We all have good intentions when it comes to making exercise a regular occurrence but let’s face it, sometimes that workout just doesn’t quite make it into the agenda.
What if we told you that you could do it all though? That you could have your kale and eat it too? ALAS, with a few simple time-saving workout tips, you really can cut that sweat session in half to get in a solid workout and still have time to watch that PVR’d Bachelorette finale.
Make a plan before you go
There’s a good chance you’ve seen it at your gym – those aimless wanderers who spend more time staring at machines than actually using any of them. If you’re anything like us, it’s hard enough to set aside time to get your workouts in throughout the week and, without a plan, this effort is often wasted by simple lack of forethought.
Spend 10 minutes before you leave your house planning out the muscle groups and exercises you want to focus on and stick to that when you hit the gym.
Perform interval training
Rather than spending 45 minutes playing Candy Crush as you effortlessly trek it out at minimal resistance on the elliptical (who even uses those arm handles anyway?), up that intensity to dramatically improve your cardiovascular health in half the time.
To get started with interval training, warm up for 5 minutes then begin by alternating between a quick 30-second burst of intensity (increase the speed and/or incline) and a 30-second recovery period (lower the intensity back down to your warmup specs). Repeat three to four times and build from there as you get comfortable.
You can also play around with timing or try a Tabata sequence to change things up.
Superset your exercises
Rest periods are important but putting your entire body on pause between sets of bicep curls doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense in terms of efficiency. Order your exercises so that you’re targeting opposing muscle groups then perform them back-to-back to let the first group rest as your target the second.
Keep track of your rest periods
Rest periods are not the time to hash out the details to your upcoming brunch event. Focus on how you’re breathing and what your heart beat feels like – when you’ve stopped panting and can get a steady pulse, your break is over and it’s time to get back to work.
Put your phone away
Music is great when you workout but if you’re plugged into your phone, it’s hard to resist that little beep of an incoming text. Your time at the gym should be enjoyable – a chance to escape from the rest of the world and focus on yourself. Tune out those texts by using an iPod for your music or, if you only have your phone, put the incoming messages on silent and resist the urge to check…your friends won’t be lost for that half hour you’re at the gym – nobody is that popular.