Coach Darin and Trent talk about time wasters in the gym, and why (how) you should stop doing them! Everyone is “busy” these days, but we know some very busy people that still make time to train 3 days a week. The key is being intentional with your training, and avoiding some common time sinks. Workouts do not have to take two hours or more!
Darin’s first tip: walk in the gym and decide that you are going to train. It sounds simple, but framing your mindset in a positive, productive manner tends to make you more efficient in training. What does this mean in practical terms? Write down what you are going to do in your training log, organize your gym bag and clothes before you head to the gym, and visualize what you are going to do.
Once you’re in the gym, do your warmups, but remember they are warmups not the workout! For strength training, we follow the Starting Strength model which suggests warmups (for the squat and pressing lifts) of two sets of empty bar, 1×5 with some weight, 1×3 with more weight, and 1×2 with more weight — each weight jump being roughly equal until you reach your working weight. It should not take long to do these warmups, only as long as it takes to load the weight for the next set. It’s ok to rest a few minutes between your last heavy warmup and your first work set, but you should not be resting on the light warmups. Get ’em done!
It’s common to rest between 3-7 minutes between your work sets. During this time period, your body is replenishing it’s ATP stores via the glycolytic and oxidative energy pathways. After a few minutes, however, the ATP stores are as full as they’re going to get, thus more rest is not beneficial. While the rest period is important, many lifters make the mistake of resting TOO long. Seven minutes is truly the maximum, for days when you are pushing the top of your LP. Otherwise, five minutes is plenty.
Finally, it’s important to remember that we come to the gym for training, not exercise, and not for sports practice either. Training is logical, systematic, and intentional. Nothing is added that is not required for objective progress. It’s tempting to add movements, especially with the notion that they mimic some aspect of your sport. The way you get better at your sport, however, is by practicing the sport. The gym is for getting strong and conditioned. Keep the two separated and keep your workouts short so you can spend more time doing what you like to do!
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