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7 Ways to Get a Better Workout at the Gym in Less Time

These tips for getting a better gym workout in less time are from personal trainers, strength coaches, and boot camp instructors. Even if you only have 10 or 15 minutes to work out, you can get fit fast!

First, here’s a tip from trainer and nutritionist Ariane Hundt:

“Pure coconut water is a great source of hydration and electrolyte replacement without all the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) that you find in most sports drinks. Corn syrup actually promotes fat storage in the body, which means you’ll have to work out harder and longer if you drink those sports drinks.” Hundt, founder of the Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp, says coconut water has just 15 grams of sugar per serving, which burns off in just 20 minutes of hard exercise.

My favorite way to get a better workout in a short amount of time is to avoid the gym altogether! I love the 10 Minute Solutions DVDs – particularly the 10 Minute Solution: Blast Off Belly Fat workout with Suzanne Bowen.

But not everyone likes to work out at home. So here are…

7 Ways to Get a Better Workout at the Gym in Less Time

Do your warm-up on the way to the gym

To avoid waiting for cardio equipment, consider walking, jogging, or cycling to the gym.

“A warm-up consists of 5-10 minutes of low to moderate activity that uses large muscle groups,” says Edmonton-based exercise physiologist Lisa Workman. “If the gym is too far away, even parking your car at the far end of the lot – or two or three blocks away – can make a difference. Or, get off the bus a couple stops early and jog the rest of the way.”

You’ll arrive already warmed up, which will help you get a better workout and cut down on the time you have to spend at the gym.

Create a game plan

“Most people who go to the gym flounder around, thinking about what to do next,” says Brad Schoenfeld, author of 28-Day Body Shapeover. “This is inefficient and reduces the quality of a workout.”

He suggests writing down your exercises and times before going to the gym  – and taking your schedule with you! This will eliminate the time it takes to make decisions at the gym, streamline your workout, and help you work out more efficiently.

Consult your “library” of exercises

Even if you have your workout mapped out, Workman suggests a back up plan. “A ‘library’ of exercises will give you something to do if the equipment you need is occupied,” she says.

How do you build your workout library? Research reputable sites on the Internet, memorize moves from a group fitness class, or scrutinize fitness books or magazines. First, make sure you know the basic workout tips for beginners.

Monitor your rest periods

“Most people rest far too long between sets, heading to the water cooler and chatting with friends,” says personal trainer Narina Prokosch, owner of Victoria Wellness Professionals in BC. She suggests using a stop watch or the gym’s clock.

“Limit your rest periods to 30-45 seconds, and be ready to start back onto your next exercise as soon as the watch dictates.” She also suggests incorporating “active rest” exercises, which don’t require great amounts of energy, but still keep you moving. Core exercises are great way to get a better workout at the gym without wasting time – they’re one of the best “active rest” exercises.

If you want to get a better work out at the gym and save time, read How to Lose Weight When You Hate Sweating or Can’t Exercise.

Use multi-joint moves (the more muscle groups you use, the better)

Schoenfeld explains that multi-joint moves involve more than one joint; good examples are squats, lunges, rows and presses.

“Since these moves involve a large number of muscles, they’re more efficient than single joint moves, such as leg extensions, leg curls, or flys,” he says. “You don’t have to do as many repetitions to develop the same number of muscles.” He suggests compound moves for even greater efficiency (exercises that combine two movements into one).

Workman agrees; she likes to combine wall ball squats with biceps curls or stationary lunges with a shoulder press. “This both saves time at the gym and maximizes energy expenditure, which translates to more calorie burn and a better workout,” she says.

Leap into interval training

Workman – who lives up to her name! – encourages interval training, if you’ve been doing cardio three times a week for at least six weeks.

“Intervals increase cardiovascular stress and physical fitness, and shorten the time you’re on the machines,” she says. She suggests aerobic intervals of three minutes at slightly higher intensities (increased speeds, grades, resistances, etc.), followed by 1.5 minutes at your regular level. Repeat 4-5 times.

Maximize your nutrition for a better workout

Jon-Erik Kawamoto, a strength coach in Burnaby, BC, says, “If you want to maximize your workout, you must maximize your nutrition.” He recommends a protein/carbohydrate source 60-90 minutes before your workout, and another protein/carbohydrate source within 30 minutes afterwards to maximize your recovery.

“A pre-workout favorite of mine is a scoop of protein powder in milk with a piece of toast. A post-workout favorite is a scoop of protein powder and orange juice,” he says. “You have to replenish your energy stores and rebuild the muscle you just broke down.”

These are good tips for getting a better workout at the gym — but I’m still convinced that exercising at home is dope. Read 8 Reasons Are Better Than Gym Workouts to learn why!

If you have any tips for getting a better gym workout in a short amount of time, please share below…

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