We all lead incredibly busy lives. Whether you need to get to your next class, catch a bus back home, or pick up your kids from piano lessons, it’s difficult to find time to schedule in gym time for yourself. However, those of you who manage to do that know that you can’t dilly dally in the locker room or on the treadmill for too long. You want to get your sweat on without stepping out looking like you were pouring sweat minutes ago. Here are some tips to help you maximize your time in the gym, and to help you quickly get ready on the way out.
Food – For those of you who use your lunch hour to squeeze in a workout, make sure you time your breakfast or pre-gym snack accordingly so that you’re not starving or overly stuffed by the time you make it to the elliptical. Fueling up with a simple carbohydrate, such as a banana, or a pre-workout shake, like BCAAs about an hour before you workout helps give you enough energy to own your workout. If you can get away with it in your office setting, try wearing clothes that can double as workout gear, such as layering a business-casual blazer or cardigan over your workout tank top. Jogging to the gym and back helps cut down on time spent in transit, and also doubles as a great warm-up and cool down. Don’t forget to pack a fresh change of clothes for when you’re finished.
Plan of Attack –Plan ahead of time. Having a plan of attack and knowing what your workout is going to consist of cuts down on dilly-dallying and makes for a more effective use of your time. For instance, say you start off on the leg-press machine. When you’re finished, you walk around the gym for a little, trying to think of what you want to do next. This is time you could be spending getting stronger and faster. Before you get to the gym, mentally plan out your routine. Maybe it’s 30 minutes of high-intensity interval training on the treadmill, or 45 minutes of a Pilates routine. Whatever it is, have a clear intention in mind when you hit the gym and execute it with focus.
The Workout – To optimize your workout, try high-intensity interval training. These short, but intense bursts of exercise are great at increasing your aerobic capacity and burning fat while preserving muscle mass. Some gyms offer quick but intense 30-45 minute fitness classes around lunch hour geared towards the working individual. Looking for a class that integrates both cardiovascular conditioning and strength training also helps optimize your short time at the gym. Really pressed for time? Body weight exercises, such as burpees, jump lunges, and push-ups are also a great alternative to the gym that helps effectively elevate your heart rate in a short period of time.
Post-Workout If you don’t have time to take a full shower when you’re finished your workout, make sure you pack your bag the night before with some essential tools for helping you feel refreshed. Put your hair in a braid before you workout. When you’re finished, shake it out and spray some dry-shampoo at the roots. Dry shampoo soaks up the extra oil and sweat, leaving your hair looking like it just got washed. You can also be bold and embrace your natural hair texture if you have time for a shower! Spray on some detangling product, comb it through, and let your hair naturally air dry. If you don’t have time to take off and re-apply your makeup, head to the gym with water-proof mascara on. A strong mascara will get you through the sweatiest of spin classes without smudging. Heading to the gym with lighter make-up on in the first place is also easier to clean up when you’re finished. Pack some baby-wipes, deodorant, and baby-powder in that gym bag as well. Baby-wipes are a quick and refreshing way to get rid of the excess sweat on your body without stepping into the shower. The baby-powder can help cut down on the post-gym sneaker funk.