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You work hard and play hard, so you don’t have a lot of time to spend at the gym. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have the perfect beach bod. There are a lot of things you can do to maximize the time you do spend at the gym, so you can become stronger, leaner, and healthier without sacrificing your me time. With this in mind, here are 9 tips to make the most of a 30-minute workout.
1) Don’t overdo it
You might think that spending more time at the gym automatically makes it easier to stay trim, but that’s actually not the case. When you limit your workout to 30 to 40 minutes, you can work out at higher intensities and burn maximum calories. After about a half-hour, you have to reduce your effort and your workout becomes less effective.
2) Upgrade your effort
When you’re just starting out, you should build up to a high-intensity workout. But, once you’re fit enough to handle the extra cardiovascular effort, make sure you’re putting in enough work to make your workout matter. High-intensity workouts will bring you to a leaner, healthier place.
3) Don’t bother with exercise machines
To burn the most calories, stick to bodyweight exercises, lifting free weights, and performing old-school cardio like running, rowing, and jumping rope.
Machines, such as stationary step and elliptical machines, stabilize your muscles and actually make your workout easier. Maximize your effort by avoiding these machines.
4) Do something you actually like
Another reason to skip the elliptical machine is that it’s insanely boring. Instead of dragging yourself through a 30-minute routine, choose an activity that you actually like.
Get outside and walk, swim, bike, or hike. Mix it up and you may find yourself excitedly planning you cardio sessions.
5) Lift slow and heavy
During weightlifting sessions, you should both contract and release your muscles slowly. It’s instinctual to contract your muscles slowly and release them quickly, but doing both movements slowly will give you a better workout.
Try counting five Mississippi’s in each direction. As you begin your weight lifting workouts, start light. But don’t stick to light weights. Slowly add more weight, so that you’re lifting heavier weights but still maintaining good form during each exercise.
6) Focus on full-body workouts
Instead of spending precious gym time isolating one muscle, such as when you’re doing bicep curls, focus on exercises that target multiple muscle groups. This way, you’re actually working an increased amount of muscle fibers as well as using your time more efficiently.
7) Eat the proper nutrients
To maintain your stamina, you need to eat carbs. Carbs are our main source of fuel, and you’re not going to get very far without them.
After lifting weights, your body also requires protein to make a proper recovery. Make sure you’re getting the right amount of macronutrients with a protein shake.
Use protein powder and add fruit, such as strawberries, bananas, and mangos, for a hit of carbohydrates. Consume a shake both before and after your workout to give your muscles the amino acids they require.
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8) Stay hydrated
You’re going to lose water during your new high-intensity workout. However, you can’t just drink water right before you hit the gym. Make sure you drink enough water throughout the day because it takes a few hours for your body to absorb it.
9) Throw some motivation into the mix
A study in the Preventative Medicine Reports journal found that a little competition goes a long way toward motivating people to work out. In fact, competition is a better motivator than friendly support from your fellow gym-goers.
When you join a group with a competitive vibe, such as at a CrossFit club or rowing league, you’ll be amped up to go harder, faster, and longer.