There's no denying that hard work and determination are essential if you want to get fit and see changes in your body and muscle tone. But some days you just want to get in and out of the gym fast without wasting any time.
Follow these tips to cut down your workout length so that you can get fit while still making it home in time for X Factor!
1. Grab a weight
Yes, you probably already use free weights for some exercises, but holding one in each hand while doing exercises like lunges can really amp up the amount of calories you burn without you even noticing. Don't slack off – choose a weight that's heavy enough for you to notice you're holding it. Strap-on ankle or wrist weights are also great for adding weight during an aerobic workout.
2. Add an extra level to your workout
Create mini-circuits during your workout by doing two sets of different exercises in a row before taking a break. For example, try a high-intensity leg workout (eg. lunges or squats) followed by a low-intensity one (eg. single leg calf raises) before taking a 30-second break and starting again. You'd be surprised how much further your body can take you when you give it a chance!
3. Change things up
Your body gets used to repeated workouts faster than you'd think, so what works for you this month mightn't get the same results next month. When it comes to training in the gym, be sure to increase weight and the number of repetitions every few days, as well as modifying certain exercises as you go, to make them more challenging. You should also be aiming to overhaul your workout routine completely every four weeks. Maybe that means switching exercise class, taking a more challenging route on your run, or working on certain areas more than you did before.
4. Take a group class
We can't all afford a personal trainer, but a group exercise class with an energetic teacher is a great way to push your body further than you ever would alone. Sure, it'll be pure hell while it's happening but you'll feel great after, we promise! Swap at least one solo workout a week for a class like spinning or body toning and you'll soon notice the difference.
5. Skip the treadmill
Yes, cardio machines such as treadmills and bikes are great when you want to fit in some aerobic exercise while at the gym, but try to get outside whenever you can. The air resistance and changing terrain outdoors will challenge your body far more, meaning you'll get fitter faster. Why not sign up for a 10k or half marathon in your area to really motivate yourself to get training outdoors?
6. Cool down after your workout
It might seem like an afterthought, but a few cool down stretches are essential for avoiding injury after you train. You don't want to be aching next time you work out, so take 30 seconds or a minute to do a few arm, oblique and leg stretches after every session.