Whether you’re a seasoned gym-goer, completely new to the fitness scene or somewhere in between, chances are you have the same goal in mind – and that’s to complete the most efficient and effective workout possible. Why? Because you likely don’t have all day to spend at the gym. So, you want to go in with the limited time you do have and make the most of your workout.
Always remember, that showing up is half of the battle and performing ANY form of movement or physical activity is a fantastic first step. However, the next question many people ask is, what’s the ideal amount of time for a workout? I’m sorry to say but the answer is: it depends. To keep it simple, you should workout for however long will keep you motivated to keep going back. If you’re new to the gym, 30 minutes, 3 times per week is a great starting point. The more comfortable and confident you become, the longer your workout can be. Those who have a more specific goal may opt to train for up to 1.5 hours a day, 5-6 times per week.
But for those of you who have a packed schedule with little wiggle room, here are some key guidelines you can implement to ensure you have a great workout in a minimal amount of time.
- Workout with a plan. Going to the gym without a plan is like baking a cake without a recipe. You never really know how it will turn out! Planning your workout will help you avoid wandering aimlessly from one piece of equipment to the next and wasting time. Rather, you should go in with clear training goals and know exactly what exercises you’re going to do. If you’re not sure where to start, you can download the Anytime Fitness Workouts App which has over 1000 workouts to choose from. OR, you can do some research and create your own.
- Ask for help. Don’t risk obtaining an injury because of bad form. Watching Instagram influencers or reading a few articles does not necessarily mean you have a good understanding of how to do a particular exercise. Instead, talk to a Coach in your gym to ensure you’re on the right track. Having a Coach will help increase your results, motivation and accountability. Take advantage of the experts in the club – they aren’t scary!
- Warm up. Approximately 85% of gym goers don’t warm up effectively. A proper warm up should be part of every workout you do. It’s important to note that hopping on a bike or using the cross trainer is not as effective as dynamic movements. By taking your body through a proper warm-up, you’ll help each muscle increase its range of motion and, as a result, reap the full benefits of each exercise. A dynamic warm-up should take at least 5 minutes.
- Strength training. Having strong muscles not only helps prevent injury, but also helps you move better in your every day life. Research shows that strength training helps keep our heart healthy by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If you’re not comfortable with strength training equipment, ask a friend to accompany you or check in with one of the Coaches who can show you how to use it.
- Cooling down. Cooling down is another portion of working out that people commonly dismiss. However, cooling down should be planned into each session. If you’re short on time, even performing 1-2 mobility exercises can make a world of difference in muscle recovery. Additionally, the faster you recover, the faster you can get back to the gym. The muscles in your body need to return to their optimum length-tension and with proper mobilisation, you help regulate blood flow. You can cool down by using a foam roller for myofascial release (AKA self-massage).
- Track your progress. Tracking your progress gives you a tangible way to see results and ensure you continuously challenge yourself. Note down what exercise you did, how many reps and sets, weight used, speed and even the duration of your rest periods. Next time you do your workout, you’ll be able to tweak the difficulty by changing any of these variables.
- REST. Yes, exercising regularly and consistently is key, but you also must learn to listen to your body. Going too hard day in day out and not recovering effectively can lead to symptoms of overtraining. Never underestimate the power of sleep. Keep this formula in mind: Work + Recover = Results.
The ideal workout will always differ depending on your goals at the time. That’s right, your goals will continuously be changing as you achieve them! So, ensure that you plan for the next. If you keep in mind these 7 steps, you’ll always be one step closer to achieving your results successfully.
By Adriana Kalidis, National Fitness Coordinator, Anytime Fitness
Adriana brings over 15 years of experience to the fitness industry gained as both a personal trainer and manager specialising in rehabilitation, functional training and Olympic lifting. She is passionate about moving with purpose and has a background in martial arts and adventure sports such as snowboarding, rock climbing and trekking. Adriana is always looking for the next thrill to satisfy her hunger for adventure!