Gym hacks | Time-saving tips for busy people

Too busy to workout? Making time for your fitness will always pay off, so here's some tips from our Personal Trainers to help you keep on track with your health when time is short.

1. Go to the gym early

Getting up early to go to the gym isn’t as much of a pain as it may seem. By leaving early you’ll miss the traffic and the gym will be quieter so you don’t have to wait to use your favourite bit of kit. When your session is done you’ll have the whole day ahead of you and once you get in the routine you’ll start to feel great.

2. Join an express class

These 15-30 minute high intensity interval training (HIIT) classes pack a punch when it comes to cardio, burning calories fast. Doing two or three HIIT sessions a week will help build your cardio fitness and get the blood pumping in no time. Speak to your local Nuffield Health gym to see which express classes they run.

Any high intensity training should be mixed with lower intensity exercise to give your body a break and keep it guessing. Find out what an optimal 7-day fitness routine looks like here.

3. Leave your mobile phone in the changing room

It’s easy to get distracted by social alerts, texts, calls or even just shuffling music. If you want to save some time try leaving your phone in the changing room. Plug your headphones into the gym's entertainment system or just listening to the music playing from the speakers.

4. Pack your bag the night before

Lay out your gym kit and prepare your bag the night before so you can just jump up, get dressed and go. Make sure you only pack your gym bag basics to ensure you don’t waste time searching around in your bag for your headphones or water bottle. Less is more. Find out more about what to wear to the gym here.

5. Run to the gym

What could be a better warm up than running to the gym? Save yourself ten minutes and arrive already set for the workout ahead.

6. Go bare faced

Makeup smudges on your towel and mascara running down your face - not a good look. Save yourself the blushes (and time) by going to the gym fresh-faced.

7. Alternate body parts

Reduce the need for breaks between exercises by alternating what body part you work out. For example: work your legs in one part of the circuit and your torso in the next - your legs will rest while your torso works out and vice-versa.

8. Set yourself a circuit and repeat

Time can be saved by planning what exercises you’re going to do in advance. Create your own circuit (or ask a personal trainer to make one for you) and complete it as many times as possible in 30 minutes - work with as few rest periods as feels comfortable.

9. Prepare your post-workout smoothie in advance

When you have little time it can be tempting to skip some key elements of your gym routine, but recovery is a vital part of fitness. Make your post-workout snack, such as a berry smoothie with berries, oats, yogurt, milk, nuts and seeds, the night before. Just whip it out of the fridge before you head to the gym and  refuel, and is especially necessary if you have to go straight to work after your workout.

Last updated Tuesday 7 February 2023

First published on Monday 14 December 2015