Five ways you can be more efficient at the gym


guy on the phone at the gym

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Gym time isn’t social hour. It’s not time to catch up with old friends, check your Facebook, or swipe right for Tinder matches. Working out is hard, so why do it for longer than you need to? Save yourself time and get yourself in better shape with these five tips on how to be more efficient at the gym.


1. Don’t talk to anyone

This is one of the most valuable ways of becoming more workout-efficient. The only time you should be talking to anyone at the gym is when you ask for a spot or a form check. If you’ve got a gym partner, talk between sets, or better yet, after you've left the gym. The less you talk, the more you lift and the quicker you are home.

Additionally, leave your phone in the car. If you need your phone for music turn it on airplane mode and connect to the gym Wi-Fi. If your gym doesn’t have Wi-Fi, learn to appreciate the sounds of your fellow gym-goers' groans.


2. Go to the gym with a plan

Going to the gym without a workout plan in mind is like travelling to another country where you don’t speak the language without a bilingual dictionary and guide book. You’ll be lost. Plan ahead and follow your routine.


3. Limit break time

How often do you really need a break? If you find yourself going to the bathroom or resting a lot, set a timer for every set. This will keep you accountable. You’ll be surprised how quickly that two-minute timer goes by.


4. Avoid lengthy warm-up sessions

Warm-ups and stretching are absolutely necessary for a good workout. They help you avoid injury and overexertion. However, walking on the treadmill for 45 minutes before every workout is an extremely inefficient way to warm up. A quick five-minute jog, with about 10 minutes of stretching is really all you need for most workout days.


5. Incorporate compound exercise into every workout

Compound exercises let you work out more than one muscle. Why do bicep curls when you can do pull-ups or chin-ups and work out your back and shoulders at the same time? Why do leg extensions when you can do squats and deadlifts and hit basically every other muscle in your body? Instead of wasting your time doing multiple sets of shoulder lifts, sit-ups and hamstring curls, do one set of dead lifts. Learning how to do compound exercises the right way is a great way to trim down gym time.

The less time you spend at the gym, the more time you can spend with family and friends doing things that don’t leave you sweaty and sore. Unless you are trying to qualify for the Olympics, there really isn’t any reason for a casual gym-goer to spend more than one hour at the gym.


James Ruhle is a fitness enthusiast who travels the world and works from his computer. Originally from California, Ruhle has been working and writing for fitness sites for about two years. His current project is garagegymbuilder.com — a fitness site that focuses on freedom from traditional fitness standards.