Want to burn more calories, gain more strength and get the most out of your workouts?
Here are five very doable ways to maximize the effectiveness of your workouts and do just that:
1. Do plenty of plyometrics.
If you played sports growing up, you probably remember endless hours of plyometric exercises during practice to help whip you into shape in a hurry. Exercises like squat jumps, burpees, long jumps and jump lunges, among others, are considered plyometric.
Your coaches had good reason to put you through all that: not only do plyometrics help you boost overall coordination and athleticism, they're an incredibly efficient way to improve your cardiovascular fitness quickly as well as help you lose weight faster than a slower, more moderate paced cardio (such as jogging) will.
Adding lots of them to your workouts will boost your workout efficiency, and better yet, help keep you from getting bored.
2. Swap your regular workout for HIIT.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a style of training where you alternate between periods of really intense training and rest for an efficient, fast-paced workout. Not only does HIIT allow you to get more done in less time than traditional workouts, you'll also get in shape faster working out this way.
Plus, since HIIT workouts will take you no more than 10 or 20 minutes to complete, you can always find time to fit them in your day, no matter how busy you are.
3. Work your entire body.
If you really want to get the most out of your workout, focus on exercises that work several muscle groups or your entire body at once. Opt for squats, burpees or planks over bicep curls and leg extensions. They'll burn more calories and you'll also be working your body functionally to help you move better in every day life.
4. Create clear, trackable goals.
Setting clear goals will not only keep you more motivated to work out in general, it'll also make your workouts more effective overall. When you have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish, you'll be much more likely to stay focused and work hard during your workouts and avoid getting lazy.
Goals can be anything from doing your very first pull up, to training for a marathon, to completing 100 burpees in a row, or whatever motivates you to keep going.
5. Increase your workout intensity.
To really maximize the effectiveness of your workouts, you have to step up the intensity. While exercising at a moderate pace will help you sustain your energy reserves for longer (if you're going for a long hike or running a marathon, for example), the best way to increase your efficiency and take advantage of every minute of your workout is to work really, really hard the entire time.
That means if you're not covered in sweat, gasping for air with aching muscles by the end of your workout, you're probably not working hard enough. Push yourself!