By: Alonso Chavarriaga
Build a Solid Plan for the Gym
This is not an efficient way to utilize the gym, and aside from wasting your valuable time, doesn’t benefit you in any way. DeSimone argues that you should always have a solid plan before hitting the gym. Have an idea of how long you will be working out, and what you will be doing. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends at least three days of cardio, two days of strength training, and one day of flexibility training to maintain a good fitness level.
If you know you want to do cardio, do you know how long, and which exercise? Where will you move to once you finish? If you are using the treadmill for 30 minutes and plan on moving to the elliptical for another 30 minutes, for example, know that ahead of time. Instead of arriving at the elliptical and finding out someone already took it, use the gym mirrors to your advantage and determine ahead of time if someone is occupying your next exercise. If so, continue using the treadmill for the remainder of time without skipping a beat.
For weight training, realize that it’s not the same as muscular endurance. If you can do between 10 and 15 repetitions of a weight, but would have great trouble completing another, that is weight training. Anything over 15 reps can be considered muscular endurance, as is running and swimming. When switching between exercises, give yourself only 30 seconds or so to make it to the next one in order to reduce the time spent lingering.
Take Advantage of Gym Offers
DeSimone also urges you to take advantage of free offers whenever possible. With a paid gym membership or health club, this usually means a free personal training session, an orientation, or free fitness classes. This will help you learn more about what you need to do at the gym. Many orientations also give you baseline measurements so you can keep track of your progress. Be careful with classes though; avoid socializing too much with others, and adopt a “one and done” attitude. Taking more than one class at a time will just result in weakened form and an overworked body.
Lastly, consider changing at home before and after the gym in order to avoid wasting too much time talking in the locker room. Instead of spending an extra 15 minutes changing and walking around, head straight home. Not only will you be able to shower and change in the comfort of your own home, but you won’t be at risk of running into an old friend that will take up a chunk of time due to catching up on gossip.