Going to the gym is supposed to be a mystical, magical time when we get lost in our thoughts and focus on lifting our problems away or running far from our stress, only to return home rejuvenated and happy, feeling like we did something great for ourselves. But alas, that is just a novel idea in the end. Fact is, our lives are so busy, we are always rushing and sometimes day to day things creep into our workout time. Or we make them a habit. In the end, not only do we lose out on our own personal time, we actually waste precious time by not working with our goal.
Harsh right? It sucks to think we are sabotaging our workouts and maybe not even knowing it. Wasting time? Ain’t nobody got time for that! Some gym time wasters are in your face. The general public scoffs at them but secretly does the same thing. We are all guilty of at least one of the things on this list and it may change from day to day, depending on our moods or the drama in our lives. The key is to recognize what we spend our time on and if it’s meaningless stuff that keeps us farther from our end goals, then habits have to change. We aren’t here to mince words and make you feel better about any of this, we are here to motivate you to change your time-wasting ways and get the most out of your gym time.
15. You go too easy on yourself
Give one good reason why you should go easy on yourself at the gym. Really. There is not one good reason. People pay tons of money to have trainers push them to their very limits to reach results but what? Here you are wimping out on that last rep because you had a bad day? You’re not doing yourself any favours by allowing yourself to relax at the gym. It completely defeats the whole purpose of working out or hustling hard towards a goal. Ignore the voice that says you can’t because we all well know you can. So next time you want to be more gentle than necessary, remind yourself NO PAIN, NO GAIN!
14. You’re unprepared
We’ve all seen the floundering gym members that look like they’re in la la land more than they’re there to work out. Like lost souls they meander around, trying to plot their next move, uncertain of where to turn. Chances are they went in with the novel idea of going to the gym but haven’t the slightest idea what to do. This one is so easy to solve. Do your research online and proceed with confidence. Find a routine you can try, pick a muscle group with intention, go in with a concrete plan as to what you want to accomplish and you’re more likely to do it.
13. You’re inflexible, no pun intended
Granted, you can go in to your workout space with a concrete plan but when you arrive, the machines are full, the free weights you want are being used and the only treadmill left is broken. Ok, so you have to be flexible. Jump on a bike, find a replacement exercise, be flexible in the exercises you are going to do, taking into the account you aren’t the only person to use the gym. You can still get the same work out you had planned for, it may just take quick creativity on your part. The key is to keep moving and sometimes you have to switch it up last minute to do so.
12. You wait for equipment
This goes along with being flexible with your workout. The time you spend waiting for that one particular machine, your body is cooling down and you’re wasting time. What are you waiting for? Do you have time to waste? Doubtful! Use a different machine for the same muscle group, do your projected routine backwards, ask to jump in with whoever is on the machine you want to use, do anything but standing there doing nothing. You have a myriad of opportunities to wait in line or chat, don’t do it at the gym when you have so many options.
11. You’re not doing supersets
Supersets are sets done one after the other without rest in between. For example you can do 10-12 reps on the chest press and then jump over to do 10-12 reps on a lateral pull down, without having any rest. You do the same amount of work in half the time and when you’re done one set of reps in one place, you’ve rested enough to hit the next set at the next place. This kind of working out, supersets increase the intensity of your workout but cutting down on recovery time. There’s no downtime allowing you to get in a fierce workout that fits into any busy schedule. A plus to supersets, you look like you know what you’re doing.
10. You’re stuck on machines
It’s Monday night and the gym is rammed. Not one machine available in sight. Do you give up and go home or do you get creative? Cut the umbilical cord and leave the machines behind. Try exercises with free weights, balance or your own body weight. Do walking lunges or perfect your squat. Machines are great for beginners or to really isolate certain muscles but it’s always good to keep things fresh and engage some of our stabilizer muscles or give our core an intense workout. Free yourself from the notion you need machines for a good workout.
9. When you’re warm, you’re warm
Before engaging in any type of exercise, it’s a known fact that one must warm up. It gets the blood flowing through the body and to the muscles, signaling they have work to do ahead. Here’s the thing, once you’re warmed up, you’re warmed up, you don’t need to waste your time warming up before every exercise. Jumping on a cardio machine at a moderate speed for at least 10 minutes is great to get your blood pumping. For weights, once a muscle group has been warmed up with a set at a light weight, you don’t need to keep doing warm up sets because the muscles have already been used, the blood is there. Don’t go overboard with excessive warming up, it won’t do you any favours.
8. You do your cardio before your weights
If your goal is to lose weight or burn fat, skip the lengthy cardio before you do your weights. After resistance training, your metabolism is racing faster than ever, you’re on fire! Blood is pumping, muscles have been used and used well and now, your metabolism is raging meaning you’re burning more calories than before you lifted. By doing cardio after weights, you kill two birds with one stone by getting more bang for your buck working with your body. Granted, you may be a bit tired after your weight training, just think of the strength you would have taken from your lifting had you run four miles before you even tried.
7. You think you’re at the club
Yes, being a gym-rat is kind of like being a member of a special club but it doesn’t mean you have to act like you’re AT the club. We’ve all seen the people who do more talking at the gym than working out. It’s like a social outing where they exchange fantasy football predictions, jovial anecdotes about their weekends or use their workout as a friend counseling session. It’s the gym. Why are you talking so much? If you’re working out intensely, you won’t be so talkative. obviously your workout is taking the backstage to your social life. Why not leave that at home and focus everything into the task at hand?
6. You text and lift (or sit)
Ok, for real, leave your phone in the locker or at home. Not only does it look lame that you’re sitting at a machine texting but someone could be waiting for that exact machine in the sidelines. It’s just common courtesy to do what you have to and move on, but more and more people at the gym spend their time texting or chatting on their phones, confirming plans for after the gym than really getting down and dirty and using their time wisely. All the messages will still be there when you’re done and it’s not like you’ll be away from your phone for more than a couple hours. Give yourself permission to be unreachable for a bit.
5. Save the locker routine for home
Yes, there’s a locker room with a pile of amenities that all members can use but seriously, if you’re going to the gym to work out, why can’t you put your deodorant on at home? Why can’t you shower at home? The more time you spend in the locker room, making things ‘just so’ the less time you have for the action you came for. Toss in your jacket, lock it and start your warm up. The more time in the locker room means less time on the floor. You’re at the gym, not the spa so go in ready to work it.
4. The Water Fountain Trap
Get a water bottle, a really big one. Busy gyms have long lines for the water fountain and in the time it takes you to fill your bottle, you’ve been cooling down, doing nothing, and wasting your own time. This is easy to resolve with one simple investment of a huge water bottle. Arrive with it full, throw in some lemon to feel special. Even one less trip to the water fountain for a refill saves you time waiting in line and keeps you hot and focused on your workout at hand. Who has time to waste waiting in lines? Not you!
3. Admire yourself at home
Yes, it’s temping in a room full of mirrors to want to stop and have a good look, maybe a little flex, take a little selfie, #beastmode? There is no lack of ego in any gym and hey, there’s nothing wrong with admiring your hard work and how it’s paying off. But do it at home! This is not to say you can’t use the mirrors to check your form but the whole dominance dance for the girl in yoga pants is a weak distraction and no one is paying attention how to train properly if they’re busy looking in the mirror. There is a time and place for everything and the gym is a place for blood, sweat and tears, not hashtags.
2. You don’t eat enough
This part starts at home. In the same way you shouldn’t be a closet binger, you can’t put yourself on a rigorous fitness routine and not fuel your body before, during and after your workouts. You’re working against yourself by working out and skipping lunch. Where is your body supposed to get the energy and nutrients to heal if you don’t eat? This is definitely a time waster that starts before entering the gym doors and continues after we leave. Proper nutrition is proven to help you reach your fitness goals so eat, eat, eat (wisely)!
1. You closet binge eat
Everyone starts working out for different reasons but many do it for health and esthetic reasons. Changing your lifestyle is never easy and bad habits die hard. If you don’t use your will power at home by curbing your junk food ingestion, you’re technically only working out to eat candy or cake. If that’s why you work out, then do your thing but if you want to see bodily changes from all the effort you’re putting in, put down the doughnut. You’re wasting your time at the gym if you plan to eat a whole bag of Cheetos when you get home. You may be able to hide your junk food habit from others but you secretly know why you’re not seeing the results you want.
There you have it, just a handful of things you might do that completely waste your time at the gym. Those few moments you stow away for yourself each day, you might actually be self-sabotaging by allowing interference from the outside world or just being weak in will-power. No one said getting in shape was easy and it doesn’t happen overnight. If you are going to make the commitment to get fit, then you may as well make the most of the time and energy you invest, right?
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