’re new years resolution has been to get your butt down to the gym more, but, like me, you’re struggling to find the time. It could be that you’re not being as productive with your time in the gym as you could be.
Flash back to when I first started this blog four years ago and you would have found me down at the gym most mornings smashing out a leisurely workout; having a catch up with friends, hitting some of my weaknesses after my workout, and still finding time for brunch with my gym buddies. Not any more.
These days I’m lucky if I can spare a few evenings a week to head down to the gym, but that doesn’t have to be a negative. As long as you’re getting then most out of your time at the gym, you could smash an awesome workout out in as little as 45minutes.
So what are my tips for a successful workout?
Have a plan
When I head to the gym without a plan in place I know my workout is going to suffer. I pontificate over what I want to do, end up googling ‘fun’ exercises and workouts on the gym floor, and generally wasting time.
Instead, if I spend some time prior to my workout to write down a structured plan I know exactly what I’m going to do when I set foot in the gym. From my goals for that session, exercises, reps, sets, and even rest periods. So set aside some time at the beginning of the week to plan for the week ahead, or before you leave for the gym, and I assure you your workout will be efficient.
Have a B plan
‘The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.’
The gym can get extremely busy, especially at this time of year, so it’s no use going in with a single plan – we all know a free squat rack is as rare as hens teeth! Waiting on machines can cause your heart rate to fall and your motivation to drop, so always have a few alternative exercises written down that you know you can sub in if needed.
Make it social
Heading to the gym with a friend might not necessarily make your workout quicker (hello catch up) but if you’re as competitive as I am, it can encourage you to push that little bit harder.
Plus, if you take it in turns to plan alternate sessions it could help to relieve some of the pressure. So if one of you has some killer cardio moves and the other is a monster in the weights department – make sure you play to those strengths.
Wear comfortable clothes
As a blogger I’m lucky enough to, sometimes, receive some fabulous workout gear in the post. However, there have been occasions when, not to sound ungrateful, I’ve been sent some not so great pieces to trial. From putting these items through their paces I’ve come to learn that wearing the wrong clothes in the gym can cause your workouts to suffer.
Too see through and you’ll be self conscious, too low and you’ll spend precious time mid workout pulling at your cleavage; too high and you’ll spend even more time tugging at your waistline.
So treat yourself to some good quality activewear – and it doesn’t have to be expensive, even Primark and H&M have some great pieces which won’t break the bank.
Focus on you
Hands up who’s guilty of spending far too much time in the gym looking at what everyone else is going rather than focusing on themselves? I know I am.
I’ve spent way too much time in the gym looking around at what everyone else is doing or to check if anyone else is looking. Firstly, it’s a sure fire way to get injured (especially when you’re distracted by the cute shirtless guy in the corner). Secondly, the grunter doing curls is spending far too much time looking at himself (or even herself) in the mirror to be watching what you’re doing. And, most importantly, it can stop you from becoming the best athlete you can be.
So stick your earphones in, set your weights up and focus on your reps, your breathing, and your body!
Finish her off
You don’t have to spend hours on the rower to get some good cardio in at the end of your workout.
If you enjoy steady state cardio (aka LISS), or it’s a part of your goals – then go for it. But if you’re after an efficient, hardworking finish to your workout I’d recommend a 10-15 minute circuit mixing bodyweight and weighted exercises. So why not put together a circuit of kettle-bell swings, sandbag cleans, shoulder presses and prowler pushes – I guarantee you’ll sweat more, push harder, and have way more fun.
How do you get the most out of your workout?