It is my belief that going to the gym has to be done so with purpose and meaning. For you to complete an effective workout it should include the three basics of exercising: stretching, strength training and cardio conditioning. It takes a certain amount of time to complete each one of these segments and doing anything less at your local gym is a not using your time wisely.

If its your goal to lose five, ten, twenty or more pounds you won’t accomplish it by neglecting to spend quality time exercising. Too many times I see people socializing or talking on the phone and not respecting the efforts other gym goers. Get on with it.

I find that one of the best ways to overcome distractions when exercising is to have a workout partner who is motivated.

Also, have a goal besides losing weight e.g. train for a 10-k race or enter a body building competition.

Jeff Halevy nails it in the following article titled . . . .

Why Doing Too Little is Killing Your Fitness Results

In the first installment of this series, I outlined how doing too much can sabotage your time on the gym floor. In today’s installment, we’ll look at the polar opposite: doing too little. You might be surprised to find out just what that consists of — read on to see if you’re guilty of this second sin of gym success:

2. Doing too little.

The promise of “scientific” seven-minute workouts (puh-leeeez!) “methods,” usually targeting women and employing weights that seldom are more than the average woman’s handbag (which is 6.27 pounds, FYI); rows of mindless machines at health clubs; and the availability of multi-screen distractions at the gym all translate to the problem at the opposite end of the spectrum of the first item explored: simply not doing enough. Again, enough doesn’t necessarily mean time, but my focus returns to the quality and efficacy of your efforts on the gym floor.

As for the seven-minute workouts, the four-minute workouts (i.e. Tabata) and any other too-good-to-be-true-sounding time-branded workout, this may shock you, but it is not true. This is not to deter anyone from exercising if all they can muster is four to seven minutes; something is nearly always better than nothing. However, believing that you will look like a fitness magazine cover model, or even have a balanced or sufficient workout regimen with such little time dedication, is a fantasy. If it were real, trust me: Not only would I have every member of my gym doing it, but I’d be doing it myself. It’s just not the case. Even if we assume the training effect we desire is sufficiently stimulated by such a short workout, this surely doesn’t include any mobility and/or corrective exercise work, work that develops the technical skills that would be necessary to safely maintain the adequate intensity level. (Hint: Professional CrossFit athletes spend more of their time on strength, power and skill development, not to mention injury-proofing their bodies, than they do doing actual CrossFit workouts or “WOD’s”). Simply put, the skills and preventive measures necessary to exercise safely for the long haul require a time investment — and not during three-hour marathon workouts annihilating body part X. (Re-read point No. 1 now if this is unclear.)

And while intensity may at least be high in some of these shorter workouts, it completely falls off in areas such as light weights, machine and distracting screens.

In order:

a. The main issue with using light weights for a high number of repetitions isn’t so much that muscle cannot be built using this approach, as numerous studies have shown this does in fact work. The issue is in using lighter weights for either a number of repetitions that doesn’t even remotely stress the muscle; or in using lighter weights to insufficiently add load to a movement/exercise. Simply put, if you’re able to move a weight for 30 reps in a single all-out effort, doing, say, just 10 reps per set will not provide an adequate stimulus. A general rule of thumb is to use a weight/rep scheme that leaves you with a rep or two “in the bank” on each set. The second part to this lightweight issue is using the same weights inappropriately for several different exercises. I have seen many able-bodied, healthy women using 3- to 5-pound dumbbells for a variety of exercise in the same workout, from curls to squats. The logic here is simple: If you’re able to curl a weight for 10 reps with the tiny biceps muscle, there’s no way that same weight provides ample stimulus when used in a squat, where it is distributed over the large muscle groups of the lower body.

b. Machines (the selectorized, fixed plane exercise equipment that occupies most gyms floors) are there for a reason: They’re easy to use. This topic can get both deep and broad quickly, but I’ll keep it short here. These machines allow most folks to mindlessly do something — again, something is usually better than nothing — without expending too much effort. The fixed plane means as long as you exert force, the apparatus you’re pushing or pulling against will move. But here’s a fun little experiment: Take the amount of weight you’re using on a leg press or a shoulder press machine, load up a barbell with the same amount of weight and squat or press it. Not so easy, huh? If you’re using machines, dial up the intensity of your workouts by switching to free weights. You’ll even get to eat a slice of pie … humble pie!

— The other machines that will kill your workout results are the screens on the wall and in your pocket. TVs and phones are distractions. They quickly turn what should be a 45-minute workout into the same amount of work drawn out over a much longer period of time. To illustrate: Running the 26.2 miles of a marathon is a tremendous challenge. But take that same mileage and divide it into a drawn out 26-day, 1-mile-per-day task, and it isn’t quite so challenging. Make sense? While I will not get into the hormonal and metabolic implications of this, suffice it to say that it kills the very stimulus you’re looking for on the gym floor. Get in, focus and get out.

Jeff Halevy isa Contributing Fitness Expert for NBC’s “TODAY Show,” and aninternationally-recognized authority on behavioral health, nutrition andexercise science. His clients range from Hollywood and Wall Street “royalty”to true international royalty. After surviving the removal of a pear-sizedtumor and a substance abuse problem, Halevy turned his lifearound, founding New York City private gym Halevy Life — the only gym on earthto guarantee fitness results with a money-back guarantee — and starring in thehealthy lifestyle TV show “Workout From Within With Jeff Halevy,” nowin its third season, which airs nationally and internationally on Z Living.

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P.S.  Hopefully the fitness bug has bitten you and you are motivated to start an exercise program that’s sure to get the results you are looking for. Before starting, take some time to educate yourself on the types of activities you’ll need to do and the proper techniques to use in-order to prevent injuries and other setbacks . . . . and get you the results you are looking for.

P.P.S.  Visit How to Prevent Pre-diabetes for more information.

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