However, as you leave the gym you realize that the session lasted way longer than intended. What happened? You didn't forget about daylight savings time, you wasted time.
Related: 3 Strategies for Training in a Crowded Gym
Time passes quickly as you rest between sets. The rest periods listed in your workout programs are intended to be the amount of time that passes from the time you end one set until the time you begin the next set. Strength training programs have longer rest periods but most bodybuilding and mass programs require 60-90 second rest periods for maximum results.
Anything and everything that needs to be accomplished before your next set should be done in that allotted time period. There shouldn't be much that needs to be done but a lot of time is often needlessly wasted between sets.
The time you spend training is an investment in yourself. Increase your chances for success by ensuring that your time is well spent. Here are 10 time killing mistakes to avoid between sets so you can efficiently get the most out of your time in the gym.
10 Ways to Save Time in Between Workout Sets
#1 - Searching for the Perfect Song Between SetsThe ability to create a playlist is a great thing and it is easy to make several that will last through your entire session in advance. You can insert your favorite song several times with ease if you want.
Using songs that you want to listen to will eliminate the need to stop and skip a song or search through your playlist to find a song you want. It is not necessary to have your song start at the exact moment your set does so don't stop and reset your songs each time you start a set.
Searching for the perfect song before each set can easily turn a 60 second rest period into a 3-minute rest period.
#2 - Waiting Until the Last Second to Adjust Your EquipmentAdjust your knee sleeves, gloves and wrist wraps in a timely manner that allows you to start your next set as planned. Yes, this is a rest period but this is a great time to prepare for your next lift.
You know that you have another set, plan accordingly and don't wait to wrap your wrists until your rest period has expired.
#3 - Leaving Your Station for a Drink Between SetsBring your drink to the gym and keep it with you while you workout. Refill when you switch exercises and you have a longer rest period if need be.
Shaker cups and water bottles are easy to come by and having one helps keep you on track. You don't want anyone stealing your equipment while you leave for a drink and staying hydrated is very important.
Eliminating trips to the water fountain keeps you in your station and helps you avoid time consuming conversations while you are walking to the water fountain and back.
#4 - Over SocializingWater fountains are not the only places you can get drawn into, or start, a conversation that lasts longer than your rest periods are supposed to be. Obviously you will have conversations in the gym but most people will understand when you want concentrate on your training instead of the latest gossip.
Try to have your conversations at the appropriate times and remember that you can always claim you couldn't hear someone talking to you over your headphones while you were in your zone.
#5 - Professional People WatchingThere will usually be other people in your gym and looking at them is unavoidable. Don't study them.
Yes, someone benching 450 pounds or dead lifting 680 pounds is an impressive sight to see. So is that beautiful young lady that works out the same days that you do. However, you don't need to zone out as you stare at them.
In addition to being rude, it can add considerable time to your rest period. Especially if you are contemplating how you are going to get her to go out with you.
#6 - Excessive Mirror FlexingContrary to popular belief, the mirrors in the gym were not placed there so you can have an extended posing session between each and every set. Feel free to admire your muscles in the mirror but choose to do so between exercises or after your session when time isn't important. It is very easy to start admiring or criticizing yourself as you lose track of time.
You know your muscles are bigger between sets from the pump anyway and aren't going to stay like that. You will still flex for the mirror, just try to make an attempt to keep the posing session short.
#7 - Cell Phone DistractionsImportant phone calls and texts need to be addressed but let the rest go if you can. Your friends should understand if you don't answer the phone while you are working out but your significant other may not. It is possible to spend several minutes trying to get off the phone politely.
Choose which calls you answer with care. Reading and answering texts between sets are an excellent way to turn your 60-second rest period into a 5-minute rest period. Do your best to wait until after your workout to answer texts.
#8 - Taking Selfies Between SetsFeel free to take pictures to check progress or to share with your friends. Social media is a great way to show everyone your muscles as you progress through your fitness journey. There are so many fitness pictures available that the world will be able to wait until your session is finished to see how you are doing today.
Wait until your workout is over to find that perfect lighting with the best angle so you aren't extending your rest periods. Your body will look bigger after you have completely pushed it and you will be able to answer all the compliments you receive.
#9 - Don't Sacrifice Your Workout for Someone Else'sYour workout should be your priority. Stay focused on the task at hand and don't let someone else pull you out of your workout or enter yours.
Be careful who you let work in with you so you can still use the weight when you need it. Most people that request a spot will be fine with you doing it when it is convenient for you, some people will try to turn you into their spotting partner if you aren't careful.
#10 - Doing Anything That Distracts From Your Next SetUsing your rest periods to prepare for your next set and nothing else will keep you focused throughout your workout. Allow your muscles a short break and take care of your equipment and music as quickly as possible when necessary. Everything else is an opportunity to distract you from your goal.
Don't let these distractions stop you from performing the training you had planned. You didn't go to the gym to play around, you went to work on yourself. This isn't a game; this is your life. Treat it as such and your body will reward you.
Avoiding these time wasting mistakes will enhance your workouts and improve your results. Have fun with your training but remember why you have decided to push yourself day in and day out. Remember what it is you want to achieve and ensure that you do everything possible to reach your goals.