Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Time Management in the Gym

With the impending New Years Resolution season upon us like the "calm before the storm", lets evaluate how much time is actually wasted in the gym. Before I do that, let's look at what the top 5 reasons why people quit working out or don't exercise:

1.) No time
2.) Other priorities
3.) No energy after a workday
4.) No direction/no instruction
5.) No support

Each one of those reasons is inadvertently affected by time. If you maximize your time in the gym, you will have time for other things in your daily life. The old notion was to spend 1-2 hours in a gym in order to obtain your desired physique. Back in my day, I was one of those gym rats that spent 2-3 hours in the gym--calling it my "second home". However, as I got older and obtained more and more responsibilities, I understood the struggles of "normal" people. I develop empathy. I understand how hard it is to balance life and workout regularly. I understand what it is like to work 8-10 hour days so that you can pay the mortgage, plan the summer vacation, or send another payment to the kids' daycare facility. So how do I continue to workout and be some kind of awesome trainer??? Answer: Keep my workouts short and intense.

Here are 4 changes to make to your present workout:

1.) Keep rest periods short (less than 30 sec). - Who cares about the rep scheme. I don't care what so and so's workout says, keep the rest periods to a minimum and knock out as many reps as you can. When you are breathing hard, you are working hard.

2.) Add load after each set. - Each exercise should have between 3-4 sets each. Add more weight (maybe an extra 2.5-10 pounds, depending on your strength & fitness levels) and perform as many reps as you can with good form. Again, who cares if you can only get 4, 5, or 6 reps. Each subsequent workout, try to get more reps with the added weight than your last workout. The added load, adds more intensity and ultimately, more conditioning because you will continue to keep rest periods shortened.

3.) Plan your next exercise. - If you workout at a commercial gym, it may be hard to monopolize a few areas or weights. Therefore, plan your next exercise and "steal" it as soon as you are done with the last exercise. Always think "circuit".

4.) No more than 6 exercises. - Anymore than that is a waste of time. Don't think that is enough or don't think you are hitting everything? You obviously haven't viewed my "Moving More Muscles DVD".

5.) Don't make eye contact with others. - You may look like a jerk, but the truth is you are there for business. Your physique is your business. Minimize the conversations and concentrate on the task at hand. Bring a water bottle with you to minimize walking to the water fountain.

6.) Shorter cardio sessions, but more intense. - Want to call it HITT? I don't care what you call it...I like intervals. And the more intense, the better. The more intense, the shorter. Even better.

You should be in and out of the gym within 40 -50 minutes. The saved time can be applied to home responsibilities and your family. If you feel like you haven't done alot, then you haven't increased the intensity. GO back tomorrow and try it again. The more intense workouts become, the less time you need to spend. Take that time and give it to another passion in your life. I guarantee you will have more energy and you will have better time management skills.


  1. I couldn't have put it better myself - Anyone who takes this approach and philosophy and applies it should see results - ha ha, kind of mean thought with the no eye contact!! Lol, but I still would have to agree -

  2. Great points all-around John. Our society today is too stuck on the past methods of doing things for exercise. Despite countless efforts in research that is showing more effective ways to workout, we are still doing old-fashioned programming that takes too long and doesn't deliver what it says it will. It isn't so much that we have a short-cut with brief workouts, but we have a better strategy to take overall when we cut out the junk that doesn't work and add the new things that do.


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