1. Clock more aerobic cardio. Any activity that permits you to talk but makes it difficult to carry out long conversations (i.e. aerobic exercise) is a secret weapon for weight loss, says Edward Jackowski, Ph.D., founder of EXUDE Fitness training programs and author of Escape Your Weight. Unlike weight lifting or uber-intense, unsustainably difficult activities (i.e. anaerobic exercise), most people can physically sustain aerobic exercise for long enough to burn a substantial amount of calories.
2. Actually work. Going through the motions won’t help you lose weight — even if you half-ass it for 45 minutes. “From a scientific perspective, it’s the intensity of exercise that raises the metabolism,” says Jackowski. Instead of worrying about your heart rate, stick with this rule of thumb: If you don’t feel winded and you have the capacity to step it up, you should be moving faster. So long as you tax you system, you’ll benefit just as much as someone who’s more fit and running faster than you on next treadmill.
3. Fluctuate between different intensities. When you change things up, every system of the body has to adapt, explains Franci Cohen, an exercise physiologist, certified nutritionist, and founder of the Brooklyn, New York-basedFuel Fitness. If that sounds like an awful lot of effort, that’s because it is — and that’s good. The more work you give your body to do, the more fuel (calories!) it needs to burn to get the job done.
So, several times throughout your workout, alternate between fast-paced aerobic exercise and exercises that are way too hard to keep up for more than a minute.
4. Do not fear weights. While lifting weights won’t necessarily burn fat, it will build muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns after you leave the gym and plop down on the couch, Jackowski explains. Another thing: Weight training keeps your muscles in shape so they looked toned when you shed the fat that’s now covering them up.
5. Exhaust whatever muscle you’re working. That burning sensation you get in your thighs after doing lots of lunges? That’s means you’ve reached your anaerobic threshold — you’ve worked as hard as you possibly can, and you’ve burned more calories because of it.