The number one reason most people say they don’t join a gym is that they don’t have the time, but considering there are 168 hours in a week, this is a fairly poor excuse. One hour a day 3-5 times a week is usually all you need, but to ensure that hour is as efficient as possible make sure you’re not wasting time doing the following things:
Walking in without a plan
So you walk in to the gym and look around, do you want to train your back today? Or maybe legs? The bench press is free but then what do you want to do after? By the time you’ve decided to train chest and triceps, the bench press has a queue of people waiting for it. In the short term you are wasting time dithering on which piece of equipment to start with, in the long term you are wasting time because not having short and long term plans is limiting your results. Write out a weekly workout plan and you will never waste time choosing what exercise to do next.
Now you have your plan you know that this training session starts with 5 sets of leg press, problem is there is already someone on it. Do you:
a) Wait for him to finish
b) Ask him if you can join in
c) Find an alternate exercise to perform
Obviously the answer is either b or c. Most of the people, who go to the gym are adults who learned how to share when they were 5 years old. Yet time after time you see people standing around waiting for someone to complete 10 sets, because they are too afraid to ask. 90% of people will agree to share the machine with you if you ask them, if they say no you’re left with two options. You can shake your head in despair at mankind and find an alternate exercise, such as barbell squats, dumbbell front squats, hack squats etc … Or you can find the nearest available fitness instructor and get them to kick the selfish member off your equipment.
Heading off to the gym, did you remember your ipod? phone? tablet? No? Good. These are all just distractions, you came to the gym to train not to update your facebook status or tweet a picture of yourself wearing a weightlifting belt, performing bicep curls #AreYouKiddingMe? If Chelsea are playing Arsenal then stay at home and get yourself to the gym afterwards, because, spending time on any of this is not going to help you train effectively. If you have to play music, then make sure your playlist is set before you get there and you have headphones that don’t constantly need to be re-adjusted. Don’t be one of those members wasting everyone’s time complaining about the music or what’s on the tv just shut up and train.
Performing too many isolation exercises
If you train 5 times a week and have an hour or two to kill for each workout then congratulations on your dedication, you can probably skip this entry and go do some press ups. The rest of you who struggle to fit in an hour’s workout 3 times a week listen closely. By performing big compound exercises such as dead lifts, bent over rows, bench presses, barbell squats, and military presses you can save a lot of time in the gym. The benefits of compound exercises are that they each work number of muscles rather than just isolating one. So if you compare the dead lift which works your abdomen, upper and lower back, quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, and forearms, to the bicep curl which works … the bicep, you can see which exercise is a more efficient use of your time.
Long rest periods
I’ll keep this simple; if you are training for fat loss, rest periods should last under a minute. Anything more and you are losing the intensity of the workout. Now if you are training for strength, your rest periods will need to be longer – between 1 and 3 minutes. This is because your muscles will take longer to recover between sets, a rule of thumb for strength training is to listen to your body. When you feel ready go for it!
Not knowing which weight to use
To be successful in the gym, you will need to record what you are doing each week, an exercise log book is essential. That way, when you walk up to the lat pulldown, you will know what weight you did last week and whether it was too easy, difficult etc. No more guessing the weight, attempting it, finding it too light, and then having to re-start. This is really useful for barbell exercises, as changing weights can take a long time, especially if you get it wrong the first couple of times.
After knowing which habits you need to get rid of, why not also check out the fitness habits you need to pick up TODAY !