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Your Fat Burning Workout Routine

Supercharge your workout routine with these small but powerful changes to lose weight fast

Everyone has their own workout routine, and while we approve of the "workout," the "routine" has us worried. Familiarity might be comfortable, but it's not effective certainly not when it comes to a sweat session. Doing the same thing over and over lulls your muscles into an I-can-do-this tedium and lessens your calorie burn.

The good news: You don't need to ditch your current workout to see more weight loss success results. You just need to learn how to rev it up. Follow these tips for an ultra-efficient workout that zaps more calories and burns more fat. 

The Treadmill

Your Comfort Zone

Flipping channels on the tube, you lope along, either running or walking, at the same ho-hum speed you were at yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that.

Blast More Fat

Don't bounce. You're not in an allergy-drug ad, running through fields of flowers. Keep your movement forward, not up and down.  Anything vertical is wasted energy: It doesn't help you.  By focusing on what's ahead, you'll go faster and burn more calories in a shorter period of time.

Squeeze your glutes.  Do it as you push off your toes. By focusing on your backside, you'll contract and tone the muscle and make it, not the fat. And the more muscle you have, the more calories you'll need to maintain it and the more fat you'll burn.

Challenge your muscles. At the end of a workout, slow your speed to 2.5 to 3.5 miles per hour. Skip for 30 seconds, walk for 30; walk backward for 30, forward for 30; stand sideways and shuffle with your right foot leading for 30 seconds, walk for 30, and repeat with left foot leading.  You'll call into action other muscles that don't work while going forward.  Which means they'll be surprised as will the person on the treadmill next to you and add to the calorie burn.

Form Fix

Tread lightly. Runners should land lightly to minimize impact on the joints; you shouldn't be able to hear your foot strike over your iPod. If you can, pretend as if you're landing on eggs and don't want to break them; you may need to slow the speed to get control of your strides.

Elliptical Trainer

Your Comfort Zone

Gliding along at a medium pace, your legs are on autopilot. And, if the machine has arms, your upper body is too.

Blast More Fat

Never stop working. To maximize fat burning, don't let the machine's gliding momentum dictate your pace. Your leg muscles should push the pedals around. If there are rails, lightly rest your hands on them but no white-knuckling, since you may end up supporting your body weight that way.

Use intervals. During every third song on your MP3 player or every commercial break, ramp up the intensity and go as hard as you can.  A steady pace at a sustainable speed burns calories consistently, but intervals blast up the count.

Use your whole body. Every other minute, concentrate on strengthening your arms or core you'll recruit more muscles and incinerate more fat. For example, if you're on a full-body machine, consciously engage your arms; push and pull with the same intensity as you're using for your legs. If it's a lower-body machine, put your arms in an athletic position elbows bent, upper arms close to your ribs to strengthen your core. For tips to blast your buns at the gym.

Form Fix

Make sure your knees are pointing in the same direction as your toes.   That puts severe stress on your ligaments.

Stair Stepper

Your Comfort Zone

You're bent forward at the hips, elbows locked, hands on the rails to ease your load on your beloved hills program, where you've been slogging away at level 7 since Christmas.

Blast More Fat

Stand up straight. Pretend you're squeezing a balloon between your shoulder blades. Use the rails for balance only, not support. Picture-perfect posture forces your core and back muscles to contract great for toning. And engaging more muscles means burning more fat.

Mix up the depth of your stepping. In doing so, you'll surprise your muscles, which leads to an increased calorie burn. If you're a short stepper, add 1 minute of long, slow steps every 5 minutes\. If you usually go long and slow, pick up the pace and shorten the step to about 6 inches to make your muscles react and therefore adapt that's where the change comes in.

add some weights.

Integrate this 10-minute total body challenge, into your stair-stepping workout to tone and challenge muscles and blast more fat. Each section lasts two minutes. For a back and shoulder workout, extend your arms from your shoulders and do small circles in one direction for 10 counts, then reverse directions for ten.

To build shin strength, use just the balls of feet to push down the pedals (don't lift heels); For hamstrings, use just heels on the pedals (keep your toes lifted).

For an abs workout, holding a 3- to 5-pound weight in each hand. Bend your elbows and palms close to your abs and twist slowly from side to side as you keep your abs engaged. For the last two minutes, increase the machine speed and keep twisting.

Tuck your glutes under your hips. And make sure your feet are flat on the pedals. If you originate all movement in your core, not your legs, it will (a) hurt like a bitch and (b) work new muscles hard [see (a)], giving you you guessed it a more intense burn.

Spinning Class

Your Comfort Zone

Forget sweating you haven't even started glistening yet. And you're about to start the cool down. What was that about indoor cycling being such a good workout?

Blast More Fat

Crank it up. God created the resistance knob for a heavenly reason. Use it, especially on hills, to whittle your thighs to swimsuit-worthy slimness.  A pace of 60 to 80 revolutions per minute on hills. Find yours by counting how many times one foot goes around in 15 seconds and multiplying by four.

And keep it there. On flat terrain, aim for 80 to 110 rpm. That way, you'll use your muscles, not the momentum of the weighted front wheel, to power the bike. Go faster and you risk momentum taking over.  If you're going above 110, you need to increase resistance until you're back in the 80 to 110 range.  That makes the workout much harder and the calorie burn more significant than just pedaling faster.

Sit when you climb. This increases your muscular endurance and incinerates more fat. When you stand, you can use your whole leg for leverage and your body weight for momentum; sitting means you have to push more weight around with less help.  Unless you increase the resistance significantly, standing is basically bailing out of a climb.

Form Fix

If the bike doesn't fit your frame, you won't get the maximum benefit from your ride (you will, however, get a massive back ache.) If you've got petite feet, don't cram them into the toe cage.  The ball of your foot should be over the pedal.  Otherwise, your arch supports all your weight and your foot goes numb.  Your seat should be high enough so your knee bends slightly at the bottom of a pedal stroke, and it should be far enough away from the handlebars so that, when the pedals are at 3 and 9 o'clock, your knees are directly over your ankles.  Most people have their seats too close to their handlebars, and that puts tremendous stress on the knees.


Your Comfort Zone

You pass the yellow house 7 minutes into your run, the coffee shop 10 minutes later. Thirteen minutes after that, you're home where you take off your shoes so you can find them tomorrow to do the exact same route.

Blast More Fat

Run tall. Even more important, think about running tall.  Doing that immediately stops you from slouching and forces your arms to go front to back, not side to side.  Your hips stay tucked under, your butt doesn't stick out, and as a result, your stride is much more effective: You go farther with less energy expended.  The result? You can suddenly run longer and burn more calories.

Mix it up. Run your regular route in the opposite direction so your body doesn't know when to expect the hills. Better yet: Change your speed.  People shuffle when they run at the same pace all the time.  The body gets very efficient and doesn't have to work.  If you typically run 30 minutes, try this 3-day routine: Day 1, go slower than your usual pace, but run for 40 minutes. Day 2, speed it up a notch, but run for only 20 minutes. Day 3, throw in some intervals: Run fast for 1 minute, easy for 2, and repeat 6 to 10 times.  Not only does that make the workout go by fast, but it also burns more calories.

Drill it in. At the end of a workout, slim down your legs, bump up your heart rate, and build speed by doing drills. For 15 seconds, do knee pulls: Pull one knee high until your quads are parallel to the ground, then alternate with the other knee in rapid succession. Jog for 1 minute. Do 15 seconds of butt kicks: Try to hit your glutes with your heel. Jog for 1 minute. Finally, do grapevine (moving sideways, step your left foot over your right foot, then your left foot behind your right foot). Do 15 seconds, leading with one foot, then 15 seconds with the other. Jog for 1 minute, then cool down. As your strength increases, add sets.

Weight Training

Your Comfort Zone

Intimidated by heavy metal, you stick to the light stuff nothing more than 10 pounds, please then saunter over to the watercooler for an extended drink.

Blast More Fat

Pop some veins. Forget vanity. The weight you're hoisting should leave you red-faced and weak.  By the last rep, you should feel as though you have to put the weight down.  Three sets are plenty.  Each day you lift, change it up. On one day, choose a weight you can lift for 8 to 12 reps; the next session, go with a lighter weight and lift 12 to 15 reps; on the last session, increase the load and lift only six to eight reps. It won't make you huge. It will build more muscle, which (all together now) burns more fat.

Minimize downtime. Allow 1 minute between sets for maximum burn. You'll keep your heart rate elevated and your metabolism juiced both helpful calorie-burning boosts.

Recruit all muscles. To use as many muscles as possible, stand instead of sitting. Or, even better, stand on a Bosu or balance board. Don't let machines be an excuse to rest. For example, on the chest press machine, don't let your back touch the seat (or drop the seat all the way down). Get into a squatting position and do the reps from there.

Form Fix 

Just say no to the inner- and outer-thigh machine, the most overused and under-needed piece of equipment. The inner and outer thighs get a much better workout when you do squats, lunges, step-ups and leg presses; anytime you have to keep your knee tracking forward, they get a workout.

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