Gym Time Optimization

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Time Working Out

Sure, you put in a ton of effort when you work out. You leave the gym feeling exhausted, struggling to get your water bottle to your mouth, or having a hard time going up and down the stairs, then you wake up sore the next day. You’re probably thinking to yourself that you had an awesome workout, you burned a ton of calories, you’re going to get so much stronger… but will you?

Let’s break things down a little bit. When we work out, our muscles go through stress and get tiny micro-tears. These tiny micro-tears need to then “patch” themselves back up to still be fully useful. This “patch up” is your recovery.

Those days where you feel completely trashed after a super tough workout the day before are the days where you were unable to fully recover in time. Not being able to completely recover will lead to feeling sluggish, weak, winded, and just plain worn out. We all know what those workouts feel like, and they aren’t fun. It’s almost a feeling of survival rather than being able to attack the workout.

The Answer Is Knowing What Effort To Give And When

If you go after every workout as though you’re testing, you’re going to push too far beyond your ability to recover and that is when you get those really rough days and injury happens. The reality is, testing should only be about 10% of your time in the gym. That leaves 90% still which is split between training and practicing. Practice should take about 20%, and then training fills the final 70%.


Testing should be about 10% of your time spent training. This means workouts that have a maximum heart rate and intensity. Intensity in this context is talking about any loads heavier than 90%+, weights that are not capable of having a technical focus, or high recovery ability when used repeatedly, day after day. Imagine how you would feel if every single workout in a week was a big benchmark of some kind? The kind of workout where entering a score is important because it allows you to track your progress over time. How will you necessarily get better if there isn’t any days of training or practicing in between those benchmarks? Testing is important, but cannot be all the time.


Practicing should be about 20% of your time spent training. Practicing is where you develop skills. This could be practicing your muscle-ups or even light technique work on snatches. The heart rate here is low, the loading is low, and the focus is very high, emphasizing your technique and control.


What’s left is the 70% of your time that is spent training. Training is working out to get better, not just to finish the workout for the sake of finishing it; Get Better, Not Done. This is a medium to high intensity which allows for a higher heart rate while still having a high level of focus. This style of training allows us to focus on the quality of movement while still getting some form of metabolic conditioning. Weights will be anywhere from 75-90%. Training is a level of working out and intensity that allows us to have optimal recovery.

Next time you workout, ask yourself if your effort matches the intention of the workout. Is it a test day? Is it a practice day? Or should your intention be focused on a training-style effort?