Most people waste a lot of time in the gym which adds more resentment and less effectiveness to their exercise routine. Here are some time saving methods –

Change Quickly or come dressed – Most people judge the time it takes to exercise from time in the door to leaving. While I was on the cable machines for 30 minutes the other day I started timing how long it takes from people walking in the door to actually doing the first bit of exercises they did. Many many people were taking 10-15 minutes before they even did anything. Just come prepared and get straight into it.

Warm-up quickly – The classic warm up fitness protocols have you doing 5-10 minutes easy exercise to get you going. This is just dead time, you are much better doing a quick 2 minute active stretching routine and then using progressions of intensity on the exercise in hand, e.g. starting off slightly lighter/slower for a bit before going into the higher intensities. In reality it is only the heavy complex movements of dead lifts, cleans etc that require you to be really prepared body wise. Likewise with sprinting compared to jogging. Most single person workouts do not need much to allow you to be safely prepared to train.

Forget exercise order – There is nothing more ridiculous than waiting 10 minutes to use a machine simply because someone wrote your programme down in a specific order. While some people feel there is magic to an exercise order for 99% of people it has no effect. If you simply adjust the intensity used based on fatigue you will be fine, e.g. squatting first in the gym you will use sligtly more weight than if you did it last exercise of the day.

Faster Cardio – If your goal is fitness then shorter and harder training will usually be more beneficial than longer and easier. This can save you a lot of time. Pick one machine/form of fitness and just go mental for 10-15 minutes in total.

Eat better – Most people are trying to out exercise a bad diet. The statistics on this are completely stacked against you with the ability to eat food way above the ability to burn it off as shown in this chart –

Fill you rest periods – When weight training, instead of doing a set of a exercise and then waiting for a minute, instead put another complimenting exercise in the rest period and alternate between two exercises throughout the session. This will greatly reduce your time in the gym

Adapt your exercise workout to the time of the day – Some gyms are more like a rush hour tube than a place to exercise at certain times of the day. Look to adapt your training plan so it doesn’t involve using the most popular machines/equipment which has you waiting to get on for hours. Personally there are only a couple of workouts I will do in prime time due to equipment availability. I would also reduce any prime time exercise workout down to a few machines over a long elaborate list of exercises as once you have some equipment you will lose it if moving around.

Increase Exercise Selection – Almost every exercise has a handful of alternatives you can use. If you only know 1 or 2 it will limit your options in busy times. By adding in some more exercises into your exercise bank,especially those needing no equipment you can rapidly decrease waiting around for exercises.

Learn to Use Rep Tempos – If you do free weight exercises then adjusting your rep tempo is an easy way to make an exercise harder or easier through the time it takes you to move through the movement. A rep tempo has 4 sections. Time to lower the weight, the pause at the bottom, time to lift the weight up and time waiting in the start position. By slowing down the movement in the hardest parts and reducing waiting in the easiest parts you can make the same dumbbell, e.g. 6kg feel like 10kg, therefore avoiding have to wait for the specific weight to become available. 

Learn to use leverage – In the same way as rep tempos if you adjust your arm or body position in many exercises you can make it much harder without actually having to change the dumbbell etc. This means you do not have to waste time waiting for something that is not being used because you can turn any dumbbell from 5 – 10kg into an appropriate weight to use.

Stay Focused – Often the exercise session is effective for 20-30 minutes then you lose focus and drift off a bit and end up wasting another 30 minutes while only doing about 10 minutes actual work. If you notice yourself drifting off day dreaming or wandering aimlessly just end the session and come back fresh another day. If you have a set plan you “have to/want to” finish then reminds yourself of it and fly through it to get in and out ASAP 

Stop Gossiping – If you are in the gym for an hour and talk to people while not exercising for 45 minutes you have taken an hour to do a 15 minute session. Not good time efficiency wise. If you are looking to get in and out then you need to keep the tempo up. If you happen to be speaking to someone then carry on exercising at the same time. Another way is to put the I pod on and nail through your workout then take it off to talk to people. With a stern and focused look on your face most people will not talk to you.

Switch Off Your Phone – The fastest way for my workout to head downhill is to open up whatsapp, facebook and text message all my motivation out of the room. An hour session with 30 minutes on your phone is once again a 30 minute session that took you an hour to do.


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