The average American spends over $1,000 yearly on fitness equipment and apparel. But that doesn’t mean you must spend every waking hour at the gym. Instead, try these 11 ways to reduce gym time without sacrificing results.
How Much Time Do You Need to Spend in the Gym?
You may have heard this before, but the results come from the kitchen. The gym is just the stimulus your body needs to reach your goals. And, unfortunately, spending too much time at the gym may hurt your goals rather than helping them.
In fact, research has shown that most fitness goals can be reached with sessions as short as 10 minutes. However, 20-30 seems to be optimal for getting results. But, of course, you must use your time wisely to see great results.
Here are 11 ways to reduce gym time and get your desired results!
11 Ways to Stop Wasting Time in the Gym
Here are 11 tips to help you have more efficient workouts!
1. Use Supersets
Supersets are a great way to slice your gym time in half! Rather than resting between exercises, you perform two back-to-back lifts with little to no rest time in between.
Make sure you have the equipment prepared, so you can easily switch back and forth without slowing down. It is also best to choose two movements that can be performed in the same area.
Choosing two opposing movements for the superset is best, so you don’t need to rest. However, you can also superset a heavy multi-joint exercise with a supporting lighter exercise.
For example, you could superset bench press with chest-supported dumbbell rows and use the same bench for both. Alternatively, you could superset bench press with dumbbell flyes or dumbbell tricep extensions and take a quick rest in between.
If you are trying to put on mass, it is better to choose two opposing movements. However, if your goal is to get leaner, you would be OK to choose two exercises for the same muscle group.
2. Use Drop-Sets
Drop-sets are another great way to reduce workout time and maximize results. Drop-sets are a form of strength training where you perform a series of the same exercise back to back from highest to lowest resistance.
For example, you could perform dumbbell curls like this:
- Round 1: weight that you can do only 4-6 curls
- Round 2: weight that you can do 6-8 reps
- Round 3: weight that you can do 8-10 reps
- Round 4: weight that you can do 10-12 reps
- Round 5: weight that you can do 12-15 reps
This method gets a ton of muscle recruitment in a short period. Additionally, you don’t have to take any rest time between sets because you lower the weight each time.
3. Follow HIIT Workouts
HIIT workouts are incredible for burning a ton of calories quickly, making them an excellent option for anyone trying to lose body fat. However, you can also build decent muscle with weighted HIIT workouts.
A simple full-body HIIT workout would look like this:
- Jumping jacks
- Side-plank hip dips
- Squats with leg raise
Perform each move for 30 seconds for five rounds.
You can find additional 20-minute HIIT workouts here.
4. Use Compound Movements
A compound movement is any exercise that uses more than one muscle group. These exercises burn more calories and recruit more muscle fibers making them perfect for any goal.
Some great compound movements include:
- Incline Bench
5. Take Shorter Rest Periods
Many people take long rest periods between sets. This is a good idea if your overall goal is to increase strength. In this case, you won’t need many sets and can keep gym time short. However, if you are trying to put on size or lose body fat, there is little need for extended rest periods.
In fact, you can get great results taking 30-second rest times between sets. This will increase your workout intensity, lending itself to higher calorie burn and better pumps in the gym.
Think about it this way, most people take a 2-minute rest in-between sets. So these people are quadrupling their gym time by waiting longer than necessary.
6. Stop Talking
If your goal is to shorten your time in the gym, get some headphones and focus on the workout.
Talking to your friends at the gym is fine, but it most definitely won’t keep your workouts short and efficient.
7. Mix Cardio and Strength Training
This almost didn’t qualify as its own tip as it is similar to HIIT or Supersets. However, it works slightly differently for those who generally throw cardio in before or after a workout.
Rather than performing the cardio before or after, perform HIIT-style cardio during your normal rest period. It will probably be hard at first, but it will massively cut down on gym time as you get used to it.
For example, you would perform one set of squats, then one minute of jogging. Then another set of squats, and so on. But this could be any cardio between the lifting sets.
8. Find a Motivated Gym Partner
Often, having a gym partner will extend your training sessions as it becomes a social hour. However, if you can find someone motivated to get in and out of the gym, you can easily cut down on gym time.
You can perform a set, rest as your partner performs theirs, and switch back and forth until all sets are completed.
It’s like having an accountability partner for short rest times. And, as a bonus, lifting with a partner increases the amount of effort you put in at the gym, helping you get results faster!
9. Have a Plan
Write a training plan, pay a trainer, or use a free training plan like those on our website. Choose a simple program that can be performed in a short amount of time, then stick to it!
This will reduce the time you spend moving between the equipment and will likely provide better results than lifting without a set plan.
10. Go at a Different Time
Often, a workout takes longer than it should to complete because you are talking to others or waiting for equipment. By going at a time when the gym is less busy, you won’t run into people you know, and you can easily shave some time off your existing workout regimen.
11. Focus on the Negative
Recent research from Edith Cowan University has shown that you really only get results from the eccentric part of a lift. So it may be time to stop worrying about lifting weights and time to focus on lowering weights… slowly.
There are a few ways to put this into practice. The first is to choose a unilateral movement and lift it as if it weren’t unilateral. For example: for leg extensions, lift the weight quickly with both legs, then lower it slowly with one. The second is to decrease the weight of any movement so that you can move it quickly for the concentric portion, then lower it for a three count on the eccentric part of the movement.
This tip is especially applicable to anyone trying to increase muscle strength or size. In fact, one eccentric movement for 3 seconds per day can increase muscle size and strength if performed 5 times per week.
This latest study shows we can be far more efficient in the time we spend exercising and still see significant results by focusing on eccentric muscle contractions.
Should You Cut Back on Exercise Time?
If you find yourself constantly fatigued, not having the motivation to work out, or not able to maintain your daily life, it may be a good idea to cut back on gym time.
The best workout plans are sustainable, and the gym shouldn’t be your life.
Plus, routine change can often give you renewed energy for working out!
How Many Hours Should You Spend in the Gym?
Really, you should be spending less than an hour at the gym. Realistically, you can get great results with 45 minutes or less. If you know what you’re doing, 20-30 minutes should be plenty.
There are two main reasons people feel like they need to spend more than an hour at the gym daily.
First, some people think they should spend as much time as possible in the gym because they believe it will help them lose weight. However, research shows that spending more than 30 minutes per session isn’t likely to lead to significant weight loss. Instead, weight loss comes primarily from a reduced calorie intake.
Second, some think spending more than an hour in the gym daily will strengthen them. However, if you are breaking the muscle down more than it can recover, you are only hurting your progress.
The goal is always to stimulate muscle growth, not annihilate the muscle fiber. And the amount of muscle stimulation it takes to grow can be achieved with about 20-30 minutes per day in the gym.
Did You Find These 11 Tips to Reduce Gym Time Helpful?
If you spend more time at the gym than you have, are getting burnt out, or not seeing the results you want, it may be time to shorten your workouts. The 11 tips above can help you get your workout time under control and still see incredible results at the gym!
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