How to Lose Weight Fast – Why You’re Currently Wasting Time (and How to Fix It)

Want to learn how to lose weight fast? If so, you’re not alone. I’m one of those people and have struggled with it for a long time.

But truth be told, when I’m at the gym, I only spend 30% of my time actually working out. Usually I’m watching TV, skipping songs that I still haven’t deleted from my iPod, and of course, doing some serious people-watching. But every time I go to the gym for an hour, three times a week, that’s two hours wasted just sitting around! At the gym, of all places!

Unfortunately, it gets worse. According to a recent New York Times article, people are wasting time even when they are working out! (Trust me, I’m just as upset about this as you are.) There are a bunch of different reasons why this happens, but here are the three biggest time wasters, because if you’re like me, you’ve got to start making up for lost time, right?

Timewaster #1: You’re using poor form
I’ve spent money on many personal trainers, but it’s been years since I last saw one. Turns out, I’ve been doing all my exercises incorrectly. That’s because I’ve become so accustomed to working out my way that I don’t even notice when I’m doing it wrong! Experts say that if you’re using poor form, you’re actually doing nothing. To put it another way: you’re like that guy at work who is always acting like he’s “super-busy”—you might seem like you’re working hard, but you’re really just taking up space.

Timewaster #2: You don’t vary the intensity
I’m totally guilty here. When I’m on the treadmill, I set the timer at 20 minutes, look up at the TV and zone out. Experts say that if you don’t vary the intensity—run faster, increase inclines, etc.—you’re not challenging your body, and therefore, you can forget about seeing any improvement or weight loss. Basically, the only thing you’re getting is an excuse to watch all those bad television shows you’d never watch at home (Keeping Up with the Kardashians, anyone?)

Timewaster #3: You don’t have a plan
This is the biggest mistake of them all. I admit, when I show up at the gym, I just look for the open machines, plop down on one, do a few sets, and then stumble over to the next open machine. Experts say this type of aimless behavior is actually dangerous. You might be overworking certain muscle groups, and if they don’t get rest, you might wind up doing serious damage to your body.

How to Fight Timewasters and See Results

1. Get a workout buddy. It’s been shown in many studies that having a workout partner helps. Even if it’s just someone to go on a walk with, that support is vital.

2. Set small, attainable goals. They’re easier to accomplish and will give you the boost you need to keep going.

3. Get on a meal plan. The food you put into your body is the main reason you’re struggling, but if you get that under control things will get back on the right path. Don’t resort to frozen meals that are loaded with sodium and preservatives. Check your local YMCA or community center to see if they’re offering courses on nutrition. These can help you change your diet and still enjoy what you eat.

4. If you mess up, don’t give up. We all fall down and struggle at times, but it’s about getting up and trying again that matters. If you press on and stick with it, you will succeed.