How to Maximize Your Gym Time
Some days between work and family and social obligations, just getting to the gym is a feat in and of itself. So, hats off to those of you who are showing up and getting it done multiple times a week. But, in addition to showing up, what happens once you get here is obviously critical. Are you making the most out of your time at the gym? Or are you just putting in enough effort to check “workout” off your to-do list?
For those of you in the latter group, here are some tips for maximizing your gym time so that each and every workout puts you closer to your health and fitness goals.
- Communicate – When you’re working out in a group environment like ours at Synergy, it’s important to communicate with your trainers. The trainers are there to guide you through your workout, keep you motivated and ensure your form is on point. But you are in control of your workout. So, don’t be afraid to speak up if something is too hard or you need to modify an exercise to your specific ability.
- Disconnect – Nowadays, technology has us connected 24/7. And while being accessible has its advantages, it can also be a tremendous distraction. Staying focused is a big part of getting the most from your workout. So, consider leaving your phone in the car or at least leaving it in your coat. But certainly do not bring it on to the gym floor. Don’t let conversations by text or social media drama detract from the time you spend working on your fitness.
- Turn Up the Intensity – It’s easy to zone out during your workout and coast through your exercises especially if you’re doing cardio. But as you know, it’s not the amount of time you spend working out that counts, but the level of intensity you put into it. Aim to alternate between periods of moderate and all out exertion where at the low end you can carry on a conversation, and at the other end, it is difficult to talk. Research has shown that varying your heart rate at different intervals enables your body to continue burning calories long after your workout is over.
- Fuel Up, Before and After – While there are varying opinions on eating before a workout our best advice is to have a snack that is easy on your stomach and won’t weigh you down while you workout. A banana with peanut butter or a Greek yogurt fit the bill. Afterwords, go for a meal that combines lean protein (chicken, fish, eggs) with healthy carbs from vegetables.
- Stay in Control – Have you ever been at the gym and watched someone fly through their exercises almost frantically pumping out their reps and sets? While they may be exerting themselves and working up a sweat, research shows that you will get more out of your exercises by taking a slower, controlled approach. Focus on your form as you perform each exercise and keep your muscles engaged for the full rep. And, aim to keep your core engaged – even during non-core exercises – for even greater calorie burn.
- Stay Hydrated – Drinking water during your workout is an absolute must. As you exert yourself and your breath becomes heavy, your body loses oxygen. Drinking water helps to replenish your oxygen and keep you energized so you can workout at your highest level. Be sure to go into your workout fully hydrated and follow up with 8-16 ounces more after you’re done.