Monday, March 19, 2012

Make Gym Time Shorter--Make Life Time Longer

My focus, as a fitness professional, is not only to help you change your physique and achieve your goals, but also to enhance your quality of life. I can do that for you indirectly. Besides making you feel good and look good, I can also instruct you on how to achieve your goals in less time. Thus, this makes you a more efficient exerciser and because you save more time--in the gym--it gives you more time to focus on YOU, your family, your diet, and your hobbies--while reducing stress and increasing time management.

But first things first.... I have to teach you how to cut your gym time almost in HALF!

Here are 10 quick tips:

1.) When you drive to the gym, think about what you are going to do. Period. Play the entire session out in your mind. What will you lift? How will you lift it? How much weight will you use? Which exercise will you go to next? Imagine yourself performing each exercise. If you use a workout journal, make sure you have gone over it and have envisioned each exercise. Plan your strategy and path on the exercise floor.

2.) Upon entering the gym, keep your mind clear. Forget the day. You are spending the next 45 minutes of your time on you. Forget what your boss told you, forget the argument you had with your friend, and forget the disagreement you had with your spouse. The next 45 minute time period belongs to you and make sure you treat it nicely.

3.) Do you know how to smile? Use it. Greet people with a simple smile. Just smile. A smile is ten times more powerful in American culture, than actually conversing with someone. Keep your greetings short and concise. Keep conversation to non-existent. Put on your headphones and crank up your iPod. If you begin to talk about last night's game or American Idol, you are going to lose your focus. 

4.) Don't spend the first 5 minutes looking for a magazine, or TV remote. That is procrastination. It is your mind telling you there is hard-work ahead, but you are delaying it. Get it done!

5.) Rest periods should feel like rest--no pauses. As lifters, many of us take an entirely too lengthy of a break in between sets. There is absolutely no reason, to take 5 WHOLE minutes in between sets of tricep press-downs. I don't care what you read about rep schemes and strength, hypertrophy, and power. Excessive rest...defined as sitting on the bench texting or watching the television overhead, is a waste of time and is simply detrimental to training and conditioning. Rest periods should never move beyond the minute mark--only unless you are training with max loads.

6.) Lose the phone. There is absolutely no need to communicate with anyone during "your personal" time. Cut off all outside interference. Leave the cell in the car. Your mind must stay focused on the session.

7.) Compound movement, compound sets, and circuits. Pick 5-6 exercises you want to perform on your way to the gym. Keep advanced movements that involved multiple joints (compounds) first in your workout. You will need to be fresher for these. Then, begin your workout with a heavy set of compound movements (deadlifts, chins, squats) and polish it off with an easy exercise--a possible isolation exercise fits nicely here. This will serve as an active recovery of sorts, so that your "real" rest will be deserved and short. Keep exercises going. Plan on circuits so that you save time. If you are not sure how to do this, then you might want to check this out.

8.) Do you really need to write EVERYTHING? Seriously, I am a fan of tracking progress, but hell, do you need to keep track of everything you do--especially when there is no change? This is what I look at when I see one's composition book: 125x12, 155x10, 185x8, 205x6, 225x4, 245x1, 225x3,205x4, 185x6, 135x12  for 5 straight weeks!! There is an easier and more efficient way to track your progress and save yourself some time. Try counting only the sets that matter!

9.) Short burst cardio. I am fortunate enough to have access to an AirDyne cycle, so my cardio becomes a 8-minute "polisher" after my strength training. The cardio is simply a 10 minute session derived of "bursts" or intervals. This is also coined as "HIIT". You can perform this on any piece of cardio equipment or surface. Short, strenuous bursts of elevated heart rate with a short recovery promotes EPOC (excessive post exercise oxygen consumption) and burns more calories in a shorter amount of time.

10.) Make time for flexibility. Take the last 5 minutes of your workout to perform some static stretching. Unlike what popular literature states of holding stretched poses for up to 30 seconds--which is an uncanny waste of time, hold each stretch for up to 8 seconds. Make sure you stretch into that zone of discomfort. So many people like to "stretch" in their comfort zone and perform poses they they are efficient in. Real flexibility training involves stretching muscles in nagging, discomforting positions. When you feel that...then you know its a stretch and that is why it is held for only 8 seconds. Short holds performed daily save you more time and ensure you will do them more.


  1. My biggest pet peeve is the people that talk/text on the phone while at the gym. Like they cant be away from outside communication for 60 minutes. I like your list. I used to be one that would write everything down, but like you said, it never changes. Now I keep a piece of paper in my pocket with a list of what I am doing and that is it.

  2. Writing down everything even though it never changes is actually important. It reminds you that it never changes, and prompts you to maybe add a little plate or two to the bar :)

    If you never wrote it down, you would more easily go for months or even years never doing anything different or more challenging. This is actually a pretty common thing in the gym. That's why we get people who've been coming for three years and still can't do a pushup or squat.


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