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Top 5 Ways to Lose More Weight with Your Existing Workout
You’ve established a healthy workout schedule, working up a sweat three to five times a week—but why aren’t you losing weight? Depending on how much weight you have been trying to lose, you may have hit your fitness plateau.
The solution isn’t necessarily longer workouts. We consulted two of our favorite fitness professionals to find out their favorite strategies for kicking up your workout. The best part? Their methods won’t make you add more sweat sessions!
1. Vie for Variety
If you’ve been doing the same moves for months on end, your body is probably bored. “Each time you perform an activity, your body gets efficient at that activity and it remembers the movement and gets better at doing it. This in turn allows the body to go on autopilot, which decreases the number of calories burned,” says Patricia Moreno, a fitness professional for more than 20 years and the founder of intenSati™ fusion exercise techniques.
Adding variety can be as simple as doing your usual workout in reverse order or picking out a few new moves from a fitness magazine. When working on your cardio, vary the incline and don’t hold onto the handles—your glutes will work harder than ever. “If you love to go fast, slow it down and add some resistance. If you love to go slow, increase the speed and lower the resistance,” Moreno advises.
Feeling adventurous? Try a new exercise class! Curious about yoga? Longing for the days of ’80s step aerobics classes? Replace one of your usual workouts with a class you’ve wanted to try or one you wouldn’t normally take.
2. The Joy of Jump Ropes
Not only will adding jump-rope intervals to your workout shock your body into burning more calories, it may shorten the time you spend sweating. Jumping rope between lifting weights “creates an interval workout with bursts of energy, and you will burn many more calories,” says Tanja Djelevic, Los Angeles celebrity trainer, fitness writer and founder of Loud Teenz health and self-esteem program.
By spending one or two minutes jumping rope for ever three or four weight-training moves you do, you will combine toning and cardio seamlessly. Even if you are best friends with your gym’s treadmill, you might find it difficult to jump rope for two minutes. Start with 30-second jumping intervals and work up to a full two minutes.
3. Capitalize on Compound Moves
Another way to burn more calories and possibly even cut time from your workout: compound moves. “This means that you are doing several moves in the same exercise, thus giving your body a greater challenge and intensifying your workout,” says Djelevic. She suggests a forward walking lunge with a bilateral (both arms) bicep curl in the lowered position. When you stand up, rotate the arms to an overhead press while lifting the knee into a balance on one leg.
Other compound moves worth trying:
- Squat with a bilateral bicep curl
- Pushup with side plank yoga pose
- One-legged balance with tricep kickback
4. Sweat It off with Speed Training
Similar to interval training, speed training pushes you out of your cardio comfort zone and into slimmer jeans. “If you are on a treadmill, bike, swimming or running, do intervals of speed training where you hold yourself in a sprint-like zone for 45 seconds to one minute,” suggests Moreno. “You have to increase your speed to the point where it is challenging and you cannot hold it for more than a minute or so. Slow down until you have recovered just long enough to catch your breath, then speed up again.”
Along with improving your cardio capacity, speed intervals ensure that you won’t get bored while staying in shape. Who has time to read about Britney Spears or Tom Cruise when you are continuously sprinting and recovering? The amount of weight you lose with this technique is all up to you. “It is easy to stay comfortable and take it easy when you are doing cardio for an extended period of time. Intensity is the key. The amount of fat you lose is in proportion to the intensity you put forth,” Moreno says.
5. Stay Energized with Empowerment
A few positive words and personal encouragement can make all the difference. “[Empowerment] engages you on two other levels—other than just the physical level, it adds the mental and emotional levels,” says Moreno. “The biggest challenge we have when training is staying engaged at a level that will increase our strength and endurance, and sometimes our mind slips into ‘complaining mode.’ And if that complaining mentality is allowed to linger, it will diminish our physical strength and we will not have the mental strength to keep up long enough.”
Adding empowering thoughts to your workout can be done in various ways. Starting your workout with an uplifting song can help you get into the rhythm of your sweat session. If you aren’t the music type, repeating helpful phrases in your mind while doing difficult moves (weighted squats, anyone?) can have the same effect.
Here are a few mental affirmations that Moreno suggests to her clients:
I am strong now.
I can do this.
I am getting leaner and leaner.
I can handle this.
I am better now.
I feel great now.
“If your mind is allowed to wander, there is no way you can get optimum results, and when you have a powerful thought, it inspires great action and great action leads to great results,” says Moreno.”