Laura Williams

Make sure you use those all-important minutes at the gym as efficiently as possible to get the most out of that lunchtime workout.

Forget endless reps Research has shown that doing any more than 15-20 reps is a waste of time – you need to be failing at your 20th rep for the set to count, and therefore to derive any increase in muscle tone from the set. Make sure that come the 15th rep (max) of any set, you’re struggling to lift the weight. Endurance workouts like BodyPump and circuit training are the only exceptions to this rule.

Keep socialising to a minimum It may be a good motivational boost to go to the gym with a colleague but it’s probably best to go your own separate ways once you get there. Chatting alongside each other on the treadmill means that you’re probably not going to push yourself as hard as you should.

Stick to big moves Isolation moves such as bicep curls are not a good use of time – make sure that you opt for multi-joint (compound) moves to engage as many muscle groups at a time. Good examples of compound moves include press ups, chin ups, squats and lunges.

Don’t get waylaid by the TV There’s nothing wrong with a bit of external stimulus to alleviate exercise boredom but you’re better off putting together a fast-paced, upbeat playlist for your MP3 than peddling away watching Sky News and hoping to get your heart rate up.

Watch your form Improper exercise technique poses a greater injury to muscles and joints, plus you’ll be losing the benefits of the exercise. Arching your back, pushing your head forward and lifting your feet off the floor to squeeze that last rep out all increase your chance of tearing something.