Want to make sure you're not wasting your time at the gym? Keep these tips in mind to maximize calorie burn and help you get in and out.
- Have caffeine before: A little bit of caffeine can help improve your stamina, strength, and speed, studies show. Go for one milligram of caffeine per kilo of body weight (for example, a 130-pound woman should consume 59 milligrams of caffeine, or about five ounces of coffee) to reap the benefits.
- Make sure you warm up: You want to get in and get out, but if you want to maximize what your body can do during your workout, you've got to take a few minutes to ease into your session. Start with a five-minute jog or these dynamic stretches in order to help make sure your workout is a good one.
- Do intervals or supersets: Who wouldn't want to burn more calories in less time? High-intensity intervals or strength-training supersets (doing a pair of exercises in quick succession) rev up your metabolism and burn more calories faster than a slower, steadier workout.
- Go in the morning: Research has shown that morning exercisers burn more calories, possibly because that's when your body's energy is at its peak. If, however, you don't feel like you're better before dawn, go when you feel your most energetic.
- Work out with a fit friend: A recent study found that those who exercised with a fit friend ended up performing better in their workouts than people who exercised more. If you can't sync up with a workout buddy, find a studio or gym class so you can challenge yourself.
- Go for five more minutes: You've done the hard part, so why not go for a little bit longer for even more calorie burn? You can even end up burning 50 extra calories. Pushing yourself to go a little bit longer every few sessions can help challenge your body so you continue to see results.
- Eat a post-workout snack: Want to burn more calories even after your workout is done? Feed those overworked muscles. Having a carb- and protein-rich snack within two hours of your workout will help repair muscles to make them stronger — and bigger muscles means higher metabolism. These post-workout snacks under 150 calories will help you feed your body before your next meal.
- Stay hydrated: Dehydration can cause fatigue, so make sure you keep energy levels up by staying hydrated throughout your workout. Six ounces every 15 minutes should do the trick, or just make sure you bring along a water bottle and sip when you're thirsty.
- Multitask: Don't just stand there doing bicep curls — work multiple parts of your body at once for a more-effective sweat session. That means pick up weights when you squat and incorporate total-body moves like planks and burpees into your sets. Check out this video of three of our favorite total-body moves for ideas.