The gym machines you’re wasting your time on, and what you should be doing instead.

Ok so it’s time for an intervention. Get off the treadmill and spin bike and get yourself a mat and some hand weights stat.

According to the latest research done by the University of Sydney, strength training is as vital as cardio, with the health benefits to match. In a study of over 80,000 adults, it concluded that regular muscle/strength/resistance training can reduce premature death by 23 per cent, and cancer-related death by 31 per cent.

This was based on guidelines set by the World Health Organisation, which state that every week adults should do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio (or 75 minutes of vigorous-intense aerobic activity) lasting at least 10 minutes in duration, and two 50-60 minute strength sessions.

Sounds like a lot of time? That’s because it is. Four and a half hours to be exact.

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However, we think we’ve found a way around this. Enter stage right our favourite PT Sam Wood, here to run us through exactly what we need to be doing to reap all of those benefits, with as minimal time spent in the gym as possible.

“Generate a workout in four rounds of seven minutes, in a circuit of seven exercises. If you don’t have time just do one, two, or three rounds. It’s better than nothing,” the 28 by Sam Wood founder explained.

What to ditch in the gym

Okay, so you’re in the gym and there’s a mountain of choice to pick from. Instead of making a B-line straight for the cardio section, reconsider.

Firstly, say good bye to the cross-trainer. Not feeling a burn from swinging your limbs back and forth? It’s probably because you’re not. Instead opt for something that’s going to…. well, do more.

Aside from the cross-trainer (or elliptical, if you’re a fancy gym-goer), these are some other gym machines you can most likely forego:

  1. Inner thigh press
  2. The rotary torso
  3. Leg extension machine

And traditional machines like the spin bike or treadmill? While they’re great for endurance, you can essentially get that from circuit training that combines resistance movement and ups your heart rate at the same time.

“It’s a bit old school to sit on the bike, or run on the treadmill,” says Sam. “Instead incorporate some kind of resistance work through short, sharp exercises.”


What to do instead… and you don’t even need a gym membership

Loved by F45 devotees nation-wide, it is wise to look to the cardio and muscle-toning abilities of high-intensity interval training (you’ll often see this referred to on Insta as HIIT). Also known as circuit-training, it’s perfect for those who are tight on time, and it’s as easy to do at the mat section of the gym or on a yoga mat in your living room.

“You’re basically going to hit every major muscle in your body, and you’ll be amazed at how high your heart rate stays, and how many calories you’ll burn, even though it’s a predominantly strength-based workout,” says Sam.

“So a simple circuit could be a set of push ups, into squats, then lunges, a plank, then finished with some burpees and jumping jacks,

“Be as functional as possible. Back muscles, glutes, thighs, and abs, are always bigger then wrists, triceps or calves.”

Other exercises Sam Wood recommends for results? For those at home:

  1. Mountain climbers
  2. High knees
  3. Sumo squats

And those at the gym:

  1. Weighted squats
  2. Battle ropes
  3. Stair climber machine
  4. Rowing machine on high intensity

“I’m always saying that quality will beat quantity, and that consistency and variety is more important than volume. That’s always been my philosophy and it’s been proven to work with a lot of people,” he says.

Listen: The problem with saying “summer bodies are made in winter”.