How to Save Time at the Gym

posted in: Time Management 6

Do you workout at the gym or fitness center on a regular basis?  How to Save Time at the Gym

Wondering how to efficiently make use of your time while you’re there?

Whether you’re a frequent gym goer or are just starting on a new fitness regime (hello New Year’s Resolution!), it’s well worth your time to plan and organize your visits to the gym, park, or fitness center.

In this post, I offer a handful of tips to help you better manage your time at the gym.

It’s important to remember that any time management, whether it’s managing your time at the gym, the length of your commute or meetings at work, will have a direct impact on the rest of your schedule.

All the more reason to learn how to better manage your time…in any way you can!

Before we start today’s post, thanks to N.S.I. for suggesting this blog topic.


Know your way around the gym.

Even if you’ve been going to the same gym for several months (or years), you may not know where everything is located. Consider this your first step in taking back your time!

Request a full tour of the gym facility from a staff member so you’ll know where to locate cardio and weight machines, free weights, and other exercise equipment. You might also want to brush up on the location of fitness rooms within the gym itself.

When all is said and done, you’ll spend less time looking around the gym for what you need.

Learn how to properly use equipment.

Not knowing how to properly use gym equipment can really slow down your workout. Sure, you may eventually be able to figure out how to adjust the seat for that bicep curl machine through trial and error, but you’ll be that much more knowledgeable, and will save yourself time and frustration if you just ask for assistance.

Locate a gym staff member and ask them to show you how to properly operate and use the equipment. Likewise, if your gym or fitness center offers equipment orientation sessions for their members, be sure to sign up. You’ll be glad you did.

Be aware of your gym’s hours and schedule.

Quick: what time does your gym open on Thursday morning? What time does the gym close on Saturday? If you’re unsure, consider downloading or printing out a copy of your gym’s schedule from their website, or ask for a schedule at the front desk.

You could also sign up for your gym’s email newsletter or follow them on your favorite social media network, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, so you’ll be in the loop as to any changes to gym hours.

Having this information in hand will make it much easier to plan your workouts. You’ll know when the gym is open if you need to adjust your workout one day of the week, as well as what classes and trainings are offered on any given day.

Plan your workouts ahead of time.

What workout are you going to do today? Cardio? Weights? Fitness class? Haven’t the faintest clue? If so, you may want to consider planning your workouts ahead of time. You’ll know exactly which exercises and machines you’re going to use on any given day. This will in turn help you keep the rest of your calendar running smoothly.

You can plan your workouts at the beginning or end of each week using a fitness app on your smart phone. Or, you can go the old-fashioned route and plan your exercises with a pen and notebook.

If you’re having trouble finding time to get to the gym on a regular basis, make sure you prioritize your workouts. Honor and respect your time by scheduling your workout directly into your calendar, just as you would any other appointment. Don’t forget: personal appointments are important, too!

How about you? How do you save time while at the gym? Which of the above tips are you going to follow? Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!

A version of this post appeared on the blog in 2014.

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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.

6 Responses

  1. John J Niles

    Don’t be a slave to your workout schedule. If the equipment you want to use is in high demand, have an alternative in mind. Or just do body weight exercises until it is available. You are there to work out, not socialize, so do not monopolize equipment if you are not using it. Know the gym’s schedule, when is it running classes that might interrupt your work out? (This is especially true if the gym has a pool)

    • Rashelle

      Excellent points, John. I especially like the tip about knowing when and where gym classes are held. I’ve had to make adjustments to my routine when a group fitness class was held in a workout studio.

  2. Betty

    I save time by carrying hand weights with me as I walk the track, and use them to do arm exercises that I would normally do while standing still.

    • Rashelle

      Thanks for sharing, Betty!

  3. Tineke van dijk

    Great ideas! My must organize for the gym is when I decide to shower and dress there. I make sure I have everything I need (soap, shampoo, cream rinse and etc.) in a plastic carry bin with holes on the bottom. I take it into the shower with me and by the time I’m done the water has drained off and is ready to put back in my bag. Makes life easier and more organized.

    • Rashelle

      An excellent idea, Tineke. I especially like the practical aspect of the drainage holes in your shower caddy. It’s the little things that make all the difference. Thanks for your comment!