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10 Ways to maximize your efforts at gym

Updated on September 11, 2013

For people with busy schedules, the gym is not a place that you can spend hours trying out equipment, waiting in line for the machines, conversing with random people or friends you bump into. It can be both productive and a quick stop on your way to work or when you're headed home, but you need to be strategic. Staying motivated at the gym and getting excited about the changes to your body will only happen if you plan accordingly and stick to it. Continue reading for some quick tips on how to maximize your efforts at the gym!

1. Preparation

Plan out your week and your goals. How many times would you like to gym a week? What time will you be training and how much time can you dedicate per gym session? If you have your schedule set and stick to it, the excuse “But I don’t have time for the gym!” will never be an issue.

2. Warm Up / Cool Down

Increase the benefits of your warm up and ward against potential injuries by warming up for 10 minutes and cooling down for at least an additional 10. Warm ups will increase contraction, relaxation and reduce muscle stiffness by oxygenating the muscles. Jog on the treadmill and do some dynamic stretches. Cool down aids in the dissipation of lactic acid which will help with muscle soreness. It will also help lower your heart rate in a safer way to reduce chances of dizziness or fainting. Try walking on the stepper at a low level or riding a stationary bike for your cool down. Warming up and cooling down will insure that your workout does not leave you feeling extra drained or sore, ensuring you’re ready for the next training session.

3. Don't Overdo It

Know when enough is enough. You must work up to heavy weights, no one starts lifting heavy, if you try it,you’ll spend the next two days stiff and exhausted from overdoing it at the gym. Stay true to your workout plan and only push yourself to a reasonable level. This way you’ll be feeling the burn without waking up feeling like a chimp.

4. Stay Hydrated and Sweat it Out!

Take your weight, divide by 2 and add ounces… that is how much you should be drinking per day. Drinking enough water is imperative if you would like to stay fit and get the most out of your workout. A FitDay article explains that “to maintain proper hydration, it's important to drink water before, during, and after exercise. When heavy sweating is expected, drink two to three cups of water, two to three hours before exercise. Thirty minutes before exercise, drink five to ten ounces. During activity that causes a lot of water loss through sweating, drinking every 10 to 20 minutes can be beneficial. Those who sweat less can drink every 20 minutes. Apart from just hydrating for a great workout, drinking enough water will improve your productivity, boost your energy, clear your skin and rid your body of toxins. Stay hydrated and it will affect every aspect of your body in a positive way.

5. Shot of Espresso or a Banana

A caffeinated and sugarless drink like espresso will pick up your heart rate, aid in endurance during your workout and help you burn additional calories. A banana is also a great choice because they are literally nature’s power bar. Bananas are loaded with digestible carbs and packed with potassium that helps with nerve and muscle function. The perfect duo for a morning workout session is a banana and Greek yogurt 30 minutes before a workout so you’ve fueled up on both protein and carbohydrates.

6. Try Off Peak Hours

Monday at 5pm you will not get a treadmill, there will be an 11year old boy messing around on the last stepper and a line to the water fountain. Try going at off-peak times instead of 5-7pm try going before work, during your lunch break, or make time on a Friday evening when the gym is empty. If you are able to train at an off peak time, you’ll be able to take advantage of the ideal machines and have space to do your walking lunges.

7. Bug a Personal Trainer

If you are setting time goals then perhaps think of using a personal trainer for a few sessions. You pay by the hour so make sure you make it count. Before starting your personal training session do your ten minute warm up so it does not cut into your workout time with the trainer. Make sure you speak to the trainer about the areas you would like to target and about your diet. They are professionals in the health and wellness field so they usually have a lot of knowledge to pass on. Also pay special attention to the exercises you do and make sure you are aware of the proper way to execute them to get the most out of every exercise.

8. Classes

For the days where you would like to spice up your life try a fun and intense workout class. Depending on your gym and their schedule, the classes offered range from yoga to Zumba, Taibo or 2 Minute Abs. Check them out and test out classes by different workout trainers to see which ones you enjoy the most and which offer you the best workout. They usually last no longer than an hour, so taking an exercise class will keep your workout time sensitive.

9. Find Inspiration

Find inspiration on Pinterest and follow workout boards. Go hiking with friends or retweet quotes about fitness and exercise to keep you going. Your working out should be an enjoyable way to relieve stress and maintain fitness, so make sure every day is a positive one!

Follow @Women_Fit on Twitter for some great fitness inspired quotes.

10. Diet

Heading to the gym in the evening does not allow for McDonalds in the afternoon. To maximize your efforts at the gym you must take into consideration everything in your life. Start with enough sleep at night followed by a balance breakfast in the morning. Make sure you are eating foods that give you energy and that are filled with good fats that will aid in attaining your goal. Stay away from the sugary sodas, opt for H2O and snack on an apple with peanut butter for at midday.

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      Tasneem 3 years ago

      This article already has me more motivated! Thanks for the hub and the awesome advice.

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