Are You a Time Waster?
Wasting time in the gym can severely hamper your workout progress not to mention be a drag on your personal productivity in general.
This article should help you identify whether you are spending way too much time in the gym and paying the price for it with your results, we’ll also have a look at how you can get that intensity back and start getting some real results.
Are you in the gym too long??
When you think about how many different areas of your life demand your time and attention, you start to realise that it’s essential to make the most of your time. If one area of your life is sucking up your free time unnecessarily, it could have a detrimental effect on any or all of the other areas of your life such as your career, family, social life, a relationship or your ability to contribute to a worthy project or cause.
Take a minute to examine just how much time you spend on your workouts… do they last an hour? An hour and a half perhaps? Longer? Then think about what kind of intensity you’re training at, could it be improved? I’m pretty sure if they answer honestly the majority of readers will confess to not always be training at 110% intensity, that’s natural, you’re not going to hit a home run every time you swing a bat, that said, let’s see if I can help you get a few more dingers under your belt.
I’ll put it bluntly, spending less time in the gym could be the best thing you ever did for your physique! Let’s take a look at why, first we’ll address the physical reasons for shortening your workouts and then we’ll examine the mental element.
Your growth, hormone and testosterone levels will peak after about 30-40 minutes of moderate to intense training, great news – it means your body is geared for performance and is ready to put on new muscle mass, BUT after about an hour your body starts to release your enemy: Cortisol. This is very bad news, essentially Cortisol is a catabolic hormone that means your muscles are literally getting broken down and used to fuel your body – A DISASTER FOR YOUR BODY COMPOSITION.
This can actually create a scenario where you go to the gym, train hard and are effectively getting smaller every time you train! So it’s obvious that it makes a great deal of sense to wrap your workout up at about the 40 minute mark.
The mental benefit of our plan to cut down training time is that you’ll benefit firstly from knowing you’ve trained with optimum intensity, the type of feeling of ‘a job well done’ is essential element of maintaining your motivation to keep training, without it you’ll gradually lose your enthusiasm. An additional benefit of a shorter 40 minute workout is that you’re not going to be so over exposed to the gym environment; you’ll gain some time back to put to good use in the other areas of your life.
The key to shaving time off of your workouts and multiplying your training intensity and, of course, results can be broken down into two main areas these are PLANNING and LOGISTICS
Before I start, let me give power lifters and people training specifically for strength a pass on this section, a lot of what I’m saying isn’t going to apply to your situation as you undoubtedly need your rest breaks, there may still be a couple of points to consider though so keep reading.
When I mention planning I simply mean ALWAYS know what you are going to do and why you are doing it before you enter the gym, without this knowledge your workouts are going to drain time and lack intensity.
Have a workout regime
A proper workout regime is essential, you need to know what you’ll do for every workout, no more questioning what muscle groups to work and which exercises to perform, this style of training is haphazard at best, it’ll cost you time and gains, and if you’re there for too long, possibly some of that hard earned muscle.
Examine your routine for redundant exercises
How many times have you seen a guy training his chest by starting on a flat bench, then flat db bench then over to a hammer strength machine? Hammering the same muscle, in the same way over and over again to no real avail. Every exercise in your routine should have a unique and definite purpose, without one it’s simply costing you time.
Stop the Chit Chat
Training with intensity means you are performing at a high level, with only enough rest for adequate recovery, wasting time chatting with other gym users, or your training partner, doesn’t do your workout any good at all, save this for your social time – try to live by the classic mantra “TRAIN HARD OR GO HOME”.
Incorporate super sets and drop sets
Incorporating these training methods into your workout can significantly increase your intensity and save you a lot of time, exhausting your muscles long before you would with convention set/rest training.
Use training Splits
When training specifically for size, I’ve always been a great fan of isolating as small a muscle group as possible on each workout for maximum exhaustion.Twelve intense sets on a specific muscle, training to failure should take about 30 minutes, that’s how you get a perfect workout in the bag.
Now for the subject of Logistics
What I mean by logistics is simply stacking the odds in your favour regarding your training habits, a few simple tweaks to the way you organise your training could save you a hell of a lot of time in the long run.
Be an early bird or a night owl
Training at off peak times is a great way to keep your training times to a minimum, there will be no waiting around for equipment and less chance of having to make intensity sapping conversation. A nice little trick is to wear headphones in the gym when you train, gym conversations are rarely a matter of life and death, most people won’t want to interrupt you with headphones on.
Chose you Training Partner wisely
Whilst it’s great to have a motivated training partner, you have to be very careful how you select one. If they have a habit of turning up late or talking too much between sets it may be time to have a word.
There’s nothing more frustrating than timing your nutrition perfectly to train and then have your training partner turn up late, leaving you lacking energy for your workout. If you feel your training partner or anyone else at the gym is holding you back, look to solve the problem as quickly as you can, it’s costing you progress!
Lose the gym
Often you can save time by finding alternative places to train, for example local parks can provide a myriad of training options, from sprints to bodyweight exercise on benches and climbing frames, you’ll often save travel time and you almost certainly won’t be disturbed.
By implementing these small changes into your training habits you could save yourself hours of idle gym time a week, drive your training intensity through the roof and see massive gains in your physique, what will you do with all the time you’ll gain? Be sure to make it count, after all we’re never getting any of it back!