11 Easy Ways To Increase Your Productivity During Workouts
With work, projects, meals to plan, laundry, yard maintenance, and all the responsibilities of life, finding time to work out can be tough. As tempting as it can be to skip workouts or put in minimal effort, the benefits of a good workout are worth it. So when you do devote the time to working out, it is important to make your workouts as effective as possible.
Whether you are working out at home or in a gym, here are 11 ways to work out smarter, not harder, and maximise the time you spend working out.
11 Ways to Maximise the Effectiveness of Your Workouts
1. Crank Up The Tunes
Studies show that listening to up-tempo music while working can not only help you workout harder but also help you enjoy your workout more. To take advantage of music’s power, pay attention to your playlist and use songs strategically to match the different sections of your workout.
Be sure to put a slower song or two at the start and finish of your workout to account for warming up and cooling down. In the middle, line up your favourite songs to keep you motivated and get you through tough portions of your workout.
2. Ditch Distractions
Smartwatches, smartphones, or anything with a ringer can pull you out of your workout (either mentally by thinking about your device or physically if you go to check it).
This can decrease productiveness and lower the quality of your workout. When working out, be sure to turn off your phone or put it on silent and place it well out of reach to be sure that you are not interrupted by any texts or calls.
3. Set a Goal
Create a clear plan before starting your workout. It can be easy to waste time standing around deciding what to do or how many reps you want to tackle today. If you know exactly what you want to accomplish, you can show up to the gym or in your workout space at home completely ready to go.
Setting a clear goal also helps reduce the risk of cutting corners once you are part way through your workout. Rather than thinking 10 reps is enough, having a sheet with ’15 reps’, for example, can keep you on track and help optimise your performance.
4. Stay Hydrated
Water keeps you hydrated, fights fatigue, and can help you push harder. One to two hours before working out, be sure to drink at least 2 x 250 ml glasses of water. During your workout, aim to consume 250 ml of water approximately every 20 minutes.
5. Fuel Up
Though working out on an empty stomach or having a small meal or snack before physical activity comes down to a matter of personal preference, studies show that fueling up before a workout can provide the energy you need to push harder.
Excellent pre-workout snacks include:
- An apple with peanut butter or almond butter
- Oatmeal with raisins and a tablespoon of nut butter
- Cottage cheese or plain Greek yogurt with berries
- Whole grain toast with peanut butter and banana slices
- A protein shake
- Toast with a hard boiled egg
- A fruit smoothie made from berries or a banana, protein powder, a few handfuls of greens, and water
6. Pay Close Attention to the Length of Your Rest Periods
If you don’t follow your clock or timer closely during recovery periods, 20 or 40 or 60 second intervals can slip away and turn into several minutes.
7. Do Supersets
If you really want to save time, do moves that target the same muscle group in a row. For example, pull-ups followed by push-ups or a set of lunges followed by squats. To burn even more calories and challenge yourself further, decrease the amount of rest between sets.
8. Up the Resistance
To make sure you don’t hit a plateau, change up your reps, intensity, and workout method on a regular basis. For example, aim for a higher number of reps, try a spin class instead of yoga, or try a kickboxing class instead of weight lifting.
Increasing the amount of weight you use, trying a different workout, and switching up your reps and intensity keeps your muscles guessing, keeps your workouts exciting, and can help you avoid plateaus.
As a general rule for reps, once you reach 8 to 12 reps for a certain weight, increase the weight by 5 percent.
9. Try Tabata or HIIT
If you are short on time, Tabata or High-Intensity Interval Training are excellent options. HIIT and Tabata involve periods of maximum effort with rest periods in between. These workout methods are proven to burn fat in less time.
You’ll push yourself to the max but enjoy being finished in half the time.
10. Opt For Moves That Target Multiple Muscle Groups
There’s certainly nothing wrong with classic moves such as leg extensions or bicep curls, but if you are looking to accomplish more in less time, choose moves that hit several muscle groups at once.
Moves that hit multiple muscle groups — think squats, lunges, overhead presses, pushups, pullups — challenge multiple muscle groups at once and can help you push your workout to the next level without adding on any extra time.
11. Do Intervals on the Treadmill
If you run or walk on the treadmill, take advantage of intervals. Rather than walking for an hour at the same pace, shorten the time you spend on it and pack that time full of intervals.
Try running as fast as you can for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest and repeat for 9 or 10 rounds. Or try walking varied with bursts of jogging. Intervals allow you to continually challenge yourself by adding more intervals, shortening rest periods, and pushing harder.
What Are Your Favourite Workout Tips?
Do you have any tips or tricks for maximising your workout efforts? Do you already use any of the tricks above? Reach out to us on social media with your favourites!