With tight work schedules, you should be revving it up while working out. Here are things to not waste time on at the gym!
For most of us, a hectic work schedule is the number one reason for being unable to find enough time to exercise. And when some of us do cut some sleep to squeeze in an hour of workout at the neighbourhood gym, we indulge in wrong exercise form and activities such as, excessive warm up, stretching before weight training and sitting down between sets for minutes, which not only causes harm to the body but also eats into your precious workout time.
Most fitness trainers are of the opinion that people, who spend about an hour at the gym, actually exercise for only 25-30 minutes. Therefore, it’s worth your time to weed out some of the habits that are eating up your precious time:
1. Focusing only on machines
Working out on machines is not a bad thing. However, if you are putting all your time and focus on these equipment, you are wasting your time at the gym. A machine workout does not even give you half the impact of freestyle exercises. Experts say that equipment were originally designed to supplement the last portion of your workout when your muscles are so fired up that you simply don’t have the strength to carry on further with free weight technique.
This is probably the reason why a lot of well-known actors such as Vidyut Jamwal, Varun Dhawan and Farhan Akhtar combine gym workouts with freestyle exercises such as yoga, martial arts, and TRX (which uses a system of ropes known as suspension trainers that hang from a height and allow one to work against gravity and body weight), or ViPR training (this is a rubber log which is more than a metre high and weighs between 10 to 20 kilos. It can be lifted, dragged, flipped and stepped on for a full body workout).
Many people have got it wrong that working out only on machines is beneficial for body building.
2. Indulging in static stretching
A recent study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, found that static stretching — stretching muscles while the body is at rest to gradually lengthen a muscle to the point of discomfort and holding that position for 30 seconds or more — before a workout actually decreases muscle strength by 5.5 per cent. The purpose of static stretching is to improve flexibility and cool your body down, and is therefore effective afterwards. To avoid injuries before a workout, you should be indulging in dynamic stretching — a techniques that closely mimic movements made during different exercises.
3. Doing excessive warm up
You do not need to warm up each time you start a new set of exercise at the gym. For instance, if you are combining chest, shoulders and triceps on a single day, you may warm up with chest exercises, such as push ups, and skip lateral raises and triceps extensions. The latter are unnecessary as your shoulders get worked all along with chest exercises.
4. Spending a lot of time on cardio
When you cannot afford to spend more than an hour at the gym, spending 45 minutes on cardiovascular exercises is a waste of time. Exercises such as cycling and running elevate your heart rate and burn calories. However, doing only cardiovascular workouts is not a balanced exercise routine, because they do not promote muscle strength and density. To have that you must indulge in equal amount of strength training. You can choose to alternate between an hour of cardio and strength training every alternate day during the week, or include two 30-minute sessions of cardio and strength training in an hour.
5. Sitting down
It’s a good idea to rest for a few minutes between sets. But you must make sure you do that while standing up and not sitting down and chatting. Sitting down immediately after a rigorous set will lower your heart rate in a hurry. Experts suggest that indulging in light activity between sets such as walking about, is a great way to improve recovery. However, passive recovery techniques such as sitting to cool the body down lead to regression rather than recovery.
6. Improper form
Whether you’re engaging in cardiovascular exercise or strength training, if your form is not proper, you’re doing yourself more harm than good and ultimately wasting your time. It’s a good idea to do a few low resistance practice reps before you indulge in heavy weights. While you do so, pay attention to your form so that you can get most from movement when lifting heavy weights for chest, biceps, back or legs.