One of the hardest things when starting or restarting an exercise program is getting the most out of the time you are investing in the gym.
It doesn’t matter if you have all the time in the world or a quick 20 minutes in your lunch hour, there are a few golden rules to follow to ensure that the time you do spend exercising is pushing you towards what you want to achieve.
1. Intensity beats duration.
Just because you spend 60 minutes in the gym doesn’t mean it has been effective. Did you stop for a 10 minute chat? Did you even get out of breath during your 20 minutes on the bike? Did you actually burn many calories? Its very easy to think that just because you have worked out for an hour that you now have a free run on the fridge contents. However, if your intensity is low you probably burnt off a lot less than you think.
2. Do multi-joint movements
A very simple way to increase the intensity of your exercise time is to use multi-joint movements. These are those movements that work lots of muscles in one movement such as the clean and press, squat, bench press and deadlift. If time is at a premium, performing 3 sets of each exercise with 45-60 seconds rest will work your whole body in 20 minutes. If you have more time after, you can add isolation exercises such as bicep curls and tricep pushdowns as well as cardio.
3. You do long bouts of cardio!
Stop! Unless you are training specifically for a long run don’t spend hours on end pounding the treadmill. There is no denying that cardio burns a lot of calories so logically it makes sense to burn off 500 calories on the treadmill. However creating a calorie deficit should come from two things – your food intake and your exercise / activity during the day. One of the best things to alleviate boredom when it comes to cardio and also utilise less time is high intensity interval training (HIIT). Here you do between 30 and 60 seconds all out followed by 90 – 120 seconds of rest. This will burn through calories and help keep your metabolism boosted for next 24 to 48 hours – something your treadmill plod won’t provide.
4. Keep a training log
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not keeping track of what you are doing in the gym. How far can you go on the treadmill in 15 minutes? Write it down in a pad or use an app on your phone and then the next time you attempt it you have a target to beat. Keep track of weights lifted and reps completed and aim to be moving forward with every workout.
5. Consistency is king
When it comes to creating a body and physique to be proud of, those who consistently commit to the gym a minimum number of times per week always end up hitting their goals more efficiently than those who blast out 4 sessions, then don’t go for a fortnight. Your body is constantly adapting to its surroundings and stimuluses, so keeping up a regular gym habit will mean you are in a constant state of adaptation. If you have a few weeks off your body becomes used to the reduced strain on the muscles and so you go backwards. Pick days and times of the week that you can exercise week in, week out and stick to them. It doesn’t matter if you only have half an hour twice a week, it will make a huge difference.
6. You stick to what you know
Often it’s easier to stick to exercises that either you like or feel most comfortable doing and so it’s very easy to get into a comfort zone. Make sure every workout challenges you. Increase the weight, change the reps, cut down the rest or try a completely new exercise. Anything that challenges your body to adapt will enhance your results.
Still struggling to see the results you feel you are working so hard for? The problem most likely lies in your diet. Start tracking your intake using one of the many free food diary apps and get an idea of your calorie intake and adjust accordingly.
Coming soon via the Robofit app will be the ability to get an exact breakdown of how many calories you should be eating a day along with a breakdown of how you should break these in to carbs, protein and fat to maximise your results.
Your workout program will also adapt with you to make sure you are being challenged by every workout.
Interested in being a tester for the new app? Click here to join the list!