How to Make the Most Out of Your Gym Visit

Have you been using your gym membership in 2011?  I’d like to share some gym tips that I find helpful.  We are all busy and fitting in a gym visit is sometimes difficult.  The following tips have helped me to make the most of my precious gym visit minutes over the years and I hope that they will help you, too!

1.  Make a plan before you go to the gym. 
Decide what you want to do and how long you want to do it.  For example:  Elliptical 20 minutes, weights 30 minutes, core 10 minutes.  If you know what you want to do, you will do it.

With no plan, time will be wasted deciding what to do.  You also may work out for a shorter time if you arrive at the gym with no plan.  A no plan gym visit might mean you hop on a cardio machine for 30 minutes and then think, “Now What?”  The “Now What?” may very well mean going home and doing nothing else.

Wouldn’t you rather make a plan and get an hour’s workout rather than have no plan and only work out for 30 minutes?

2.  Wear an attractive outfit.
If you feel good about what you are wearing, you are more likely to work out harder and longer.  Baggy t-shirts hide not a thing.  Instead, wear yoga pants and a cute fitted top.

Target has cute exercise clothes for cheap prices.  The first three items below are Champion.  Target carries C9, a division of Champion, with prices even more reasonable than these. Invest in a few outfits that make you feel good about yourself.

$40.00                                  $25.00                 $18.00            
                 Champion USA                                        

3.  Pack your gym bag before work and keep it in your car.
If you have your bag ready, you are more likely to go to the gym after work instead of running errands or racing home to read blogs.

4.  Leave your cell phone in your car or in your gym locker.
I am amazed at the time I see people wasting at the gym texting.  If you stay for an hour but spend ten minutes texting, you only get a 50 minute workout.  Phone calls and texts will wait until your workout is complete.
   You’ll be tempted to play if this comes to the gym with you!

5.  Time your workout. 
If you’ve decided ahead of time that you are working out for an hour, make sure that you do.  I put my sports watch on “Chrono” set at 00:00 at the start of my workout.  I start timing when I start working out.  If someone talks to me and I can’t work through the conversation, I push the “stop” button until the conversation is over.  I push “start” when I get back to work.  I’m timing working minutes.  Talking is not work and it doesn’t count towards workout time.

My sports watch is like this one, but in black.  I hate to workout without a watch.

6.  Pack a healthy snack to eat on the way home.
I usually eat grapes on my way home from the gym.  They take the edge off of my hunger and prevent me from eating everything in site when I finally get home.

7.  Log your workouts.
Writing down what you do each day will keep you accountable.  I use a runner’s log for miles ran but I also write down when I cycle, play tennis, or do a weight workout.

If you haven’t joined me for “Fitness Friday,” I hope you’ll stop by this Friday for the exercise of the week.
I would love it if you would leave your own helpful gym tips in a comment.  If something helps you, why not share it?  If I get more tips, I’d love to do a post featuring yours!


  1. Ok, I definately do most of that. But, recently I’ve been seeing people playing around with their iPhones while working out. For some reason I have the impression that there is an app that somehow helps track your heart rate. Which would be a good thing, right? You just reminded me I wanted to look for that on iTunes.

  2. Thanks for this…Ive been running outside since October but joined the gym last month when the snow stopped me from getting outside to run…In return my mom joined and we both keep each other accountable..I dont want to call her and say I cant make it nor does she!

  3. This was an awesome post, Paula! I’m going to feature it for WBR this week. Don’t tell T, but it’s been a really, really long time since I’ve used our gym membership. I want to go, and I like it once I get there (most of the time), but it’s the planning part that kills me. Also, this time of year is awful for my kids picking up germs in the childcare. Some of the moms bring their kids even when they’re sick (and they know they’r not supposed to) and the other kids end up taking the flu home with them. 🙁 I’m more likely to go when the weather warms up, but that’s no good for the rest of the year.

    I do like bringing home the class schedule in a hard copy so I can have something to write on the calendar. 🙂

  4. Great tips. I follow most of them, and they really are spot on! It amazes me (and really kind of ticks me off a little) how many people sit there talking or playing with their phones. That’s maybe the biggest tip you’ve given….leave it in your locker!!!

  5. Your tips are really good ones, Paula! You’re a great one to give get-in-shape advice. I’m loving your Fitness Fridays!

  6. Great tips, Paula. I don’t live near a gym, but I can use some of the tips for my home workouts. Carla

  7. Oh my goodness I have the exact same watch in gray Paula. Now if only I was in half as good of shape as you are. You look incredible! Great tips here and your other fitness posts. I’ve enjoyed your series.

    Happy week! ~Melissa 🙂

  8. Oh, how I miss the gym. I haven’t been in a week and a half because we’ve all been sick. I miss it! I desperately need to work on the cute outfit part. I’m the dork sporting my Hubby’s baggy t-shirt. I need to invest in some cute stuff but I keep thinking I’ll lose weight first and then spend the $ on the cute stuff in a smaller size. It’s not working. I need to do it.

    My only tip is that if you don’t know how to use a piece of equipment or not sure of your form, don’t be afraid to ask. I’ve seen a lot of people just kind of “throwing” their weights around and not isolating their muscles or using equipment incorrectly and I know they’re not getting the full benefits. Don’t be embarassed. Just ask!

  9. Thanks for the post, I’ve been reading your Friday posts too. My tip would be to bring a bottle of water to the gym and make sure you drink the whole thing as you workout.

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