Top tips to get your workout done when the gym is packed.

With 2013 well and truly started, many people are working hard on their fitness regimes.  With everyone on the same fitness path our gyms are packed at peak times.  When it’s busy it can be very frustrating to maintain a good level of intensity in your training and complete an effective workout. Below are some top tips to help you get your workout done when the gym is packed.

Metabolic Monday (How to set the stage for powerful fat burning for the rest of the week)

It’s a universal fact that Monday is chest and back day.  This is great news because I can almost guarantee the squat rack, leg press, leg extension and hamstring curl machines are completely free. Many people neglect leg training and hide them under baggy sweat pants.  Big mistake (or should I say small!).  Heavy, intense resistance training, especially with a legs session on a Monday, will prime your hormonal function to release testosterone and more importantly, growth hormone.  Growth Hormone (GH) is the body’s most powerful fat-burning hormone, builder of lean muscle tissue and it also boosts your immune system.  Similarly it stimulates (IGF-1) Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 which enhances amino-acid up-take, protein synthesis and lean muscle building.  Simply put, training legs on a Monday sets up your hormonal and metabolic machinery to produce a leaner physique.

Body-Weighted Training

Body-weighted exercises are proven to help build strength and increase lean muscle. This training method is great for everyone. Concentrate on the TUT (Time Under Tension) principle, vary temp and work on intensity (burn).  Using bodyweight means you don’t need a lot of equipment. For motivation take your MP3 Player and don’t forget  your headphones.  Good examples are press-ups, chin/pull-ups, step ups  and walking lunges. Set up a circuit and go for it!

Weights Cardio

If you’re a Cardio King or Queen and can’t get on to any of the equipment you want, then why not make a total body-weights, cardio circuit utilising short rest periods.  I hear you cry, “weights = cardio?”  Focus on utilising big muscle groups; legs, chest and back.  The protocol is simple to follow.  Perform each of the following, back-to-back for one minute on each exercise, then move on quickly.

Weighted squats, flat barbell bench press, wide grip pull-up, weighted split squat, incline barbell chest press and close grip pull-up.  Take one minute to recover and repeat 4 – 5 times.

This will be intense, improve lean muscle gains, take your body out of its comfort zone and make you breathe harder than you ever thought possible.

Add Plyometrics to your Cardio Weight Circuit

Speed and strength are integral components of fitness.  To put it simply, the combination of speed and strength creates power.  For many years, coaches and athletes have sought to improve power in order to enhance performance.  Jumping, bounding and hopping exercises have been used in various ways to enhance athletic performance.  In recent years, this distinct method of training for power or explosiveness has been termed plyometrics.

Plyometrics are an explosive reaction of the individual through powerful muscular contractions because of the rapid eccentric contractions.

Being creative in the gym at busy times can be a great thing, this will make you think about your training and how much your want it.  Being creative makes your training fun and intense and will open your eyes to a new way of training and a leaner, fitter you.

Go for High Volume and Short Rest Periods

This reduces the times spent on each machine, steps up the intensity of the workout, floods the muscles with blood, expanding muscle fibres and fascia quickly, causing catabolism (muscle protein breakdown) raising lactate volume and further raising GH levels. Example as follows.

Wide Leg Squats
















Rest  in Seconds








Top Tip: Choose a weight which is challenging, so you have to rest pause on each set.

Perform Sprint or Fartleck Intervals in Intense Short Periods

Short, intense bursts allows you to work at full potential, train above lactate threshold, thereby elevating GH, the body’s most powerful fat-burning and anabolic hormone.  This hormone also suppresses cortisol release, a major catabolic hormone.  Performing just one minute at high intensity is enough to produce this response, quickly improves your cardiovascular function, reduces the time spent hogging machines and keeps your training interesting because you can choose whatever is free.






1 Min

Quick Start Programme

10 seconds medium paced followed by 10 seconds hard paced


You can concentrate on single muscle groups or perform an all over body workout using this principle.  Intermixing sprint-cardio intervals between each strength set will send the intensity of your workout through the roof.

Pulling these two protocols together in one workout can be a very effective way to train in a busy gym, cut down times on equipment, add intensity, gain lean muscle mass and boost your metabolic machinery.

References: Prescribing Rest Periods During Hypertrophy Resistance exercise Resistance Training Rest Periods

Ploiquin: The Growth Hormone Response

Co written by Dave Fuge

and Simon de Burgh


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