I get a lot of questions like that, and it’s a great question. And of course you asked the right person!
I’m a big fan of short and sharp sessions; You can get great workouts done in a lot less time than you think. Here are eight quick tips I learned to create an efficient workout and get the most out of your time at the gym.
- Keep moving: Unless you’re a powerlifter trying to increase your strength and power on the topline, then no one has to sit down for minutes between sets. This is valuable time that you can take back.
- Wear headphones: Sure, making friends and having conversations is important, but NOT if you are serious about quick, efficient workout.
- To have a plan: Before entering the weight room, you should know what you are trying to achieve. Whether the focus of your session is on the chest and biceps or just on the full body workout, you need to have an itinerary on paper, or at least in your head, what exercises you will be doing and what equipment you will be using.
- Do you have a BACKUP plan: You don’t need full backup training, but you should have an alternative exercise to do in case someone camps out on a particular piece of equipment you want to use. Be flexible: we can never sit and wait for someone to finish.
- Circuits and Supersets: Call it what you will, but the basic idea is that we need to arrange a specific chain of exercises that we will do continuously. I prefer to train muscle groups that run in the opposite direction, so that you can go from pull-ups to triceps presses to shrugging the shoulders and breaking the skull, for example. If you did four sets this round, you’ve been doing good work on your back and triceps right there.
- Active recovery: This is what you can do between rounds of your round. In the example above in tip 5, you are training your back and triceps and have pulled and pushed two sets each. Then, for the fifth movement, add a core exercise, like hanging leg raises. After these 5 movements, try a fat burning / metabolic exercise such as running, jumping jacks, mountain climbing, etc. for one minute. This “active rest” keeps your heart rate pulsating and allows your target muscle groups to recover and reset before you hit them again.
- Compound movements: If your goal is general fitness and you are feeling / looking better, we can combine movements that work multiple muscle groups. This results in a more efficient workout that allows you to get more done in less time. Bonus: By moving more muscles, you burn more calories. Three examples shown in the video:
- Squats to shoulder presses (with barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, rubber bands, etc.)
- Rowing pushups (choose your resistance again)
- Pull-up to spread out
- Exercise more often: We have to exercise every day. That doesn’t mean it has to be at the gym – you can work out anywhere. But most importantly, if you spend less time at the gym or wherever you work out in each session, you’ll have more hours in the day. Do you remember the “metabolic campfire” we talked about in a previous article? Exercise starts the fire – and if you do it every day, you turn your body into a lean, mean fat burning machine.