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Do you ever feel like your training sessions could be either more productive or that you should be able to achieve more in the limited time you have for exercise? Let’s be honest, doing any form of exercise is never time wasted, but you can use the time more efficiently to gain the best results possible. Exercise has numerous benefits, but when your time is precious its best to use that time in the best way possible. So here are a few tips that will help you maximize on your training session and get the best results you can.

Socialising vs working out

It’s easy to say that having a training buddy can be a boost for your motivation and getting you to gym, but it can also be a hindrance when it comes to putting in as much effort as you should be. It can be great to catch up with friends at gym, and we are all there for a common healthy goal, as well as have someone to be accountable to for missing sessions. If you are meeting a friend at gym or outdoors for a run, try to set a common training goal. Working together on one goal can help to achieve it faster and more effectively. For example, both deciding to train for an adventure race or to do your best 3km treadmill run. So although you are motivated by meeting a friend, you both have a goal to meet and you can both use your training time to push towards that goal.

Plan your training sessions

Walking around aimlessly in the gym, trying to decide which machine to use next is a great way to waste time. If you are someone who is able to go to gym and go with the flow, but still work hard, then that’s great, but if you are not sure what to do on each machine and just jump from one to the other, you are not getting the best out of your training session. In this situation, it is best to plan. Look at your week and what you want to achieve. In your strength training sessions, work out your routine and what weights to use. In your cardio sessions, look at your heart rate and time for the session. If you are not sure what you should be doing, it could be a good idea to see a personal trainer to help give you guidance and put together a program. You can let him/her know of your goals and time frames so that they know what to work on. Once you a have a program in place, your sessions will be far more structured and therefore you can reach your goal.

HIIT vs Endurance training

If you are limited in the time you have for your workout, why not include some high intensity interval training (HIIT). The speed of the exercise, reduced resting periods and functional movements all make for a high intensity workout. Keeping your h eart rate elevated at a high level for 20-30 minutes can be just as beneficial (if not more), compared to a long slow run for an hour. For all the benefits click on this link for more info on HIIT (Insert Link to HIIT vs Endurance Article).

Daily activities

When one is trying to be as active as you can and getting to gym or any form of exercise just seems to be out of your grasp, you can also include daily activities to help keep you as active as possible. Use every free minute you can in between meetings, car trips and even cooking your dinner. Actions such as taking the stairs when you have the chance, parking far away from shopping entrances to get more steps into your day and taking a walk in your lunch break instead of eating at your desk. You can also include inspiration and goal setting to keep you motivated. Printing out your goal, or having some motivational words or pictures to put on your computer screen or fridge can help to keep your mind on the goal and even give you inspiration to get up and move. It’s true that every little bit helps, so make the most of each minute.

Functional training

Getting a set of weights and only performing one muscle action in a certain amount of time can be good if you are working on isolating that muscle group, but if you have a specific time frame for an all body workout, it is best to perform a functional movement that uses more than one muscle group at a time. Functional movements, or compound movements, help to improve your co-ordination, proprioception, stability and strength. They help with performing our daily activities and use appropriate muscles with fewer exercises. This can be a far more efficient way of getting the best out of your gym session in the time you have available.

Start something different.

If you have been doing the same routine week in and week out it’s common to see your body plateau and you won’t get the same benefits as you saw in the beginning. This can also result in a low level of motivation and drive to keep training. To get you out of this slump, try something new. It can be anything from including more strength training, trying out a spinning class, increasing your weights or speeding up your cross training session. You can even look at swimming or hiking if you need to change it up. You can look at increasing your intensity, frequency and duration of the sessions as well. Your body should be changing routine every 6-8 weeks. In this time frame you can start seeing great results and it keeps you interested in learning or doing something new.

So if you are trying to fit in as much into your training session as possible, look at the smaller things that you can adapt. Are you using your time wisely and doing the right type of training in order to make the training session work best for you? You will love the feeling of being able to do more in the same time frame.