Five ways to Maximize your Work Out when you’re Short on Time

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Let’s face it, getting to the gym can be way harder some days rather than others. Sometimes we’re tired, distracted, or even intimidated to get back into the swing of things if we’ve taken a few days off. However, easily the most common scapegoat for missing the gym: I don’t have time.

We’ve all been there: our schedules pile up and any extra time we thought we had goes to our other responsibilities. However, the myth that you need hours to get in a good work out has been completely debunked. In fact, many health professionals are even advocating to limit your work out to 30-40 minutes so you can get the most out of it.

Here are some quick tips to help you optimize your work out when you’re low on time!

Plan Ahead

Heading into the gym with a clear game plan can be crucial for getting the most done in the least amount of time. Although it may seem obvious, consider peak hours if you have the ability to work around them, as sometimes a full gym can be your worst enemy when you are short on time.

Sometimes walking into a weight room can be overwhelming of where to start. However, if you go in with a plan, you won’t waste time debating between which corner of the gym to go to first.

Planning ahead is also incredibly helpful to ensure that you skip over exercises, keeping you accountable and making your overall workout more impactful.

There are no shortage of resources that can help you plan a work out routine, even if you are relatively new to the gym. Many fitness youtubers or influencers have created comprehensive guided workouts you can use directly or draw inspiration from.


When you have a little spare time after your work out, take the time to log your exercises. This will help you build your plans in the future so you can continue to intensify your workouts over time.

HIIT-based Cardio Routines

Unlike other work out “crazes”, the results of HIIT has proven to be worth the hype. HIIT, or high  intensity interval training, is predicated off alternating between periods of extremely intense activity and low intensity exercise or short breaks. This process increases calorie burn exponentially as your body will exert more energy by oscillating between work rates. High intensity exercise will also increase your metabolic work rate, meaning your body will continue to burn calories more rapidly after your work out as well.

The beauty of HIIT is especially felt in its efficacy: you can easily attain the same caliber work out in 15 minutes that you could from steady-state cardio, like jogging, for an hour. You can also get as creative with your HIIT workouts since they can also take on various forms: running, cycling, or plyometric exercises like squat jumps, burpees, or step-ups etc so you don’t get bored.

Supersets for Weight Lifting 

As the weight lifting equivalent of HIIT, supersetting is an excellent way to maximize the efficacy of your work out in a shorter amount of time. Supersetting denotes pairing two different lifting exercises that target similar muscle groups back to back without rest in between. For example, supersetting shoulder exercises could be any of the following:

By pushing correlating muscle groups in tandem, you can maximize calorie burn as well as muscle development from the additional stress put on your muscles without a rest period. Overloading your muscles through this tactic results in enhanced muscle definition. Given the degree of high intensity, you should use weights you are comfortable with instead of maxing out in order to prevent injury.

As an additional advantage besides saving time, many superset routines can be performed with free weights, which tend to be very accessible at gyms even during peak hours.

Put your Phone on Airplane Mode

With passive screen addictions being as commonplace as they are, take extra precautions to make sure your phone does not become a distraction when you only have a short period to exercise. Between social media and text notifications, checking one update on your phone during a break between sets can easily steamroll into an unconscious three minute distraction.

Don’t fall into the screen zombie trap! Putting your phone on airplane mode will still allow you to access your music or training applications without distractions from your socials. Apart from saving time, airplane mode can help you get more from your work out internally. One of the most rewarding parts of exercising is the mental clarity that comes from tuning out the world in exchange for an endorphin high.

Active Rest Periods

Not too far removed from phone distractions, rest periods in general between sets can be tricky. In fact, the average gym-goer takes longer rest periods than he or she should, allowing time for distractions or to defocus. By simply monitoring your rest periods instead of leaving them to intuition, you will not only get a better work out, but you of course will be out the gym in quicker time.


You also can take active rest periods, meaning instead of sitting or stagnantly waiting until your next set, you should keep your body in motion. Whether it’s walking around, stretching, or performing basic core exercises, an active recovery can help your body stay warmed up as well as promote muscle recovery. And yes, that does mean that you are even burning calories on your breaks.

Take Advantage of Technology

Today, it seems like there is an app for everything. Especially in terms of fitness, applications can be extremely helpful for logging, tracking, or even guiding our work outs. Many fitness facilities even offer gym software and equipment that can keep a record of your workouts every visit. Use this technology to your advantage to get in and out of the gym as quickly as possible.

For example, many applications now offer streaming services for you to easily follow along in real time. The Nike Training Club app has earned a strong reputation for streamlining work outs by guiding its users through them step by step without the expense of a personal trainer. Users can select their workouts based on what equipment they have access to, level of intensity, and target areas.

These apps can expedite your gym time by taking you step-by-step through your work out rather than you taking time to think of what to do next.

Closing Thoughts

With countless excuses to not go to the gym, don’t let being low on time be one of them. These steps are all simple enough to add to your routine without any additional hassle. Apart from the obvious health benefits of going to the gym regularly, prioritizing time (no matter how much) for your well-being is a crucial part of self-care that should never be neglected.

Author Bio:

Laura is a Marketing Specialist for Perfect Gym Software. She is a native born Los Angeleno recently relocated to Warsaw, Poland who spends most of her time at the gym, on an airplane, or online shopping.


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