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10 Gym Hacks To Save Time

February 12, 2014

Let’s face it – many people don’t go to the gym because it takes too much time. If you have the discipline to adhere to a workout schedule, though, you might still be frustrated by the amount of time you spend at the gym.

Fortunately, your workout doesn’t have to eat up several hours of your day. These 10 gym hacks can help you get the exercise you need while still leaving plenty of time in your day for other activities.

1. Dress Appropriately before You Go


One of the keys to saving time at the gym is spending as much of your time working out as is possible. Stopping to change into workout gear before you head into the workout room wastes time and can tempt you to cut your exercise regimen short if you’re pressed for time.

Instead of changing at the gym, put on your workout gear at home and pack your street clothes into a small travel back. When you arrive at the gym, you’ll just need to drop off the bag in the locker room and head straight for the exercise equipment.

2. Schedule Gym Visits during Off Hours


In many cities and towns, gyms are open 24 hours a day. Round-the-clock access lets you schedule your workouts not only around work and home obligations, but also around peak gym times. Scheduling your gym visits during off-peak times means you’ll spend less time waiting on machines and weight racks, which translates to more exercise in less time.

Try scheduling your workouts after the morning rush or late in the evening after most of the members have left. If you’re a night owl, you can even hit the gym while the rest of the city is asleep. You’ll benefit from a streamlined workout with fewer unscheduled rest periods.

3. Do Lunges between Stations


Lunges are powerful exercises that help strengthen your legs and core muscles, which helps tone your body and build strength for other exercises. Setting aside time specifically for lunges, though, unnecessarily extends your workout time and takes time away from other acivities. Instead of simply walking from station to station between exercises, try lunging between stations.

You’ll have the advantage of strengthening your core and leg muscles without having to dedicate extra time to yet another exercise. Lunges also help keep your heart rate up between other exercises, which can boost your metabolism and allow your body to burn calories more efficiently.

4. Plan Your Workout around the Gym Layout


If you have recently started working out or have become a member of a new gym, your first few workouts will be spent learning the layout of the facility and finding the machines and equipment you need. As you become familiar with the gym’s layout, though, you can cut time by crafting your workout based on the location of the machines and equipment.

Try grouping exercises to take advantage of equipment in the same area, then moving on to exercises appropriate for an adjacent area. The grouping strategy will help cut down unproductive time and allow you to finish your workout more quickly.

5. Take Advantage of Compound Exercises


Many people, particularly those interested in building muscle, tend to focus on isolation exercises in an attempt to maximize the growth on specific muscle groups. Isolation exercises, though, can translate to a long, boring workout.

If you want to maximize the effectiveness of your exercise routine and minimize the time you spend in the gym, try incorporating compound exercises into your routine.

Compound movements, which involve the use of multiple muscle groups, allow you to get more done in less time. Dips, for example, give your triceps, shoulders and lats a workout simultaneously. Squats, rows and chin-ups are also effective compound exercises.

6. Utilize the Elliptical


If your primary focus is on burning calories, you might gravitate toward the treadmill, stair stepper or stationary bike. Although these machines can be helpful when it comes to heart health and weight loss, there are more effective options available. One such option is the elliptical – this machine allows you to work your arms and legs simultaneously.

By involving more muscle groups, the elliptical can help you burn more calories in less time, so that you can finish your workout and get on with your day sooner. If possible, choose the lateral elliptical, which adds lateral motion to make your workout even more effective.

7. Increase Workout Intensity


Thanks to technological advances in exercise equipment design, many of the machines you find at the gym let you change intensity on the fly. Try increasing the incline on the treadmill or the resistance on the stair stepper or elliptical. Turning up the intensity makes you work harder, which means that you can burn off your target number of calories more quickly.

Once you reach your goal, you can move on to your next set of exercises. If you are more focused on body building than shedding pounds, increase the weight on machines or choose heavier free weights to maximize intensity. You’ll build muscle while spending less time at the gym.

8. Avoid Socializing during Your Workout


Some people boast about the amount of time they spend at the gym each day in an effort to impress others. If you watch these people in action, though, you’ll find that they commonly spend as much time chatting with other members as they spend on weight lifting or aerobic exercise.

The good news is that you can achieve the same results while spending far less time at the gym by simply cutting out socializing. Grab a set of quality headphones and stay focused on your workout to get the job done as quickly as possible. Socializing can wait until after your workout routine.

9. Pack a Shower Bag


Your post-workout routine can take up a significant amount of time and keep you at the gym longer than necessary. You probably won’t want to skip your post-workout shower; however, you can streamline shower time by packing a shower bag before you head for the gym.

Your shower bag should contain a razor, shave gel, a towel and any other necessary items. You can keep the bag with you during your workout or quickly grab it out of your locker on your way to the shower area. Having a shower bag also lets you beat the shower line if you must exercise during peak times because you won’t have to stop to gather necessary items after your workout.

10. Download Audiobooks on Your Phone


Your body isn’t the only part of you that needs a workout – in order to get the most out of life, you need to exercise your mind as well as your body. You can train both your body and your mind by downloading audiobooks to your phone or other digital media player.

Cue up your audiobook during your workout to train your brain while you train your body. Ideally, you should opt for non-fiction or educational audiobooks. If you can find audiobooks appropriate for your career, such as sales or inspirational titles, you can further your business or employment potential while you work out.

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