Want to get healthy? It's time to clean up your diet and start working out. Whether that means hiring a personal trainer, getting a gym membership or working out from your living room, you want to get the most out of your workout. But how? Here are 10 tips:
1. Get your heart rate up. If you're trying to burn fat, you need to get your heart rate up. Try doing your cardio routine before strength training to keep your heart accelerated. You can learn more about your target heart rate here.
2. Make a schedule. If you make a plan and stick to it, your body will thank you. Going to the gym or working out just once a week isn't going to help you lose those last 10 pounds. You've got to commit to fitness and stay on track.
3. Try new things. You need to try new things and incorporate new moves or routines into your fitness schedule. This will force your body to keep working. We have tons of great workout videos you can try, or you can sign up for a Pilates, Zumba or spinning class!
4. Ask for help. If there's a machine you aren't sure how to use, don't just wing it — because you could seriously injure yourself. Instead, ask a gym employee how it's done. If there's a new move you want to try out in your at-home routine, make sure you're using proper form — it prevents strain and makes the move more effective. Check out our fitness index for step-by-step instructions on different exercises.
5. Compete. Whether you're secretly trying to run further than the person on the treadmill next to you or you want to beat your personal planking record, competition is an effective way to push yourself.
6. Put some weight into it. If you're a treadmill junkie or elliptical enthusiast, there is an easy way to pump up your routine. Try holding some dumbbells as you work out. You can start out with simple 3-pounders and move into something a bit heavier as you feel more confident. The added weight will increase resistance and challenge you to work harder.
7. Get your protein. When you eat healthy, you are fueling your body with the sustenance it needs. It's important you remember to feed your muscles as well. Try adding protein bars or a protein shake to your pre- or post-workout snack! Not sure you like the taste of a protein powder? This Brownie Batter Protein Shake will change your mind.
8. Try interval training. Intervals allow you to get in a high intensity workout with small breaks in between. If you want a good workout but don't have a lot of time to spare, intervals are for you! Check out our Beginner's Guide to Interval Training or try this 30-minute calorie-blasting routine.
9. Focus on your muscles. When we say focus on your muscles, we mean to keep them all in mind. As you work out, really focus on whatever muscle you're exercising to make sure you are using it to its fullest potential. When you are doing cardio, keep your abs engaged! It'll strengthen your core and often improve your form.
10. Work out with a partner. A fitness buddy will hold you accountable for actually going to the gym, but there are also a lot of other benefits to having a workout partner. You'll stay on the treadmill or elliptical longer if your friend does too, and you'll be less likely to give up on reps or rounds of your other exercises when you know someone is watching.