The quick fix: For most people, a 30-90 second rest period in between sets is sufficient. (Body builders might require more time for recovery since they are lifting such heavy weights.) Watch the clock or even set a timer on your watch to go off when it's time to resume your next set. Another option for maximizing your workout time and calorie-burning potential is to do a circuit, where you move quickly from one exercise to the next (with very little rest) or do cardio activity in between sets. Learn more about The Benefits of Circuit Training.
5. You skip the warm up, cool down or stretches. All of these components are important for a reason. Do you think they're a waste of time since they don't directly build muscle?
Why it's cheating: You body can't go from a resting level to a high intensity level (or vice versa) in a matter of seconds. It takes a few minutes to prepare for exercise and recover from it. Without warming up, cooling down, and stretching, you're not making the most of your workouts and you could be increasing your chances of injury or other complications.
The quick fix: Designate a few minutes per session for these tasks. If you're short on time, jog from the parking lot to the gym as part of your warm up, and walk slowly to your car as you continue to cool down, for example. Warming up helps lower your risk of injuries and prevent aches and pains. A proper cool-down slowly decreases the heart rate to prevent dizziness, fainting and that post-workout muscle soreness. Stretching can help prevent injury by promoting recovery, decreasing soreness, and ensuring that your muscles and tendons are in good working order.
Your time is valuable, so it's important to make the most of it when you head to the gym. By making some small changes to your strength routine, you can maximize your results and get on the fast track towards reaching your goals!