Let’s face facts. You’re wasting precious time in the gym. Time that could be used to accomplish what you came there to do in the first place.
In this fast-paced world we live in, it’s tough enough to find time to get to the gym, so when you are there you need to spend it wisely.
Don’t think you’re guilty of abusing the clock?
You’d be surprised at how much time you spend talking, checking social media, and just plain daydreaming. Some banter with friends is permissible, but if an hour goes by and you haven’t accomplished much, then you may need an intervention.
Most of us aren’t satisfied with our progress. We’re always looking to go further, be stronger, get bigger and leaner.
We tend to blame our training program or diet plan. So, we change things up by trying new training techniques or going on a new diet when maybe all we really need is to pick up our pace, focus on our training, and get to work.
Below are 7 common ways to waste time in the gym and guarantee success will always be just beyond your grasp.
1. Bring your phone
This is possibly the biggest offender of all. We live in an age where people cannot live without that little compact computer in their hand.
Yes, it can do some amazing things, but do we seriously need it wherever we go? Do we constantly need to check, recheck, and then check again for notifications? A better question is are we that bored in the gym that we need constant entertaining?
What to do: If you are the type who can’t be without it, then it may be time to take away your “pacifier” while training. Texting, talking, and tweeting is causing others to hate you. You are taking up stations in the gym and space that can be used by others who are actually working out. You are also doing yourself a disservice by wasting time and avoiding effort.
Leave the phone in your car or at home. Yeah, I knew you wouldn’t like that advice, but you will need to so you can focus on your workout, work your butt off, and then get out.
Time saved, workout done, gains gotten.
2. Enter without a plan
Imagine going to work and winging it. You get to your job, look around and see what looks good to do. No plan, no thought, no progress. Okay, maybe some people actually do that, but you get the idea. Why would you go to the gym without any plan of action? Would you build a house without blueprints?
What to do: I’m not saying you have to have every single detail mapped out, but having an overall plan of action is important.
Is it building muscle mass? Strength? Leaning out? Your workouts, sets, reps, volume, frequency, rest periods, pace, and exercises should all reflect your goals. Keeping your focus on all the aspects of your training when you enter the gym doors will be more powerful than any crazy workout you throw together.
Take some time at home to write what you want out of your training and then create a specific plan of action regarding how to get there.
3. Pack your ego
One thing most gyms don’t lack is ego. Gym bros trying to outdo each other for the sake of bragging rights, newbies attempting to train like veterans, and show-offs trying to impress the yoga pants-wearing chick by the dumbbell rack.
It’s a veritable zoo full of wild animals vying for dominance. And the funny thing? While all that nonsense is going on, no one is really paying attention to how to train properly.
What to do: As painful as it may be, leave your ego at home. You may be thinking, I don’t have an ego.
Well, we all do it to some extent; putting a little more weight on the bar than we can handle, cheating a few too many reps up, and possibly skipping proper warm-ups and mobility work. Stop trying to sprint up the mountain; get further on your journey one step at a time.
4. Treat it like a club
Sometimes it seems like the only difference between the gym and the local bar is that one serves alcohol.
Is your gym a hangout to gawk at women? If so, do you really think you’re being discrete? Again, your hanging out is taking up valuable space, wasting other’s time, and prohibiting you from progressing.
What to do: A little chit-chat is fine between sets. Heck, the gym is a great place to cultivate new friendships and maybe a relationship. But don’t make that your main motivation. Set aside a small amount of time before and/or after your training session to socialize away from the main workout areas.
I’m not saying become a recluse and talk to no one, just be smart about it. Train when it’s time to train and save the “clubbing” for another time.
5. Catch up on your day
As some will treat the gym like a club, others see it as their hangout to talk about their day ad nauseam. They talk about work, their home life, or the game last night. It seems that they have so much information to dispense that they never get around to their workout. The real crime here is that they prevent you from working out as well.
What to do: If you’re guilty of this crime, you need to stop. It’s fine to have a word here or there during your workout, but having an in depth mind-dump about your day is completely different.
Save those monologues for grabbing a beer with your buds or after training. If you find yourself as a victim of someone else trying to corner you, simply smile and communicate that you’re on a tight schedule and need to get your workout going.
6. Unwind and relax
You’ve seen them. Those individuals who are there to just chill. They sit on benches, and either stare into space or watch one of the numerous tvs mounted all over the gym. They are there to relax and unwind. 10-minute rest periods are not uncommon.
What to do: Snap out of it. You are there to train. Yes, the gym can be viewed as a place to unwind, but not in the relaxing way. It should be a place to get away from your hectic work life and let off some steam. Wake up, stay in the present, and become engaged in your training plan. Think about what it is you are trying to do and get to work.
7. Save your strength
When it comes to your training parameters, rest periods will be mainly dictated by what your goal happens to be. Is it strength gains, building more muscle mass, or increasing muscular endurance?
Related: Maximize Your Gym Time
If all of these styles of training call for differing rest periods, then why do so many gym-goers spend so much time in rest mode? Resting for extended times does allow you to recover more completely so you can muster more strength for your next set. But how much is enough?
What to do: If your goal is to gain muscle and reshape your body into a muscular one, then low-to-moderate rest periods are in order. Your goal should be to fatigue muscle fibers down so they trigger responses to grow thicker during recovery. If you are more than 4 minutes between sets then you are simply going for strength only.
Don’t be a victim of ego and only train to lift more weight if muscle size is your goal. Pay attention to rest periods. 1 to 2 minutes will suffice.