How do you ensure that you’re not wasting your time in the gym?

Fitting a workout around your busy schedule is a push sometimes, so how do you make sure you get the very best from the precious time set you’ve set aside?

Today we’re going to share 5 tips to make sure you get in an effective workout every time.

1. Have a Plan

If you walk into the gym without a plan[1], you’re going to end up wasting time. Even if you have a rough idea of what you’re looking to get done, time spent scouring through the different weight machines between sets can quickly add up.

Make a detailed workout plan before heading out the door. Write it down or save it to your phone. This simple change will maximize the benefits you’re getting from your workout instantly [2].

If you feel like you need a helping hand making a training plan, simply head online: there’s a vast quantity of great information on social media that can provide basic guidance and advice.

2. Prepare Your Body

When you get into the gym, make sure to warm up properly. This includes a variety of static and dynamic stretches, as well as priming the core.

Cooling down is essential in making the most of your workout. If you cool down and stretch effectively, you’ll have less DOMS for the next time you step onto the treadmill [3, 4].

Make sure that your diet is tailored to boosting recovery between workouts too [5,6], and remain active [7] on recovery days. Ensure that you are using legal supplements in the right quantity to speed up the muscle recovery process for better result. Recovery is not about doing as little as possible; it’s about choosing what you do carefully, to make sure you’re feeling great for your next trip to the gym.

3. Pick the Right Weight

We’ve all seen people struggling through sets with weights that are clearly a bit too much.

It’s important to remember to set aside your ego in the gym in favor of getting in an effective workout. Never sacrifice form for weight. Egotistical lifting is more likely to get you injured [8] than it is to get you stronger.

4. Don’t Multitask (Put Your Phone on Airplane Mode)

Working out isn’t just about improving your physical health, it’s about improving your mental health too [9].

Remove distractions: your time spent exercising should be time spent on you, for you. Relax and use your workout as a form of self-improvement and meditation [10]. Once you walk into the gym, leave all your stresses at the door and practice focusing on the present.

5. Track and Celebrate Progress

Effective workouts are performed with a goal in mind. Your goals can be set on a session-by-session basis or be longer in duration – they all count.

Tracking progress towards long-term goals can keep you motivated. You’ll see have far you’ve come since you started and be able to figure out exactly what it is you’re doing that is most effective in reaching your goals [11,12].

Celebrate progress with small rewards to yourself–just make sure these rewards aren’t going to reverse your progress.


[1] Gollwitzer, Peter M. “Benefits of planning.” The psychology of action: Linking cognition and motivation to behavior (1996): 287-312.

[2] Scholz, Urte, et al. “Increasing physical exercise levels: Age-specific benefits of planning.” Journal of Aging and Health19.5 (2007): 851-866.

[3] Shellock, Frank G., and William E. Prentice. “Warming-up and stretching for improved physical performance and prevention of sports-related injuries.” Sports Medicine 2.4 (1985): 267-278.

[4] Pearcey, Gregory EP, et al. “Foam rolling for delayed-onset muscle soreness and recovery of dynamic performance measures.” Journal of athletic training 50.1 (2015): 5-13.

[5] Manore, Melinda, Nanna L. Meyer, and Janice Thompson. Sport nutrition for health and performance. Human Kinetics, 2009.

[6] Kerksick, Chad, et al. “International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: nutrient timing.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 5.1 (2008): 17.

[7] Tessitore, Antonio, et al. “Effectiveness of active versus passive recovery strategies after futsal games.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 22.5 (2008): 1402-1412.

[8] Ubied, Abbas Hussien. “An Analytic Study of Recurrent Sport Injuries and their Causes.”

[9] Taylor, C. Barr, James F. Sallis, and Richard Needle. “The relation of physical activity and

exercise to mental health.” Public health reports 100.2 (1985): 195.

[10] Bahrke, Michael S. “Exercise, meditation and anxiety reduction: a review.” American corrective therapy journal(1979).

[11] Ahtinen, Aino, et al. “User experiences of mobile wellness applications in health promotion: User study of Wellness Diary, Mobile Coach and SelfRelax.” Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare, 2009. PervasiveHealth 2009. 3rd International Conference on. IEEE, 2009.

[12] Paton, Chris, et al. “Self-tracking, social media and personal health records for patient empowered self-care.” (2012).

Amanda Roberts

Amanda Roberts is one of the authors behind Nutrition Inspector. She writes about health, nutrition and fitness articles to help people live a healthier lifestyle. Follow her on Facebook at Nutrition Inspector.