Workout: Go In With a Plan

Five ways to be more efficient and effective at the gym.

By: Dan Welden

Time is precious when you live in a city that never sleeps. This is especially true during the holiday season. Between parties, bar crawls, family gatherings, brunch, and even holiday hookups, many of us find very little time to spend at the gym.

So how do you squeeze in gym time during the holidays? Go in with a plan! Here are five tips to help insure that you’re effective with your time and stay in shape all season long.

1. Identify your fitness goals. Do you want to lose weight, increase flexibility, or gain muscle mass? It’s OK for some overlap. Knowing your fitness goals will help when researching workout routines or finding a trainer.

2. Find or create a solid workout routine. If you don’t know how to create a highly effective workout routine, there are many sites, such as, with workout plans for a very reasonable price. If you need more personal attention, hire a trainer that can come to you. Keep in mind, though, that commercial gyms like Crunch, Equinox, and David Barton have in-house trainers and don’t allow independent trainers to train clients, but some gyms will often let you try out a trainer before you buy sessions. Every personal trainer is different—as are their personalities—so choose wisely. Find one who motivates you and makes you comfortable.

3. Be realistic. Know how many hours and days you can commit to the gym each week. Aim for three or more days per week for at least 30 minutes per day. The worst thing you can do is be overly ambitious, which can often lead to giving up.

4. Be efficient. This means no lounging in the sauna having casual eye sex or aimlessly searching Grindr while sitting at bench press. Even though you do find hotties at the gym, it doesn’t do much for your workout. Keep rest time between 60 and 90 seconds and superset your workouts, pairing up different body parts that you can perform back-to-back. For example, after hammer curls superset with dumbbell side bends, take a 60 to 90 second break and repeat.

5. Don’t waste time running. Unless you’re planning to run a marathon, there is no point investing a large portion of your time at the gym aimlessly running on the treadmill. There are ways to incorporate cardio in a more effective way, like doing mountain-climbers during rest time between sets. Instead of running for 15 to 20 minutes and then allowing your heart rate to drop, keep your heart rate up throughout your entire workout.