If you’re like me, there are days that I don’t have a lot of time to spend in the gym – and I work in one! On those crazy busy days, I need an efficient, yet effective routine that still pushes me toward my goals.
Here are my tips for making the most of your time before, during and after your workout:
Pack your gym bag the night before. If you know you’ll be rushed to get out of the house in the morning, take a cue from when you were little and set out your gym clothes, music and sneakers the previous night. Then you’ll be able to ensure that you have everything you need, without tearing the house apart to find your other shoe! Sleep well knowing you can wake up prepared to start your day off on the right foot (pun intended!).
Create a playlist ahead of time. Make a few designated play lists on your music device; a longer one for an endurance workout, a fast-paced one for your HIIT session and a calm, stress-reducing song list for a stretch routine. If you have these, and other workout-specific set lists, you won’t waste time during your workout selecting or skipping songs that don’t motivate you.
Utilize the fitness staff. We’re here to help you! Your certified fitness professional can create a customized exercise plan just for you. In fact, we can show you many ways to get the same results – you won’t get bored and you have options! Only 20 minutes to exercise? We can find a solution. If you’re traveling, we can modify the workout so you can do it on the road, outdoors or in the hotel room. You just have to ask.
Ask to work in. Just because someone’s using the machine you need, doesn’t mean you don’t get your workout in. Most members are happy to share equipment – just politely ask to work in, and you can take it one step further and return the weights or settings to those the other member was using. It’s a great way to maximize your time in the gym, and who knows – you may just make a new gym buddy!
Perform multi-tasking exercises. Depending on your goals, there are many ways to combine movements and multi-task in the gym. Get your heart rate up and increase your power with body weight exercises. Calm your mind and improve your flexibility with a stretch routine. Even if you have limited time, you can still get in a great workout. Ask your fitness professional for goal-specific multi-taskers.
Nourish yourself. What you eat and drink after exercising can affect how you feel the rest of the day, and can even influence how you perform during your next session. Make sure to supply your body with the nutrients and energy you may have depleted during your workout, and replace any water loss with plenty of hydrating fluids.
Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahJChicago