Last updated on April 5th, 2023 at 02:47 PM
Despite what the gloomy weather may suggest, spring has officially arrived. While many see this as an opportunity to spring clean their home, it’s also a great time to assess how your fitness regime is going so far and refresh it for the rest of the year.
With PureGym’s recent UK Fitness Report highlighting that 1 in 3 (36%) feel they don’t have enough time to work out, there’s a clear need for more efficient exercise in the modern day.
To help, PureGym PTs Chiara Albrizio and Zach Taylor-Colwill have compiled their top tips on how people can get the most out of their time at the gym and make each element of it as worthwhile as possible, without spending any more money.
If you want to make your workouts work harder, these tips will help!
What To Do Before Exercising/Going To The Gym?
- Plan your workout
Zach Taylor-Colwill, who is a personal trainer and the Assistant Gym Manager at PureGym Brislington, says the key to any good workout, starts with a good plan.
“People without a plan are often found wandering around the gym wondering what to do, what can waste a lot of time. Planning your workout before you go makes it easier to get a good workout in, in a shorter space of time.
When planning your sessions, make sure that you have contingencies, for example a ‘Plan B’ or ‘C’ in case certain equipment or space is being used. Again, this will save a bit of time and stress on your part.”
- Schedule it in
This focus on planning is echoed by Chiara Albrizio, personal trainer at PureGym Sheffield, but she says it isn’t just about what you plan to do with your workout, but also when you plan to do it.
“Schedule gym time in advance and make it a priority. Rather than saying you’ll go to the gym later, set the days and times you’ll go each week and stick to it.
By setting dedicated time aside for exercise, you reduce the likelihood of procrastinating or being too busy to go. Building the time into your life can ease the stress of simply trying to ‘squeeze’ it in on the day because you’ve already skipped out a few sessions.”
- Plan your nutrition
Good nutrition helps to fuel the body for your workouts and have enough energy left to properly recover.
“Nutrition is fundamental to achieving your fitness goals. Batch cooking your snacks and meals means you don’t have to rely on cooking before a workout or heading to the gym when you’re low on energy.
Eating nutritious meals and drinking water throughout the day and before your workout will give you the energy needed to power through a workout.
It’s also helpful to have something healthy to grab when you finish your workout too, so you can refuel quickly without worrying about what to make or ordering a takeaway.”
What To Do During Exercise/At The Gym?
- Put your phone on ‘Focus’/’Do Not Disturb’ mode
“Whether it’s social media, emails, work, or something else, our phones are a huge distraction from the ‘now’, and when it comes to gym time, a one-minute rest can easily turn into five or ten minutes when we are sat scrolling. I personally have an iPhone, and ‘Focus Mode’ allows me to customise what notifications come through to me while I’m training so I can hide the ones I believe are less important. Less screen time at the gym means more efficiency while I work out” explains Zach.
If you’re guilty of spending gym time on your phone, cutting down your screen time is an easy way to cut down your workout time.
- Focus on compound exercises
The exercises you choose can play a big part on how effective your workouts are, and how long they take. Chiara has a series of tips on the sort of things people can do to maximise the efficiency of their workouts, starting with a focus on compound exercises:
“Compound exercises, such as squats, deadlifts, and pull-ups, work multiple muscle groups at once and are highly effective for building strength and muscle mass. Incorporating these exercises into your workouts saves time and maximises efficiency.”
- Try supersets
Chiara also says ‘supersets’ could become your new best friend if you want to cut down your workout time without compromising on effort: “Supersets involve performing two exercises back-to-back, minimising the amount of rest you need and saving time.
Supersets work particularly well when pairing exercises that work for opposing muscle groups, or when you want to increase the intensity of your workout.”
- Make AMRAP your favourite acronym
AMRAP, standing for ‘as many rounds as possible’ is a great option for anyone tight on time who wants to still get in a great workout. Chiara explains, “If you are short for time and have 15-30 minutes, AMRAP workouts are a great choice.
You simply choose your exercises and complete them in a circuit, aiming for as many reps and rounds as you can in the time you have. Make sure to factor in rests, for example, 40 seconds on and 20 seconds of rest. (Intervals of work to rest will depend on your training abilities).”
- Time your rests
Optimising your workout isn’t just about the actual exercises themselves, but what you’re doing in between too. A lot of time can be lost on your phone or through other distractions, as Zach explains, “Most people don’t plan to take long rests but it’s very easy to get distracted by your phone or to get lost in thought, rather than being present in the moment.
By timing your rests, you avoid spending a long time doing nothing. It’s an easy way to fly through your session and be more efficient while working out.”
Chiara agrees, adding, “reducing rest time between sets can help keep your heart rate up and make your workout more efficient. Aim to rest for around 30-60 seconds between sets on days you’re short on time.”
What To Do After Exercise/Going To The Gym?
- Get enough rest and recovery
While you don’t want to spend your gym time resting, it is crucial to prioritise this between workouts to allow your body to recover – a burnt-out session is never going to be a good one. Take at least one full rest day a week and prioritise sleep – it’s one of the best ways to recover, and it’s free!
“Rest and recovery are just as important as the exercise itself. Make sure you are getting enough sleep and taking rest days to allow your body to recover and repair” says Chiara.
- Eat well
Just as it is important to think about pre-exercise nutrition, what you eat post-workout can impact your gym gains and how quickly you can recover for the next session.
Chiara explains that “nutrition is a fundamental part of achieving your goals. It’s important to refuel to promote recovery and prevent overeating later on.
“Have a snack or meal ready at home so you can replenish the energy you have expended and feed those muscles straight away.
Remember though, a nutrition strategy needs to be specific to you, your lifestyle and your goal, so it’s sustainable, enjoyable and aligns with what you want to achieve – if you don’t like chicken and rice, don’t prep chicken and rice!”
Feeling ready to save on time but boost the effectiveness of your workouts? Get more ideas from PureGym and their PTs, with a host of free workouts for all levels.