Getting the results that you want from your time in the gym requires a bit more than just showing up – a critical piece of the fitness puzzle is having a well structured plan and sticking to it.  The problem for many people is that they rush into gym looking for fast results.

Unfortunately not having a plan inside of the gym can lead to floundering around on the same exercise bike, elliptical or treadmill everyday or even worse a lot of chatting with other folks who use the gym as a social setting instead of a place to improve their health.

These days everyone seems strapped for time – so it stands to reason that the time you set aside to go to the gym should be used as wisely ads possible in order to achieve the best results.

Figure out exactly what you want from your workout
In order for this to come to fruition you need to take some time to figure out exactly what you want from your workout – do you want to lose ten pounds, add 30 pounds to your bench press or finish a 10K race?

Write Down Your Fitness Goal
Once you’ve got your goal figured out, write it down – having your goal written down gives you something real that you can refer to on those days that you don’t want to trek all the way to the gym.

It creates accountability and can give you the motivation you need to put in the work when you are feeling a little worn down and considering skipping a session.

If your goal revolves around competing in an event like a 5K, 10K or triathlon – find the one you want to enter and pre-register, having some of your hard earned money attached to your goal will create even more motivation to get to the gym and put the work in.

Structure Workout Based On Fitness Goal
Your ultimate goal plays a big role when it comes to your actual exercise selection – if running that 5K or 10K is tops on your list you will want to spend a good portion of your time in the gym on improving your endurance.

In addition to sessions on the treadmill (and work on the elliptical or exercise bike to minimize impact on joints) you’d also want to focus on support exercises for building strength in your hips, legs and core.

Strength exercises like weighted lunges and squats with moderate weight for 12 – 20 reps would build the ancillary strength necessary to keep your form on longer runs.  Core exercises like planks and side planks would help strengthen you up through the middle and upper body as well to help round out your routine.

If your goal is to lose ten pounds and to improve your physique you’d want to focus your energy on a full body resistance training to build some muscle and improve your metabolism.

Many people believe that the only way to lose weight is through endless hours of cardio, but that simply isn’t the case – a full body resistance program not only burns calories but the additional muscle will fire up your body’s furnace (enhance your metabolism) which will help you to continue to burn calories throughout the day – even when you aren’t working out.

Supplementing a three day resistance routine with two days of cardio will help you shed pounds and firm up your body from head to toe.

If you are a beginner or are uncomfortable trying to develop your own routine, consider consulting with a personal trainer at your gym.

A trainer will cost you some additional money but you’ll be getting the benefit of knowledge and experience and you’ll know that your workout is structured with your goals in mind – as an added bonus, shelling out the extra dollars (just like pre-registering for a race) will likely act as even more motivation to get you in the gym.