Fitness News

10 ways to power up your workout

Friday, 18 June 2010

Does your fitness plan need to be supercharged? Give your workout an extra boost with these tips that help you to burn more calories, faster. If you make the most of your exercise sessions, you’ll get better results and reach your weight loss goals faster and more easily.

Here are ten ways to power up your fitness plan and burn more calories….

Do strength before cardio. If you do both your weight training and cardio on the same day, do the strength training first. If you work hard at the weights, you’ll deplete your glycogen stores, which means when you do your cardio your body will be forced to burn fat. If you don’t usually do strength training, try getting into the habit of doing a few simple weight exercises and it will help you get the most out of your cardio workout.

Stretch while you rest. Make the most of your rest time between sets of strength exercises by stretching the muscle you’ve been working. This gives your strength workout a surprising boost- studies have shown that stretching frequently means not only improved flexibility, but greater strength as well.

Mix it up. Alternate between different types of exercises to target muscles in different ways, keeping your body challenged and alert. Switch between machines, hand weights, and body weight exercises, as well as varying the level of resistance to keep getting the maximum fat burning effect.

Add intervals. Vary your cardio program by adding intervals. Alternate between fast bursts of intense exercise with slower recovery sessions. For example, if you usually jog, sprint for 30 seconds giving it all you’ve got, then return to your regular pace. Keep alternating and push your body to its limits to burn some extra calories.

Shorten your rests. Make your rest periods between strength sets shorter to burn more calories. Start small and rest for 20 seconds after the first set, then gradually add more recovery time after each subsequent set as you get tired. 

Beat your best. When exercising on machines, keep an eye on how many calories you are burning. Then next time you do the same activity, try to beat that number by increasing your speed or resistance. Looking at the calories can be more motivating than constantly staring at the time!

Hit the hills. Whether you’re running, walking, or biking, add hills into your cardio routine. This will make you stronger and burn more calories in the time you spend working out. You can either find a hilly route outside or do repeats on one hill, or use the incline function on the treadmill. Try alternating between flat ground and an incline in intervals.

Lift slowly. When you’re doing weights, lift and release slowly to maximise the effect of each move. Most people lift slowly and release more quickly- try to get an even movement across the whole exercise.

Limit your workouts. Keep your workout time at 30 to 40 minutes and make sure the whole time is spent well. It’s better to work out at a higher intensity for a shorter amount of time than to dawdle about the gym for an hour or more, not getting much done.

Nudge up the pace. Once a week, increase the speed of your cardio workout. Try completing a whole session at your top pace, pretending you’re in a race. It will be hard at first, but work up to it and challenge your body to burn more calories and increase your fitness.

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