7 Ways to Beat Wasting Your Time in the Gym

{Taylor Eckel}

In college, one of my professors was known to do yard work in his work clothes because he didn’t want to waste time changing. I can’t help but think that wielding a chainsaw whilst wearing a sport coat and tie might be counterproductive, but I admire his motivation. You see, I am a chronic time-waster. I’ve been really convicted that time-wasting is one of the primary ways I fail to bring God glory, and this is especially true when it comes to my time in the gym.

taylor eckel

I’ve been pondering how I can intentionally glorify God during my workouts for some time. I’ve shared my thoughts on the Christian’s obligation to a healthy lifestyle, and I also try to examine my motives for working out.

But lately, I’m realizing that God is glorified when I work wholeheartedly at the task set before me.

If I’m in the gym for two hours but only working out for 90 minutes, I’ve squandered thirty minutes that could have been dedicated to a different purpose.

Fighting time-wasting is all about commitment.


Cut the distractions

1.  Say no to the selfie

(does this need an explanation?)

2.  Ditch the phone

Consult your pinterest board (and make a plan) before you get to the gym. It should also go without saying that social media can wait.

3.  Become anti-social

This, along with the phone, is the hardest for me. I love people. I love talking to people. I love listening to people talk… and next thing I know, it’s been a good 20 minutes since my last set.


Be proactive


1.  Set a timer

Are you warming up on the stationary bike? Great! Make sure you’re off in 5-10 minutes. Do you need a breather or a quick water break? Keep it to a minute or less.

2. Try Escalated Density Training

To perform EDT, select two exercises, each one targeting an unrelated muscle group, and perform continuous sets of specified reps for a set time. For example, you could alternate between 12 pushups (chest, some triceps) and 12 deadlifts (glutes/hamstrings/quads/back) for five minutes. However, you wouldn’t want to alternate between pushups and pull ups, because there is too much overlap between your chest and your shoulders. FitnessRx for Women offers some great suggestions here.

3. Try Circuit Training

Circuit training involves the completion of 5-10 exercises performed in succession (that’s the circuit), followed by a short break before you repeat. I mainly only use circuit training for abs, but it’s also great for those who are new to lifting and need longer rest between muscle groups.

4. Work in super sets or tri-sets

A superset is two different exercises being performed back-to-back, with a brief rest period between each superset. As the name suggests, a tri-set combines three exercises. Unlike EDT, the exercises need not be unrelated muscle groups (although they certainly can be). Sometimes I pair two exercises that target unrelated muscle groups, respectively, but sometimes I’ll combine two exercises to target two different areas of the same muscle, ex lateral dumbbell raises and front dumbbell raises, to work the medial and anterior aspects of my deltoids.


If any of these techniques are new to you, give them a try, and I’d love to hear what you think! How do you beat time-wasting?