If you’re independently wealthy and can afford to take your time while working out because you don’t need to go to an actual job, well, then we hate you. Most of us are busy people. In fact, there are several surveys about reasons for not working out, and No. 1 on the list always seems to be “lack of time.”
There is merit in being efficient in the gym. First off, it gives you time for other, non-gym stuff in life. What’s more, when you’re not farting around, it breeds greater mental intensity. You know that when you’re on a tight schedule, you need to kick some ass, so you do. Here are some of the ways you may be wasting time.
The Changing Room
If all you did was weights, do you really need to shower? Can you get away with a towel to the pits and a reapplication of deodorant? Do you have to get changed there, or can this be done at home? Look for ways to avoid the place altogether, or just minimise the time spent around other naked guys.
Waiting For Equipment
Busy gyms can be motivating. There is an energy in the air and it makes you want to partake. But if the place is jammed and there is no squat cage or bench press, or if all the chin-up bars are constantly occupied, then you may need to rethink your workout time of day. Alternatively, you need to look for ways to adapt your plans. If every squat cage is taken and they don’t look like they’re going to be free any time soon, then consider doing something else that day.
Let us use the chest, shoulders and triceps day as an example. Almost 70% of the time for that workout is chest. The reason why is simple: shoulders and triceps also get worked hard while doing chest. Therefore, a lot of time spent on isolation (single joint) movements like lateral raises and triceps extensions just isn’t necessary. Same goes for the back and biceps day. Most of the workout is back, and biceps just get a little bit of work at the end, because they were already trained hard all along during the back workout.
Focusing On Machines
I’m not completely down on weightlifting machines, but they should be relegated to the “almost done” portion of your workout regimen. For legs, focus on squats instead of this piece of crap. Machines don’t give you half the workout of free weights, and therefore waste time. My opinion is that machines are to be used toward the end of a workout, when your muscles are so blasted that you simply don’t have the strength left for proper free weight technique. In those instances, machines can be good just as a way to quickly finish things off.
Not Doing Supersets
There are supersets, compound sets or just doing your workout nonstop. When I do chest, shoulders and triceps, I need a break between the sets for chest because it’s hardcore stuff, but after that’s done, the shoulders and triceps are constantly alternated. I’m only taking a few seconds here and there for sips of water until the workout is done. It revs metabolism higher and results in a high-volume workout.
The Water Fountain
If you’re constantly going from equipment to water fountain and back, the time wasting adds up. Especially if there’s a line. Just get a water bottle seriously.
Dynamic stretching is great as part of an effective warm-up for lifting, making movements that mimic the exercise you’re about to engage in. Static stretching before lifting has been shown to decrease strength, and is not something you do at the gym if you’re pressed for time. I’m not down on static stretching, but it’s time consuming when you could be doing other things, and no special equipment is required. Personally, I think the time for static is while watching TV — it’s a great way to maximise your time, so that the gym is more about lifting.
Excessive Warming Up
While I always do a proper warm-up before lifting, working my way up to heavy, you don’t need to go overboard. What’s more, once you’re warm, you’re warm. You don’t need to do it for every exercise. As an example, if I’m doing chest, shoulders and triceps all in one workout, I only need to warm up for that first chest exercise. If I do three chest exercises in total, I don’t need to warm up for exercises No. 2 and No. 3, and I sure as hell don’t need to warm up for shoulders and triceps, because they were getting worked all along with the chest exercises.
I’m a big fan of aerobic workouts, but there isn’t really a need to run on a treadmill or hit a stationary bike to get the blood flowing for lifting. If you really think this is necessary, just walk briskly while you’re on the way to the gym and change rapidly. A real warm-up is to do the exercise you’re about to do at a lighter weight. If you’re about to do bench press, then you warm up with bench press at lower weights and work your way up to the heavy stuff.
Social support is great for fitness motivation, but if you’re constantly chatting, it really distracts you from the task at hand: working out. What’s more, it’s important to time your rest breaks between sets appropriately. If you’re gabbing away all the time, you may end up taking longer breaks than necessary and doing less overall work in the gym.
From uk.askmen.com, by James Fell