Going to the gym to work out can be challenging when you’ve got a packed schedule. Then once you do get there, the distractions and lack of motivation can drag it out. So it’s no surprise that many of us are trying to minimize our gym time. So here are my top 5 gym workout tips to get the most out of your workouts while still maximizing fat loss and lean muscle growth.
1. Wear a good pair of headphones.
Wearing headphones in the gym can accomplish a couple of vital things. One, it blocks out people that will try and talk to you. Second, it signals to the person that you are there to get the job done and don’t want distractions.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t ever enjoy a conversation or two. Trust me, some days I like to talk with other people about, you know–life stuff. But for the days you want to “go hard and go home”, headphones will do the trick.
Secondly, your music and headphones are great for getting yourself pumped up and “in the zone” to focus on your workout. So listen to whatever type of music that’ll keep you energized and excited to work out.
There’s nothing worse than trying to max out on your bench press when “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston is playing over the gym’s sound system. Talk about a Debbie Downer!
2. Write down your workouts ahead of time.
This is one of the essential gym workout tips I’ll share with you. Come prepared to the gym with a written plan of action. Preparation is key! Know what you’ll be doing before you get there. Plan it right before you go to the gym, the day before, or better yet, use the strategy I use.
I keep a workout journal to keep me focused. Writing down the exercises I did, along with the number of sets and reps I completed, is a great way to track my progress and my workouts. I would look at what I did the week prior, and that would be my reference to go by.
For example, if I did pull-ups the week before, I would do lat pulldown next week to change it up. Or if I did lat pull down at 100 kilograms for ten reps last week, the following week, I’d look at that and say, “Okay, I can either go for the same amount of weight and try to get a couple more reps. Or I can increase the weight to 125 kilograms and try to get the same number of reps (10 reps).”
This saves time trying to figure out what you did in past workouts, so you’re not trying to figure out what weight to use and reps to aim for. Plus, this’ll push you to perform better than the last workout, even if it’s just for one more rep or five more pounds. This is great for muscle growth which will, in return, burn more fat as well.
3. Avoid peak hours.
If possible, schedule your workouts around peak hours when other gym goers are also trying to fit in their workouts. This will help you get more done in a shorter amount of time simply because you won’t be waiting around or fighting people for the workout equipment you need.
Also, always be prepared to switch things up if you get to the gym and see that someone is hogging your favourite machine or pair of dumbbells you need. Finally, it’s essential always to have a “Plan B” if things don’t always go according to plan.
For example, if the squat rack will be held up for the next 15 minutes, hit up the hack squat machine.
4. Set yourself a time limit.
In this gym workout tip, make a pact with yourself the amount of time you want to spend in the gym and keep it. For example, if you say I only want to spend 45 minutes, then you’ll be pushing yourself to make sure you get your workout in. It’ll prevent long rest periods that aren’t necessary and a great way to keep your heart rate up to maximize fat burning.
If you need to, make it be known to others you’re on a strict time frame. For example, if you know Tommy will talk your ear off, tell him from the get-go that you only have 45 minutes to workout. He should get the hint so you can focus on you, and only you, in that time frame. If your goal is fat loss, you’re most likely going to be training with a minimal amount of rest periods between your sets.
5. Have your post-workout drink ready.
You just worked your butt off in the gym and broke down muscle fibres; now it’s time to replenish them. Think of your muscles as dried out sponges after a workout. They are desperate to absorb nutrients ASAP. You have what most call “the golden rule,” where it’s important to eat within one hour of working out.
I make sure to have my protein powder already loaded up in my blender bottle, so all I have to do once I’m done working out is add water. If you don’t live in an extreme heat climate or if it’s in the cooler seasons, you can even keep an extra protein container in the car along with a spare shaker bottle, so if you forget to plan, you got yourself covered. I like the “No Excuse” rule.
I know we all live super busy lives, and some days, working out becomes the last on our list. But by applying the five gym workout tips I’ve given you, you’ll be able to maximize your workouts in as little time as possible.
You don’t have to feel obligated to talk to everyone, nor be there for an hour to gain lean muscle or lose belly fat. If you’re willing to invest just a tiny fraction of your day in working out, you’ll realize just how quickly you can get a great workout in a while burning fat.