The number one excuse people have for not exercising: lack of time. U.S. adults are spending more hours at work than ever before. With the majority of our time being spent at work, and trying to balance family and social time, it can seem impossible to carve out the time needed three to five days every week for exercise.
Although the amount of time spent at work may have increased, the average adult still spends 2.7 hours watching TV everyday.  This is time that could easily be reduced and spent fitting in your workouts. After all, how many Netflix episodes does one really need to binge on every day?
Truthfully, most people who use the time excuse actually have plenty of time, it’s just distributed incorrectly. Auditing how you spend your day is a great way to find the extra time for exercise. That being said, many of us still want to minimize time spent in the gym while still reaping the benefits. (Not everyone loves to be miserable and sweaty, am I right?).
Once you’ve found the precious time for the gym, avoid wasting it with these common pitfalls:
Social Media Between Sets
We’ve all probably done it at least once. You finish your set and can’t help but check your phone. This leads to an unplanned five minutes of scrolling through Instagram or your Facebook feed. It’s easy to see how doing this after every set can eat a lot of time out of your workout, as well as make your breaks longer than they should be for maximum effectiveness.
Leave your phone in the locker room during your workout. It’s OK to unplug for forty-five minutes or so from the rest of the world. If you use your phone for music, there are apps that will stop all notifications from Facebook and Instagram for a predetermined amount of time. You can also put your phone on “airplane mode” to prevent receiving texts.
Waiting For Equipment
Some people love having a routine. They start with the same exercise and go in the same order every workout. The problem? What if one of the machines they need to use is taken up by somebody else. Now you are stuck waiting for an unknown amount of time in the middle of your workout.
Maintain some flexibility in your routine. If your usual order of events is halted by unavailable equipment, then move on to another exercise and come back later. You can also ask to “work-in” with the person on the machine you need. Working-in involves completing your set while they rest, and vice versa. Additionally, you can try to avoid going to the gym during peak hours (if possible).
Spending Too Much Time Stretching
You’re lying on the ground foam rolling when you realize you’ve been foam rolling the same muscle for ten minutes. This form of stretching for more than two minutes will provide little additional benefit. Additionally, stretching every muscle is not going to improve your performance. Stretching is inherently a corrective activity, meaning you should identify (possibly with the help of a professional) which areas you should specifically focus on and forgo the rest.
Identify the problem areas that require the focus of your warm-up and corrective work. Additionally, you can keep to a timer and complete your stretching in a timely manner to avoid spending an extra twenty minutes or so at the gym.
Getting Trapped By “Chatty-Kathy’s”
Every gym has those men and women that LOVE to be social and talk to everyone. You may notice that getting locked into a conversation with them causes you to spend an additional ten or fifteen minutes (or even longer) on small talk.
Wearing headphones can help you avoid being a social target. Most people understand it means you are not open to being social. Additionally, it’s OK if you do get roped into a conversation to politely excuse yourself to finish your workout.
BONUS TIP: Try Supersets To Shorten Your Workout Time
Supersets are two exercises that work different muscle groups completed back-to-back. The idea behind supersets is that one muscle group is resting while you are performing an exercise for the other, greatly reducing your rest time (and the total workout time). Give it a try when the gym is slightly less busy, or you may run into the problem of equipment being taken while you’re jumping from one exercise to the other.
If you have carved out the time for exercise, and want to maximize your efficiency so that you don’t spend all of your free time in the gym, then you want to avoid making these mistakes. I encourage you be mindful of these behaviors when you’re working out so that you can best prevent them from happening!
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