Consistent exercise is an integral part of the weight-loss equation. Not only does it create a caloric deficit, requiring the body to make up for the energy needs by drawing from its own sources, but it also improves overall metabolic efficiency. Unfortunately, there are no secrets that allow one to put in little or no effort and get great benefits. However, quite a few additions are guaranteed to produce results when implemented to an exercise program.
Lifting heavy weights will not make people -- especially women who naturally produce lower testosterone levels -- big and bulky. In fact, lifting heavy weights, as long as the joints are healthy, will burn calories, build muscle and release a slew of hormones that actually burn through fat stores. Muscle is denser than fat, so it takes up less space while also requiring more energy while at rest. Strong, conditioned back and shoulder muscles also improve posture.
Eliminate long rest intervals while weight training. For better results, select four to six exercises, incorporating upper- and lower-body resistance and at least one plyometric exercise, such as jumping jacks, jumping rope or mountain climbers, to raise the heart rate. Perform each exercise one right after the other, giving yourself no longer than one minute to rest. Repeat this for three to five sets.
Use Correct Form
Incorrect form not only decreases the benefits but also puts one at risk for injury. When stress is continually placed on a joint or muscle that is not designed to move that weight, it could manifest in such problems as tears, strains, breaks and tightness. Proper form yields the best results both in terms of muscles toned and calories expended. For example, squatting is an important foundational movement, but incorrectly doing a squat could injure the knees or back.
Find a Workout Buddy
Having someone to share the exercise experience can ensure success. A workout buddy will both hold you accountable for showing up and and provide support and encouragement. This could be a co-worker, a spouse, a friend, a parent or a sibling, or find someone at your gym who tends to be there when you are. If none of these are possible, do it on your own and watch how many workout buddies come out of the woodwork when they see your results!
Change Up Your Routine
No matter how effective your workout routine is or was, if you continually do the same thing week in and week out, the effectiveness will wear off. The body is incredibly intelligent and loves to find ways to do things with as little energy as possible. The more efficient and proficient it becomes, the less calories it will burn while doing it. It is important to increase the intensity or do something entirely different. Examples would be to buy a new DVD, take a group class, join a CrossFit gym, do hot yoga or hire a personal trainer for a few sessions.
Erin Pochman has been a personal trainer in Los Angeles since 2009, certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is also a former elementary school teacher and graduate of the New York City Teaching Fellows program with a master’s degree from Hunter College. Pochman has been writing fitness and health articles since 2010.