Hectic lives full of long workdays, dinner parties, and trying to do laundry means fitting in fitness may be hard. So if we’re headed to the gym, we might as well make the most of it. Whether it’s training the whole body at once or working out with a friend, here are 17 ways to be more productive.
Smartphones can be a big time-suck. Avoid texts, calls, and Twitter updates by putting your phone on airplane mode. ("I’m doing a push-up…can I call you back?")
Avoid Rush Hour
Try going to the gym during off-peak hours to steer clear of crowds and avoid waiting for equipment. Extra points for going midday to stay productive all day long!
Know Where To Go
If you’re unfamiliar with the gym, scope out the scene before the workout. Figure out where all the equipment is, so you’re not running in circles looking for the kettlebells.
Related: Interval Training Workouts For Every Fitness Level
Download An App
Not sure exactly what to do at the gym? Don’t waste time wondering; use a fitness app to have a plan in your palm. Try a strength-training or running app to get started.
Turn On The Tunes
Studies show listening to music while working out can help people work harder, better, faster, and stronger.
Set A Goal
Figure out what you want to do at the gym before arriving. (Arms? Abs? Cardio?) Write down the number of sets or even a specific workout to avoid cutting corners.
Stay aware of the clock ticking between intervals or sets. That one-minute “rest” could turn into three or four minutes if you’re not conscious of how much time is slipping away.
Want to really save time and challenge your body? Do two exercises in a row that focus on the same muscle group (read: super-set). Decreasing rest will engage muscles and burn more calories.
To avoid the weight-room plateau, begin to increase your weight safely. Upping intensity will help build muscle, so you'll get stronger in no time.
Related: The 8-Week Barbell Program For Serious Strength Gains
Take A Class
Sign up for a yoga, Spinning, or even a Japanese-samurai-swordfighting class. That way, your workout gets a definite start and end time, help from an instructor, and accountability. (Thanks, classmates!) It'll be pretty hard to slack off.
In a hurry? High-intensity interval training like Tabata can burn fat in no time. (Well, four minutes.)
Choose Compound Lifts
Kill multiple birds with one stone and work the full body all at once. Compound lifts, such as deadlifts and squats, will give muscles way more bang for their buck.
Instead of spending an hour on the treadmill, try running intervals instead. Short bursts of intense running boost metabolism, build lean muscle, and burn more fat — in less time.
Pick A Partner
BYOF to the gym. Having a friend with you may increase accountability. Try these exercises and work out side-by-side.
Try A Personal Trainer
To prevent any sort of slacking (we’ve all been there) sign up for a session with a trainer. Science suggests this will motivate you to increase your workout's intensity.
Next: The Real Reason Your Muscles Are Sore After A Workout