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Top 10 Fitness Time-Wasters

Avoid these time thieves and make the most of your trip to the gym.

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6. Watching TV or Reading.

"People tend to get on cardio equipment and think they're paying the piper, but they're so into their book they're wasting precious caloric time," says Pillarella.
The bottom line is that when you're focused on other things, your workout suffers, she says.
You can walk at a 4 mph pace for 45 minutes and burn 300 to 400 calories, says Pillarella. But you could get the same calorie burn in 20 to 25 minutes doing intervals (running or walking as fast as you can for a minute or two) every 90 seconds.
"It's the total number of calories burned that counts," she says.
If you need a diversion to make it through your session on the elliptical machine, try music, suggests Comana. Invigorate your workout with a fresh mix on your iPod instead of spending your time staring at the crawl on Fox News.
"Music can inspire you to pick up the tempo," Comana says.

7. Resting Too Long. The machine you want to use is occupied, so you grab a towel, get a drink of water, run to the bathroom -- and the next thing you know, 10 minutes have passed.
To avoid such time-wasting, rest only 30 to 90 seconds between strength exercises, says Comana.
To maximize time, alternate a set of exercises for your biceps with a set for triceps, he says. That allows you to shorten the rest interval in between -- while one muscle group is working, the opposing group is getting active recovery.
You can also save time during your warm-up by mimicking exercises you'll be doing in the workout. For example, Comana says, if you plan to work your legs by doing lunges and squats with weights, warm up with high knee steps, butt kicks, lunges with a twist, and sumo squats.
"Perform movements that are the same as you'll do in the exercise so that you can better prepare the body for the exercise," advises Comana. "You're warming up the joints while tying into the neuromuscular system to create movement preparation."

8. Isolating Muscle Groups. How can you fit in separate exercises for your biceps, triceps, deltoids and lats when you only have 30 minutes to work out?
For body-builders, concentrating on two or three muscle groups per session might be fine, but this doesn't work for the average person. There's not enough time to get to all the muscle groups in three 30-minute sessions a week.
Instead, says Pillarella, choose exercises like squats and push-ups that target several muscle groups at once. You'll get a better workout in less time and you'll also be training more functionally (mimicking the way you use your body in daily life).

9. Changing Clothes at the Gym. Dressing at the gym can be a big time-waster. Change before leaving work or the house and you're less likely to change your mind about working out once you hop into the car, Trese suggests.
You're also less likely to get into a conversation in the locker room that could shave 10 minutes off your workout.
"Some people even go to the extreme where they wear their workout clothes to bed so they can just get up and go," says Trese.
If you don't like the idea of sleeping in shorts and T-shirt, try laying out your workout clothes the night before to save time in the morning.

10. Waiting until Afternoon to Work Out. With determination, it's possible for late risers to fit in regular afternoon fitness sessions.
But there's no question that people who work out in the mornings are more likely to stick to their routines, Trese says. There's less time to make excuses, and fewer things to get in the way of a workout.
If you promise yourself a 4:30 p.m. walk, it's much more likely something will come up, Trese says. Before you know it, it's 5:30, and you've missed your window.
Waiting until late in the day, "is setting you up for a downward spiral," she says.

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