Five ways to get the most out of your gym time

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Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays. It lets you be as gluttonous as you possibly can. The only problem is that the holiday doesn’t exactly love you back.

You already had to deal with the turkey hump and dump, the last thing you need is the turkey lump peeking out from under your shirt. That’s why you have to fight it. That food baby that has been growing all weekend long is looking like it’s about to hit the second trimester, it’s time to get focused!

At this point, I’m assuming that you already have the motivation to go to the gym, your next step is working out properly. If you’re already going, you might as well get the most out of your workout.

Stretching: Odds are, you’ve been sitting all day, either in class or studying (hopefully) and you’re muscles have stiffened and cooled down. Your muscles can’t perform until they have been warmed up. Do something to increase temperature — a light jog or good walk.

Even in between workouts, do as many static stretching as you can. When you’re done a workout you should always cool down. This prevents later injury from muscles stiffening again. Do more stretching and a light jog.

Cardio and Lifting: An average workout is composed of a solid cardio or conditioning activity, like treadmill, elliptical or spinning, followed by muscle training. What most people don’t know is that this is not helping you at all.

If you have done a decent cardio workout your body and muscles are tired, your body won’t give its full effort by the time you go to do lifting.

Try doing conditioning last. Conditioning is based on your effort, where lifting is based on your performance. You can’t perform to your best if you’re already tired.

Having a Plan: Some people can spend up to two or more hours at the gym. They either work way too hard or don’t know what they should be doing.

Never go to the gym and just improvise. You need a game plan. Without a plan, you can spend a lot of extra time wandering around the gym thinking about what you need to do next or using all of the machines just because they’re there. Figure what you need to improve on and workout what you need.

Quality>Quantity: Getting to the gym is a big step on its own, trust me. I like food and a lot of it, but just showing up isn’t doing you any favors. You should be able to challenge yourself until you can’t go any further. Being able to talk and laugh with your friends during a workout is a sign you’re not fully there.

Progression: Once you’ve got a basic workout schedule down, you know it feels right and you want to stick to it. Wrong. Doing the exact same thing at the gym is fine, if you don’t want any serious results.

To get the outcome faster and how you want, you need to push yourself a little more every time. Add more reps, run a little faster— it’s all about progression.

These few little steps can completely change the results of a workout. The biggest challenge you’ve got is getting to the gym, so once you’re there you’ll know what to do.


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