How To Maximise Your Gym Sessions In 5 Easy Steps
Going to the gym can be a daunting task at times, but if you know how to get the most out of your sessions, then exercising starts to become increasingly straightforward. Here are five basic ways to guarantee yourself a more productive workout.
1) Make a plan and stick to it!
It’s crucial that you design a realistic workout plan before starting each session. Think about your goals: what are you aiming to achieve from the workout? You don’t even have to write it down – having a definite routine mapped out in your head can often be enough to guide you. You don’t want your session to descend into meandering aimlessly around the weights section pondering what to do next, or dithering next to the treadmills as you debate whether to go for a run.
Indecisiveness will lead to a lack of focus (see step 4!), and it’s likely that your motivation will start to wane, which will in turn have a negative effect on the success of your workout. Formulating a plan beforehand eliminates uncertainties and allows you to mentally prepare for what is in store, without getting distracted by other possibilities.
2) Be realistic
Make sure your plan reflects your abilities and goals realistically, but still maximises your time and uses your energy efficiently. For example, if you have only recently started using free weights, try and stay away from lifting weights considerably heavier than those you know are manageable. This will help you avoid getting any injuries which could force you to modify your exercise plan halfway through your session. Changing and altering your plan can delay your workout and cause you to lose focus, a problem which we will address in step 4.
3) Perform each exercise to the best of your abilities
Your workout will only be successful if you avoid slacking off. Why set the treadmill speed to 11kph when you know you’re capable of maintaining 12kph? With bicep curls, why not try doing your final set of reps “to failure” (in other words, until you can’t do any more)? Making your plan “realistic” doesn’t mean you should make your session as easy as a walk in the park. Ensure your workout challenges you, and that you perform each exercise to the best of your ability.
4) Stay focussed
As any professional athlete will tell you, focus is the key to success; focus supplemented with a lot of hard work, of course. Staying focussed is so much easier when you follow steps 1 and 2 properly. Particularly focussed gym sessions usually tend to be very productive. If listening to music is something that helps you focus, bring your iPod to the gym. If quiet reflection helps you get in the zone, find a peaceful spot to mentally prepare for the demands of your workout beforehand.
In addition to any sports drinks such as, or any protein shakes you might use, make sure to ALWAYS take a big bottle of water into the gym with you. A drop in your body’s hydration levels can negatively affect performance, and will mean that you won’t be able to make the most of your gym session. Look out for like dry mouth, headaches and dizziness.
Provided you already have the motivation to go to the gym in the first place, following these five extra steps will help you make the most of your sessions. Each step requires very little effort, and will allow you to spend your time and energy in the gym much more productively.
Paul Mex is a part-time fitness coach who also works at. He enjoys sharing his experienced views with the online community.