In my last article, I offered you reasons to feel good about bumping exercise into a higher spot on your priority list. Now I want to share my secrets for maximizing your workout time so when you’re crunched for time, you can work out efficiently and effectively.
Secret No. 1: Establish a Mind-Body Connection
Are you the type of exerciser who like to catch up with your friends during your workout? Or do you sometimes find yourself going through the motions without being mentally engaged?
When you work out mindlessly, it’s easy to get distracted and put forth less than your best effort. Instead of focusing your mind on what’s going on around you, try engaging your mind on the changes happening to you.
Establishing a mind-body connection while you exercise can produce a huge difference in your results. How do you do this? Pay careful attention to your form and technique. Mindfully contract your working muscles. Imagine your heart, lungs and muscles getting stronger. Visualize what you want your body to look and feel like. Stay present and grounded — mentally and physically — throughout your workout.
You put in great effort to make the workout happen. This secret will help you maximize the benefits.
Secret No. 2: Find Someone One Step Ahead of You
We all know that workout buddies, trainers and exercise instructors are important to the success of our workout routine. They hold us accountable. They support us. They help us stay motivated. But have you considered that they can also help you burn more calories in less time?
What happens when they’re one step ahead of you? You catch up. Without realizing it, you’re likely to push yourself harder than you would if you were exercising alone. And a little friendly competition, even when it’s enjoyed in your own mind, makes it fun.
What does finding someone who challenges you mean to your overall workout? More sweat on your shirt. A higher calorie-burn earned.
Secret No. 3: Keep it Fresh
Changing up your workout routine is a great way to prevent boredom and keep you feeling motivated. However, fresh new exercises can also lead to other big calorie-busting benefits. When you do the same exercise on a regular basis, your body adapts and requires less energy than it did when the exercise was new. When you introduce something your body isn’t used to doing, it has to work harder and will burn lots of calories doing so. An added bonus to this secret is that it can push you through a plateau and closer to your goals.
Secret No. 4: Keep Moving
One way to burn extra calories during your workout is to keep moving. Rather than stopping to rest between exercises or sets, performing light active rest and recovery exercises and stretches will help keep your metabolism revved up throughout your workout. The more you keep your body moving, the more energy you’ll expend and the greater the total number of calories you’ll burn.
This secret can be applied throughout the day. Anytime you find yourself sitting when you can stand, or standing when you can walk, do so. Your heart, lungs, muscles, bones and figure will thank you.
Secret No. 5: Use Weight to Lose Weight
Most women who want to lose weight believe they need to do cardio. We do burn lots of calories when we do a sweaty cardio workout, but something you may want to consider is how many calories you’re burning when you’re not exercising.
Your metabolism lives in your lean muscle cells. The more lean muscle tissue you possess, the higher your metabolism will be naturally and the more calories you burn around the clock.
Secret No. 6: Incorporate Intervals Into Your Workout
We all know that one of our biggest obstacles to working out regularly is lack of time. What if you could burn more calories doing a 20-minute to 25-minute workout than a 60-minute workout?
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves cycling short bursts of high-intensity and low-intensity exercises. This type of exercise yields a higher calorie burn than steady-state exercise because it stimulates your body’s natural production of epinephrine and HGH (human growth hormone), which set the fat-burning process in motion. And get this: these hormones slow the aging process. Hello! HIIT also helps preserve lean muscle from overuse or injury.
Keep in mind, any time you’re trying something new or challenging, be sure to practice safety first. Listen to and respect your body’s limits. If you’re just starting out, a high-intensity interval to you could mean a brisk walk with your arms engaged followed by a more comfortable walk.
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