As a busy dad, you don't have time to waste. You don't have time to do much of anything except for work, take care of your kids, and try to keep your shit straight, am I right?
So spending a lot of time at the gym is a luxury many of you don't have. So when you make to decision to go, it's critical that you make the absolute most of your time there.
And if you think you have no time to workout at all, then you really need to read this, because you DO have time. You just need to manage it better and make your fitness a priority!
The days of 2.5 hour long training sessions are over. Not only don't we have time for that nonsense, but our bodies would fall apart if we did.
I believe there are two things that are most important in any given workout:
Training hard and pushing your muscles to their limits is the best way to make consistent progress. And for these reasons, I like to keep my workouts short; usually 45 minutes or so after my warm up.
If you're anything like me, you want to get in, do your thing, and get the fuck out. I don't know about you, but I have zero interest in hanging around a stank gym filled with egotistical and narcissistic meat heads one moment longer than I have to.
So I make the most of my time while there and do my best to avoid the following time pits. And by avoiding them, I can easily shave 30 minutes off my time there (and do something else with it, like write a post like this for you all...)
I train five days per week, which is 2.5 hours I can save and get to use that time to do something else. I don't know about you, but for me, that's invaluable.
Here are 13 time sucks at the gym that I strongly advise you avoid:
1) Not having a plan
This is by far the biggest time waster at the gym. Wandering from machine to machine or looking at other dudes for exercise ideas is a bad idea. Not only is it a shitty way to train, but you'll spend far longer in the gym.
Walk in with a plan or better yet, have an actual program to follow, not just a one off you found on YouTube. Our 90-day program (and the one I currently use) is pretty solid if I do say so myself and guys are kicking ass on it and getting some amazing results.
2) Fucking around on your phone
Figure out your playlist before you get to the gym. And do you really need to be taking selfies or texting while there? We lived most of our lives without smart phones (or cell phones), and we can certainly go an hour without them.
3) Doing the same movements using different exercises
We see it all the time. The guy doing barbell curls followed by dumbbell curls or doing the barbell bench followed by the dumbbell bench. These are essentially the same movement patterns and redundant. Choose your exercises wisely and use different angles, planes of motion, and target different muscle fibers.
Plus repeated movement patterns can cause you to look like a hunchback as well as leading to injuries. No bueno.
4) Pissing away too much time on cardio machines
Don't get sucked into watching Days Of Our Lives on the TV while you're warming up on treadmill. Spend 5 minutes there and get the fuck off. I see people every day moving at a snails pace and basically accomplishing nothing because they are so focused on watching the news or whatever else is on.
Put your game face on when you get to the gym and save the reality tv for later..
5) Talking to other people
At my gym there is this guy who "works out" at the same time as I do. And every day I watch him work his way around the gym floor talking to every single person who will look at him. It's like social hour for him and maybe he needs that, but it will turn a workout into a marathon session and quick.
I've been lucky so far and have managed to escape eye contact and other than a quick "hello", I see no reason to chat it up with your workout neighbors.
Remember, you are at the gym for one reason; work.
6) Using too many isolation exercises
I'm a huge fan of compound movements. I'll take a pullup or squat every day over a pulldown or a leg extension. Sure there are reasons to isolate, but most of you will benefit far more by using compound movements.
7) Static stretching before your workout
For years, static stretching pre-workout was all the rage and everyone did it. But recent research has shown that it may actually be detrimental to your workout and increase the chance of getting hurt. That's bad.
Instead, do a full dynamic warm up and prepare your body for the upcoming beat down you're about to give it.
8) Taking too much rest between sets
You should know how long your rest periods should be and then stick to them. I'm surprised at how few people use a timer or watch to check their rest periods. One set it's a minute and the next it's three. Your time will fly by doing this and you'll end up wasting a shitload of time if you don't watch it carefully.
It all goes back to having a plan!
9) Doing anything on the Smith machine
I love to hate on this machine! Why? It's far inferior to using free motion exercises (not the FreeMotion cable machine) and if used for prolonged periods of time, can actually do more harm than good. Here is an awesome post about why the Smith machine is better used as a coat rack rather than a weight rack.
10) Ab machines
Why, why, why?? I cannot understand why people still continue to use these things. Does not everyone on Earth know that these machines will never help you lose that fat roll around your midsection? Not only are they virtually useless, but many place a high demand on your hip flexors and barely even work the abdominal muscles.
I have a great ab machine. It's called the floor.
11) Adductor/abductor machines
These machines, popular to contrary belief, DO NOT tone your thighs. A regular ol' squat will give your legs a much better overall workout and is 10X more effective. Plus, you just might lose your man card if you're spotted on one of these things...
12) Wrist curls
Unless you are Lincoln Hawk from Over The Top, do not waste your time with this exercise. If you have a pussy grip, do more pullups, farmer's carries or use thicker grips on barbells.
13) Pec Dec machine
Anytime I see someone using this machine (and usually with far too much weight), my shoulders start hurting. The reason is that it places your shoulders in an unnatural (and dangerous) position and places a higher demand on the anterior delts versus the chest.
Try using light dumbbells on a flat bench for a fly movement. A cable machine would be an upgrade as well. And go slow..
Time Is Priceless
Your time is worth far more than you realize and wasting 30 minutes or more every day in the gym adds up fast. My advice is to really pay attention to your workout length, rest periods, and know what you're doing before you walk in the door.
Hit it hard and get the fuck out!