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10 Tips To Make Your Workout Super Efficient

By Holly / January 5, 2016

Synopsis: Are you pressed for time and having difficulty fitting in all of your reps and sets? Follow these 10 tips to improve your workout efficiency and reach your fitness goals faster.

Time is one of our most valuable resources. If you only have a limited amount each day for fitness: you need to learn to workout efficiently. This is a post designed to help you make the most out of your time in the gym, and reach your goals in a shorter amount of time by optimizing your workout sessions.

1. Have a workout plan, know what you're going to do and stick with it.

If you head to the gym without a plan, mess around for a little while and head home - your goals are going to seem unattainable. Have a workout plan that’s tailored to your goals either memorized, or written down in a notebook. In my next point will explain why I don’t recommend using your phone for this. On the same note of using a notebook you’ll want to record your workouts so that you know exactly what you did last time so you don’t waste any time trying to remember - or potentially progressing incorrectly with the wrong weights.

2. Leave your cellphone in your locker!

I see a ton of people texting, on social media, and delaying their workout by sitting on their phone. What happens if you only have one hour to get your exercises in and spent a quarter of it on your phone? Are you just going to leave out that part of your routine? Leave the phone at home, and focus on your workout to get it done - especially if you’re pressed for time.

3. Bring your water, shake, or intra-workout drink in a bottle.

How long do you spend walking back and forth between the fountain, or waiting behind someone getting a drink? Have your liquids handy and nearby in a bottle large enough to last your whole workout.

4. Map out the busy times at your gym and avoid them.

We all know that horrific feeling when you roll into the gym at 5PM and you see how full the parking lot is. If you’re able to hit it up earlier in the morning and fly through your workout – that could save you 10-15 minutes in your day which would otherwise be wasted waiting for the squat rack or bench. Get in there at the time that’s going to make your workout the most efficient and painless.


5. Superset

One simple way to get more time out of the gym is to rest for less time! Superset your big lifts with a complimentary one to keep your workouts intense and short. Pair your exercises with an antagonist superset, which means you pair two opposite muscle groups like biceps and triceps, chest and back, or quads and hamstrings. Try pairing bench press with barbell or dumbbell rows, curls with tricep pulldowns, or squats with hamstring curls.

6. Make sure your pre-workout meal is on point.

The last thing you want is to start feeling tired or hungry part way through your workout. This means that your pre-workout nutrition needs to be on point. You need to be consuming an appropriate amount of calories including high-quality carbohydrates, proteins, and fats 1-2 hours prior to your workout (you’ll need to figure out the timing that works for you).

7. Do big compound lifts like the squat, benchpress, and deadlift.

These three major compound lifts are going to be hitting several body parts at once, hence them being called “compound”. This means that you can get a full-body workout in a short amount of time. These lifts are commonly used in conjunction with each other to work all of the muscle groups including the legs, back, chest, and shoulders without having to do more than a few exercises. Include these in your programming to lower the amount of exercises you need to do and be out of the gym faster.

8. Monitor your rest periods.

Some programs will call for a certain amount of rests, where others may leave you wondering. If you’re doing a higher-rep program you can probably get away with resting as little as 30 seconds or up to 90 seconds between sets for muscle growth. For the bigger compound lifts you may want to rest for 2-5 minutes between sets to allow your central nervous system (or CNS) to recover fully if your focus is to gain strength. Bring a watch or look at the clock to make sure you’re not resting for too long between sets as this time could add up!

9. Plug in your headphones and get to work - no socializing.

If you’re a regular gym-goer, chances are you might see a few familiar faces during your workout. Try to treat your workout like a focused session and avoid socializing in between sets. As touched on above, you want to monitor your rest period - and one way to blow through that timer is to chat it away. Stay focused on the workout plan, and nail those sets and reps in the most efficient amount of time.

Follow these easy tips to make your time in the gym count. Especially if your schedule is tight, you want to prepared to get in there and finish your workout in your allotted time to reap the full benefits.


10. Do a proper warm-up!

Your warm-up can consist of a few minutes of cardio, using a foam roller to warm up your muscles, or working with resistance bands to get your muscles stretched and moving. Warming up properly can reduce your risk of injury, and being injury free is the ultimate key to an efficient workout - because if you’re injured you can’t work out at all!

Happy lifting!

About the author


Thank you for reading my article! I am Holly Nunan, a mother of three daughters aged four, six and eight. I'm an Exercise Physiologist with a passion for exercise, fitness, raising healthy children and natural and alternative remedies. I have a simple mission to help each reader that comes to our website to take away one new piece of healthy information that they can immediately apply to their life. If I've helped you find that today, it's mission accomplished!