At this day in age, it seems like life keeps getting busier and busier. There’s barely enough time for us to get all of our tasks done in a day, let alone hit the gym at least two times a week. Don’t even get us started on how difficult it is to fit meal prep in every week. But like we all know, if something is important enough for us, we’ll make time for it and we encourage you to continue to squeeze out enough time at the gym to keep your body and mind physically and mentally fit to tackle the crazy work week head on.
The question then becomes; how do we make the most of our time at the gym? Gone are the days where we could spend up to hours in the gym getting our sweat on. Today, what’s most important is making every second count and working smarter at the gym rather than harder. This means maximizing your gym time efficiently and taking full advantage of several strategies to get the most out of your work out without wasting any precious time. Here are a couple of tips to get you started.
Shorten Your Cardio Workouts
As a simple rule of thumb, it’s best to keep your cardio workouts to 20 minutes at the most anytime you hit the gym. If you’re doing anything more than 20 minutes, you’re probably wasting time. Most people don’t utilize their cardio time well enough to get a good fat and caloric burn out of their cardio to begin with.
So, if your goal is to drop pounds over all by toning up, burning fat and getting in better cardiac health, then you should really be switching to the more appropriate cardio workout of interval training. Some people do this with high intensity interval training while other people choose to utilize tabata intervals. Which interval training exercise you do is up to your preference, but trust us when we say that it takes much less time that your traditional cardio and gives you a fantastic over all workout.
Concentrate Your Effort on Building Muscle
If your chief goal is to lose weight, then any exercise you do ought to burn fat. However, the best way to really maximize your time in the gym to get this fat loss accomplished is to focus on building muscle that will eventually help you burn fat even while you’re at rest. There’s a popular misconception that weight lifting will make you look bulky, but we can assure you that this isn’t the case.
In fact, weight lifting is so crucial to fat loss that it’s actually more beneficial of you to spend time lifting weights than it is to use cardio machines like the treadmill or elliptical. Adding lean muscle to your body will help boost your resting metabolic rate and convert your body into a lean, mean, fat burning machine. C’mon, who doesn’t want that?
Make Every Exercise Work Two Times as Hard
If you’ve already started incorporating weight exercises to your regular work outs, then it’s time to start working on your form. While lifting weights is important, how you do it can spell the difference between an effective and ineffective work out.
One way to make your time at the gym more effective is by actually slowing down your movement while lifting weights. To me more exact, it means performing slow and controlled eccentric movements with the goal of speeding up muscle growth. For example, if you’re performing a bicep curl, lowering the weight back down slowly, which is an eccentric movement, better helps you grow muscle and burn more fat in the process. Make sure your muscles stretch out gradually under the weight to make every movement count.
Keep Your Butt in Gear
Most of us work desk jobs which means we spend quite a bit of our day sitting down. Did you know that because of this, our butts actually quite literally fall asleep? They’re just there, chilling out, and aren’t being engaged whatsoever. This whole being “asleep” business actually negatively affects our workouts especially when it comes to leg works out and lower body workouts because our glutes aren’t working to their full capacity.
This also has a negative impact to our overall for the very reason that our glutes are the largest muscles in our body. When you head for the gym, a great way to maximize your time and make sure that your glutes are firing on all cylinders is to keep them as engaged as possible during your pre-workout warm up. You can do with through some bodyweight hip thrusts, a few rounds of step-ups or walking lunges.
Use Your Pre and Post Workout Nutrition Efficiently
A lot of people like to brag about the latest pre-workout powder or post-workout snack they’re using but not a lot of people know how to use it properly. Studies have shown that using your pre-workout nutrition properly plays a huge part in the effectivity of your gym routine.
It’s also necessary to have the right kind of fuel flowing through your body if you want to make a short 45-minute session produce the best results possible for your body. When it comes to pre-workout nutrition, the best thing to fuel your body with will always be a bit of carbohydrates and protein.
Taking a combination of the two anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes before a workout will help your body last and it will also help you build more muscle and recover faster after the fact. Try going for a fast digesting source of protein when it comes to your pre-workout shakes as well.
One of the most recommended so far has been going for a whey protein powder shake before the workout rather than after. At the end of the day, however, you should really be paying attention to what you put in your body and what works best for you.