Six Tricks To Save Time, Boost Strength & Burn Fat At The Gym.

Working 40 hours a week, family responsibilities, social engagements… “I don’t have time to work out.” It’s one of the most common lies of the 21st century. With such busy schedules, it’s no surprise that many of us are trying to minimise the time we spend at the gym. An effective workout is an efficient one and if you want to save time in the gym, it basically comes down to selecting the right types of exercises and using small tips and tricks to focus the mind and ensure the best quality of training in the minimum amount of time. Also it’s important to remind that a one hour workout represent only 4% of your day. So, no excuses allowed anymore, specially because excuses don’t burn calories!!! It’s time to make it happen. Let’s go? So, please take note:

1 Use antagonist supersets

Using supersets, alternating sets of two different exercises, you’re able to get more work into a shorter period, whilst still lifting heavy. That’s as good for your body fat levels as your busy schedule.

Antagonist supersets, where you work the same joint using opposite movements, are even better as they speed up recovery between sets, improve performance and help counteract muscular imbalances.

Some examples:

Flat bench press & barbell row

Overhead press & pull-up
Biceps curls & triceps extension
Standing calves raise & toe raises

If you normally rest 90 seconds between exercises then rest 60 seconds between each set here. Tick tock.

2 Use Complexes

Complexes are workouts similar to circuit training but using one piece of equipment. The high work rate means they’re incredible for torching fat, increasing stamina and improving cardiovascular health, but the big dump of anabolic hormones they trigger means they also have a part to play in muscle growth.

An example complex with a barbell:

Push Press
Front squat
Bent over row

Do 8 reps of each, rest for a minute, then do 6 reps, rest again, 4 reps, rest, 3 reps rest and finally 2 reps. Warning: you may feel sick afterwards. But it’s worth it.

3 Rework your warm-up

By jettisoning the classic 5 minutes of cycling and doing mobility drills instead you can save yourself time, and prep your body for better performance, meaning ultimately more muscle and less fat. Dynamic mobility drills warm up your muscles, but also prep the nervous system and the joints to work hard.

For example do the following circuit, three rounds of 10 reps:

Leg swings
Downward dogs
X band walks
Wall slides
Knee circles
Lateral lunges

4 Time your rest intervals

The rest you take between sets is one important variable, just like the weight you’re moving. The thing is, left unchecked, there’s a tendency for them to gradually lengthen. Using a timer will help you regulate the intervals, and get in and out of the gym faster, but they can also be used to improve performance and lower body fat.

By keeping to pre-set timings you can take the guesswork out of rest periods, helping you to perform better. Rest periods for max strength should be 2-3 minutes. If muscle gain and hypertrophy is you goal use shorter rests for 45 seconds to 2 minutes.

To boost fitness and cut fat, play with the intervals. For example week one set your timer for 2 minutes rest between all sets, then every week decrease the rest interval you’re using by 15 seconds until you get to 45 seconds.

5 Focus on what works

Too much of people’s training consists of ‘junk sets’, ones that don’t contribute to the end result, but that simply waste time and energy. The first step to avoid the junk is to focus on the right movements. The vast majority of your time and effort should be spent on the big compound exercises like presses, chins and pull ups, deadlifts and squats. The second thing is to avoid diminishing returns.

That fourth or fifth set of bench presses may hurt but it probably isn’t doing very much. Once your form fails and you have to start lowering the loads most of the big returns on invested time and effort have been had. The time used up by these endless sets or isolation exercises is much better spent sorting out a protein-heavy post training meal.

6 Use a training diary

A training diary is the single most important piece of training kit you have access to, as it allows you to do two vital things: plan ahead, and track your performance.

For most workouts you should know exactly what you’re going to do when you hit the gym. This improves focus and the quality of your session, and also means you’re not wasting time ‘um-ing and ah-ing’. Plan what movements you’ll use, decide on sets, reps and rest and have a suitable back-up for each exercise should the equipment be busy.

Your body needs to be constantly challenged to improve, and it’s hard to do this if you have no idea what weight you shifted, and how tough it was last time. A training diary helps you track the variables like weights, exercise selections, rest periods and so on and gives you the info your need to challenge yourself every time. Sweaty? No? Why you still sitting? Move your bum and let’s pump!!!

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