A Quick Start Guide on Making Your Training Efficient & More Effective
So, you want to start exercising and building a body you can be proud of, yet you haven’t found a way to be consistent with your fitness efforts. If someone asked you why—you would most likely mention not having enough time, or it’s too difficult to juggle work with fitness, and other typical excuses.
We all have plenty of daily responsibilities, so it’s easy to see why it can be difficult to consistently stick to a fitness routine. However, the thing that the majority of people miss is that exercising doesn’t have to be too time-consuming. You can achieve your desired results while still living a well-balanced life and taking care of all your responsibilities.
How can you do this?
By shifting your training mindset and focusing on efficiency over anything else. Use these seven strategies to make your fitness regimen more efficient and effective while maintaining a balanced lifestyle.
1. Develop a Game Plan
Regardless of the goal, achieving your desired results starts with developing a sound game plan. Sports teams, political campaigns, and military units all develop a strategy before any further action is taken.
Ever notice the people in the gym who are aimlessly wandering around and jumping from machine to machine with no clear purpose? They’re usually in the gym for an excessive time period but come away with little to show for it.
Before entering the weight room, create a workout plan. Know what exercises you’re going to do and only do those exercises.
2. Shorten Your Rest Periods
Most gyms these days have TVs at every corner, and it’s easy to get distracted by them. If it isn’t the televisions, it’s our friends and fellow gym buddies who won’t stop rambling. Always keep in mind that a gym is a place for exercising, not a meet-and-greet networking event.
Besides keeping you focused, shortening your rest periods keeps your heart rate up, which leads to more calories being burned during that particular session.
3. Place a Priority on Compound Exercises
Compound exercises are movements such as the squat, deadlift, chin-up, shoulder press, and bench press. These should be given more preference than isolation movements (like bicep curls and leg extensions) because they’re multi-jointed movements.
“Multi-jointed movements” is simply code for exercises that are using multiple muscles per movement. These are beneficial because you’re working and affecting more muscles with one movement as opposed to needing to use many exercises to accomplish the same feat. Multi-jointed movements lead to more muscle being built and more calories burned in that time period.
4. Use Challenging Weights
“Heavy” weights are going to have different meanings depending on the person. Lifting heavy weights simply means to pick a weight that challenges you but still allows you to safely lift the weight with correct form.
Lifting challenging weights is beneficial because it creates a greater metabolic effect within your body (i.e. burning more calories) and helps you obtain the coveted “toned look” that most people want.
Complete at least one exercise during each session where you’re lifting a challenging amount of weight in the 4 - 6 rep range.
5. Implement Supersets
Besides implementing compound exercises and shortening your rest periods, another great way to reduce your time in the gym is to superset your exercises.
Supersetting your movements simply mean to perform exercises in a back-to-back manner with little to no rest in between. Besides saving time, supersetting is going to help burn more calories and increase your muscular endurance.
A simple way to get started supersetting is to pair one upper body exercise with one lower body exercise. Alternatively, you can pair opposite movements, such as one chest exercise (i.e. push movement) with a back exercise (i.e. pull movement).
6. Stick to Full Body Routines Over Body Part Split Routines
It’s tempting to emulate our training role models on the covers of magazines, but the majority of people would be better served not to follow in their footsteps. Beginners especially need a full-body routine when they start training so they target their muscles more frequently and build up their skill level.
Full-body routines are more metabolically taxing (i.e. calorie burning) on average compared to working a specific body part each day. Both types of routines are beneficial and have their purpose, but for those who are pressed for time, nothing is going to beat a full-body routine.
7. Limit Sitting Exercises
We sit enough for eight hours during the average workday, not to mention during a daily commute. So heading to the gym and riding a stationary bike or using the leg extension machine is most likely not the best way to achieve your goals.
When deciding which exercises to implement, choose ones that have you standing. Exercises that require you to stand are more challenging and recruit and engage more muscles.
Finding the time to workout every day can be difficult, but small changes to your strategy can help you get the results you’re looking for with much less of a time commitment.