How to finish your exercise routine faster

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Does the thought of committing more than an hour to your workout often diminish your motivation to exercise at all? Well, there’s a reason the uber-popular 7-minute workout is taking the internet by storm: because you’re not alone.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get in shape in the least amount of time possible, especially if you’re busy or not exactly having a love affair with physical fitness. And the process of working out — from searching for your gym shoes and water bottle to waiting in line for the treadmill — can squander precious minutes of your day.

Try these tips to streamline your workout “process” without affecting your results.

Prepare in advance

Knowing when you’re going to exercise, and having everything ready in advance, can cut down on prep time and time spent procrastinating. Schedule a specific time for your walk, pick a class to attend at the gym, or confirm a meeting place and time with a workout buddy. Then prepare for it the day before: Workout plan in place. Check. Workout clothes and shoes. Check. Water bottle filled and in the fridge. Check. Protein snack ready. Check. Yoga mat/gym bag packed. Check.

Wear your workout clothes

Even if your workout gets bumped to the afternoon due to other morning commitments, put your workout clothes on when you get up. It’s OK, really, dressing sporty and casual is all the rage! Wearing your sneakers could even put a little extra spring in your step as you walk through the parking lot, and it might encourage you to park farther away and get a few extra steps. Then, when you finally hit a workout window, you’re more likely to take it since you’re already dressed!

Avoid busy times at the gym

If you have the flexibility, avoid the gym during its busiest times: typically mid-mornings and early evenings. You’ll save yourself the time and hassle of waiting for machines and weights, or of getting your own time cut short, forcing you to wait for a different machine. You’re also less likely to stumble into a lovely conversation (a.k.a. interruption) that adds 10 minutes (or an hour) of downtime to your workout.

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Plan an efficient workout

Shortening your workout is another way to, well, shorten your workout. If you’ve only got 10 minutes, then use them efficiently. Pick a high-intensity workout like interval training, body weight exercises, running or maybe even that 7-minute workout, and work harder but for a shorter period of time. You’ll still get results! If you’re weight training, alternate moves to work and balance opposing muscle groups (for example, work triceps immediately after biceps) and do compound moves that work multiple body parts at once (squats with bicep curls).

Avoid distractions

Unless you’re using it for music, leave your phone in your gym bag or turn it off before you get started. You do not need to check emails, texts or the weather during your workout —and you definitely do not need to answer your phone should it ring while you’re on the treadmill or in a class (no, seriously, you don’t).

So there you have it: With a few minor adjustments, you can spend less time getting into better shape. You’re welcome! And remember, whether you exercise for 7 minutes or 67 minutes, the important thing is that you’re exercising, which is good for your mind and body any time.