13 ways to make your workout more productive
In our busy world, time is precious. We're often clock-watching and ticking off to-dos and trying to get everything done in record time. The gym can feel no different. We want to be in and out as quickly as possible, and still get a productive workout done. But our plans can too often be foiled - by queues for machines, electronic distractions and countless other little barriers to us getting the best results.
We've put together 13 superbly simple ways to have the most productive workout possible. Give them a go and experience the difference!
1. Go to the gym during quieter periods
Evenings in the gym can be hellish to navigate, with queues for weights and the machines eating into your workout time. If possible, go in the early morning or at lunchtime for a quieter, more seamless experience.
2. Keep your mobile in your locker
The last thing you need is the temptation to reply to text messages when you're on the treadmill. Lock your phone up with your bag and the messages will still be there when you're done.
3. Have a plan
Map out your workout before you hit the gym. That way you'll know exactly where you're going next and you'll minimise time spent deciding which machine to use next.
4. Use music to motivate you
Have a go-to workout playlist (like this one we made - great for cardio!). Turn to upbeat songs to keep you going when you hit a wall. It's also a great idea to zone out to music when you find your mind wandering.
5. Drink more water
Sip water and stay hydrated throughout your workout to prevent fatigue setting in and slowing you down. Also be sure to drink plenty of workout before you get to the gym.
6. Snack before you train
A snack or light meal consumed about an hour before your workout can help you to stay energised throughout. Make sure it's something carb-heavy to give you enough of the fuel you need.
7. Stick to your time
If you're training in sets or intervals, be sure to clock-watch during rest periods to make sure you stay on track and don't stop for longer than you need.
8. Work out with company
Take a friend to the gym with you - keep each other accountable, motivated and on task (but ideally not distracted by chitchat). Also, think about hitting up an exercise class! Working out with others and under the guidance of an instructor will help you maximise your time and get a great workout done.
9. Try interval training
Check out our super quick HIIT workout, or these 15 moves you can do in just 15 minutes. A workout doesn't have to be drawn-out and arduous to be truly effective. You can get the same results in a fraction of the time.
10. Get a trainer
PTs are qualified to train you well, and train you efficiently. Be motivated and kept accountable by working out with a trainer a couple of times a month. Not only will your workout with them be super productive, but you'll also pick up productivity tips to take with you when you work out alone. We have an extensive database of great personal trainers right here - simply search for one near you and get in touch.
11. Incorporate supersets
Supersets are exercises done in quick succession that target two separate muscle groups, with no rest in between. They're great for not only increasing the intensity and effectiveness of your workout but also saving time!
12. Include your journey in your workout
If possible, make your journey to the gym a workout, too. Walk or cycle, and you've got your cardio warm-up covered.
Stretching is an afterthought for so many of us, but it's so important for keeping your muscles in top form and avoiding injury. Make sure your next workout runs smoothly by stretching each time you exercise - we don't want you stopping in pain because your muscles aren't being looked after.
Have these tips made a difference to your workout? Let us know in the comments! We'd also love to hear about any time-saving tips of your own.