This may come as a shock to you but you don't have to spend countless hours at the gym to get a lean, toned, fit body. When all is said and done, it is the workout that matters, not how long you are doing it. Working hard AND smart can be a whole lot more powerful than just working hard. The following are some tips that can help you get the most out of what you are doing so you can achieve your fat loss goals.
1. Break a sweat
If your goal is fat loss, you need to put effort into what you are doing. Going half-hearted through the motions just won't cut it. At the most basic scientific level, it is the intensity of your workout that matters when it comes to boosting your metabolism. So, if you aren't dripping in sweat at the end of it all, it is time to bump up that intensity!
2. Put on headphones
We all have tunes we love because they get us jacked up. When you are feeling low on energy, put on those headphones, crank it up and you'll find that the intensity of your workout will automatically increase.
3. Vary your intensity
Now that we've told you to bump it up, it is important to remember that you shouldn't go super intense, all the time. Research has found that your body burns more calories when you vary the intensity of your workout. So, if cardio is your bag, don't stay in a steady state. Throw in some intense intervals followed by less intense ones. This will help vary your heart rate. This type of work is known as high intensity interval training (HIIT) and it has become one of the most popular ways to workout. And rightfully so -- it works. It not only helps you burn lots of calories during your workout, it helps you to continue to burn for hours after you are finished.
4. Engage your core in every exercise
The majority of exercises require you to engage your core in one way or another. Engaging your core protects you by stabilizing your body but it will also help you burn more calories. Your core is one of the largest muscle groups in your body. Keeping it engaged activates your metabolism and helps you burn more fat. No matter what you are doing, remember your core!
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5. Incorporate balance exercises
Balance exercises are a great way to burn extra calories. When you use a Swiss ball or a Bosu ball, for example, your body has to engage a large number of muscle groups just to keep you steady and moving against gravity. More muscle engagement means more calories burned which means greater fat loss.
6. Get outdoors
Getting outside is a great way to mix things up. Not only will getting outdoors provide you with a change in scenery, it can help your body get more oxygen in the blood while boosting your intensity levels. Think about it. When you are outside, you are working against the elements. Even a slight breeze offers more resistance than you might imagine and have you ever done hill sprints? Uneven ground is your friend when it comes to intensity.
7. Lift weights
If you want to burn fat, you need to lift weights. Lifting weights is the way to build lean muscle and it is muscle that burns calories. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn. If you are already lifting, don't be afraid to increase the weight.
8. Get rid of time wasters
Keep your focus at the gym. If you are taking breaks every 5 minutes to run to the washroom, have a drink, talk to some people, you are not going to get the results you're looking for. Spending hours at the gym doesn't count if you aren't actually doing work in that time. Keep your focus sharp. Make sure your gym time is about your workout.
9. Don't forget to stretch
While many people like to skip it, stretching is essential. Stretching helps your muscles recover and prepares them for the work you will do in the future. If you don't stretch, your muscles will be tight and less effective the next time you hit the gym.
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