Not everyone who works out wants to spend more time at the gym if they can help it, which means that you have to pinpoint some smart ways to get the most out of every visit and hone your exercise routine for top results in the shortest time possible. If you learn the secrets of savvy workouts, it is perfectly possible to create a highly effective and efficient exercise routine which could take just thirty minutes, a few times a week.
The issue that many regular gym attendees have to contend with is that it's easy for your progress to plateau. When that happens, you may not get the results you're used to, which is why you may want to shake things up and work to boost the effectiveness of your routine. Please note, the tips and suggestions here are given based on the assumption that you already have an established workout routine and aren't diving in at the deep end. As you will know, fitness levels take time to rise and you have to build up your training regimen. Avoid trying to do too much too soon.
Limit Workout Time
It might go against conventional thinking to suggest that spending less time at the gym for each workout session might improve your fitness levels, but after about 30 minutes of solid exercise the benefits of continuing start to diminish.
If you are spending more than 30 minutes working out, it’s likely that the intensity of your workout will be lower. Instead, try to work at a higher level of intensity for a shorter period of time.
If you‘re a regular at the gym, you’ve probably memorized your treadmill workout. At this point you may not be challenging your body as much as you used to during those familiar high-intensity spurts such as a sprint routine.
If you’re not finding the workout as exhausting, or difficult, as it used to be, mix things up by extending those intense intervals, increasing your speed and even shortening your recovery period in order to challenge your body once again.
Raise the Bar
The same scenario applies to strength training. You need to keep challenging your muscles when it comes to the amount of weight you are lifting.
As your strength improves, performing reps becomes easier and this often means that it takes longer to exhaust the muscles you’re targeting. If you aren’t feeling the fatigue after 10 reps like you used to, raise the bar and go with a heavier dumbbell. Heavier weights will decrease the amount of time you spend on weights, but if you don’t feel you’re ready to increase in weight, add more reps at the lower weight to continue challenging muscles.
Add Compound Exercises
If your current workout involves isolated muscle exercises like bicep curls, a great way to maximize your efficiency and reduce your workout time is to add a few compound exercises. These exercises target multiple muscle groups at the same time, so with a just a few of the right moves you could actually get a full-body workout in half the time.
Some great compound exercises that are worth incorporating into your routine include:
Change Your Routine Regularly
If you stick to the same workout routine for any period of time, your body will start to adjust to the stress level. When that happens you won’t be getting as effective of a workout as you could be, or once did.
Mix up your routine to keep your body and mind interested in the task ahead. For strength training, look to change your routine about every couple of weeks. As for cardio, it is often better to cross-train rather than only running for every workout.
More Effective Circuits
There’s a common mistake when it comes to circuits: Many people tend to do multiple sets of the same exercise without a rest period between sets.
The problem with this approach? It doesn’t allow a sufficient recovery period for your muscles, which means that your workout isn’t as effective as it could be.
Try a different approach which involves doing multiple exercises in each set. This will enable you to achieve a more effective circuit where you don’t necessarily rest between exercises, but do give each muscle group a rest and take a small break between sets.
The end result is that you will get a great cardio workout while also doing your strength training, which will definitely boost the effectiveness and efficiency of your regular workout routine.
Lisa B. Sims is a fitness coach. She loves sharing her insights with others by posting online. Her articles appear mostly on health and fitness websites.