Who out there loves wasting time? Umm, nobody. So make the most of your time at the gym and leave feeling accomplished. Here are some common mistakes to avoid during your next gym session.
1. Not warming up
One of the most overlooked parts of a workout is your warm up. Getting your mind and body ready for whatever you’re about to put it through is key to an efficient, not to mention safe, workout. Spend 5-10 minutes stretching and getting your blood pumping with dynamic movements. Mix together jumping jacks, body squats, lunges and a brisk walk. And get your head in the game by listening to some motivational music.
2. Not bringing a water bottle
This one is two-fold. First off, water is important (and cold water is even better). You’ll most likely spend your gym session sweating so you need to rehydrate. Second, not having a water bottle with you means you waste time at the water fountain. Use your rest periods to hydrate without losing focus so you can get the most out of your time at the gym.
3. Doing cardio first
Cardio is important, no matter what your fitness goal is. However, experts recommend ending your gym session with cardio rather than starting it. Cardio, while it gets your blood moving, makes you tired. Going into a weightlifting session fatigued tends to lead to poor form, injury and an overall inefficient workout. Start your workout with weight lifting and finish with cardio to make the most of your workout. Better yet, set aside certain days for weightlifting and days for cardio.
4. Not having a plan
Walking into a gym without a plan is like walking into a grocery store without a shopping list. It leads to a bunch of wasted time and an unsuccessful trip. Plan out your workouts so you can make the most of your time. Use a note-taking app to organize your workouts. If the squat racks are full, move on to something else and circle back. You’ll feel more accomplished if you go in with a clear plan.
5. Not using the right weight or number of reps
Depending on your goals, the weight and number of reps you perform will be different. For increasing muscle size, you’ll typically want to shoot for 3-5 sets using a weight that tires you out around 10-12 reps. For strength, you’ll want to aim for 3-5 sets using a weight that tires you out around 4-6 reps. Either way, your routine and weight should be changing every few weeks to ensure you’re progressing. Plus, it’ll keep you from getting bored.
6. Being on your phone
Having your phone with you is a great way to listen to music and time your rest periods, but it can also be a huge distraction. And distractions are a waste of time. Instagram can wait, so get your tunes going and turn off your notifications.