Picking Up the Pace
As your body adapts to activity, the routine will become easier for you to finish. This is great news -- you're becoming fitter! But it also means that you've got to ratchet up your efforts a notch if you want to continue to get results. To keep your body challenged, try to add another 10 percent to your cardio time every week or so -- for example, two more minutes if you've been working out for 20 minutes, and use the next weight or resistance level on your weight-lifting machine.
If you feel time-crunched or you've reached a reasonable limit (say, about 45 minutes), pick up the pace with interval training. After two to five minutes of easy exercise, go harder for a minute or two (or as long as you can), ease up for a minute or two, and repeat as many times as possible. If you're exercising for a short time, you might only get a couple of intervals in, but it's worth it, says Cunningham. The beauty is that the quick burst takes the calorie burn way up, even though you come down to a more comfortable pace again.
If you want to step up your gym workout, try dividing your time between at least two gym machines; exercise bike, treadmill, rowing machine, stair stepper, or elliptical climber. Hop from one machine to the next with no break. Mixing it up gives you better across-the-board usage of muscle groups, says Neporent. Plus, it's less boring so you might work out longer. You can also try alternating between upper- and lower-body moves to avoid muscle fatigue and keep it interesting by shuffling the order of exercises. You can also try new moves that work the same body parts, such as another variation of a biceps curl or squat, says Neporent.