Hectic lives full of long workdays, dinner parties, and trying to do laundry means fitting in fitness may be hard enough. So if we’re headed to the gym, we might as well make the most of it. Whether it’s training the whole body at once or working out with a friend, here are 17 ways to be more productive at the gym (just in time for the New Year!).
We Can Work It Out—Your Action Plan
1. Dodge distractions. Smart phones can be a big time suck. Avoid texts, calls, and Twitter updates by putting your phone on airplane mode. (I’m doing a pushup. … Can I call you back?)
2. Avoid rush hour. Try going to the gym during off-peak hours to steer clear of crowds and avoid waiting for equipment. Extra points for going midday to stay productive all day long!
3. Know where to go. If you’re unfamiliar with the gym, scope out the scene before the workout. Figure out where all the equipment is so you’re not running in circles looking for the kettlebells.
6. Set a goal. Figure out what you want to do at the gym before arriving. (Arms? Abs? Cardio?) Write down the number of sets or even a specific workout to avoid cutting corners.
7. Stay hydrated. Water doesn’t only hydrate—it can fight fatigue, too . Fill up the water bottle or frequent the fountains to stay energized all workout long.
9. Time your rest. Stay aware of the clock ticking between intervals or sets. That one-minute “rest” could turn into three or four minutes if you’re not conscious of how much time is slipping away.
10. Do supersets. Want to really save time and challenge the body? Do two exercises in a row that focus on the same muscle group (read: superset). Decreasing rest will engage muscles and burn more calories.
12. Take a class. Sign up for a yoga, spinning, or Japanese samurai sword fighting class. That way there’s a definite start and end time, help from an instructor, and accountability. (Thanks, classmates!) It'll be pretty hard to slack off.
14. Choose compound lifts. Kill multiple birds with one stone and work the full body all at once. Compound lifts like deadlifts and squats will give muscles way more bang for their buck.
15. Run intervals. Instead of spending an hour on the treadmill, try running intervals instead. Short bursts of intense running boosts metabolism, builds lean muscle, and burns more fat in less time  .
17. Try a personal trainer. To prevent any sort of slacking (we’ve all been there) sign up for a session with a trainer. Science suggests a personal trainer can motivate people to up the intensity at the gym.
This post was presented in partnership with Warrior Dash, the World's Largest Running Series, a 5k obstacle course race held on the world's toughest terrain. Train, run, climb, crawl and celebrate with free beer and live music and entertainment! Sign up for a Warrior Dash near you today.