So many people think the more time they spend in the gym, the more calories they will have burned. The thought of letting any of that weight creep back on that they’ve worked so hard to lose keeps them glued to the elliptical for hours on end. Naturally, to keep yourself in the gym for 90 minutes or more, you will likely have to back off on the intensity a bit. Some people ration their heart rate between the aerobic zone and the fat-burning zone. While that may seem like it’s working wonders for you, the fact of that matter is it’s not. You are wasting your time, plain and simple.
A quicker, more intense workout is much more effective than a slower, less intense, but longer workout. A quick example of how to speed up a workout: instead of doing 3 sets of bench with rests between sets, followed by 30 minutes on the treadmill, try doing 1 set of bench, then jump on a treadmill and run at 90% for 5 minutes. No rest whatsoever. Repeat that combo two more times.
While the above example may sound pretty rough, you will see results much faster and avoid the dreaded plateau. A few other examples to make the most of your workout are listed below.
- Using good form. Doing 20 sets with bad form is just a waste of time. 3 sets of great form, lifting to failure is the best way to go. You will make better use of your time and see results much faster.
- Bump up the weight. Ladies, listen up…lifting heavy weights will. not. make. you. bulky. Period. End of story. If your routine is too easy and you are knocking out 15 reps like its nothing, it’s time to bump up the weight. For one, you will spend less time lifting because the heavier weight will cause the muscle to fatigue sooner. Also, in order for your muscles to grow (and you to get that lean, athletic appearance) you need to always be increasing weight over time. If it is hard and uncomfortable at first, stick to it, that’s the sign it is going to help you reach your goals.
- Stop using machines. Machines are a complete waste of time in the gym. Machines help assist you lift the weight. They keep everything in a straight path and do not require the use of your stabilizer muscles. If you aren’t using machines in a rehabilitation program, stay away. Stick to free weights only.
- Keeping cardio and weight training exclusive. There’s no reason you can’t do both to maximize your time in the gym. An example to incorporate cardio into your weight routine: Line up 6 dumbbells in a row, each increasing in weight by 5 pounds. You will perform snatches with each dumbbell, starting with the lightest and doing 1 rep. Continue all the way up until you hit the heaviest dumbbell. Rest 10 seconds, then begin with 2 reps on the lightest. Continue with this format until you reach 10 reps per dumbbell.