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Experts Reveal: 15 Workout Upgrades for Better Results

Jackie Warner: Try Cardio Acceleration

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If you're ready to take your fitness to the next level in 2012, fitness expert, celebrity trainer, and star of Personal Training with Jackie: 30 Day Fast Start Jackie Warner recommends trying "cardio acceleration."

Cardio acceleration basically means that you add one to two minutes of high-intensity cardio between your sets of resistance training. At home, you can do this by doing 100 rotations with a jump rope when doing any weight lifting or by adding squat jumps after you do a set of squats at the gym.

"It's brutal, but I guarantee you will feel sore," Warner says. "And you want that soreness so that your body changes."

Mandy Ingber: Take a 30-Minute Walk

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Mandy Ingber, the creator of Yogalosophy and celebrity yoga instructor to Jennifer Aniston, Kate Beckinsale, Ricki Lake, Brooke Shields, and Helen Hunt, says that simply adding 30 minutes of walking to your daily routine can do wonders.

"Either in the morning or night, take a 30-minute walking break three times a week," Ingber says. "You will help to align your spine, your mind—the 'left-right' motion balances the hemispheres of the brain—and you will burn extra calories without even realizing it as you slow down and get in the moment!"

Jari Love: Build More Muscle

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Star of the new "Get Extremely Ripped: Revved to the Max" DVD, Jari Love says that regularly lifting weights can help to build and preserve muscle mass, especially if you're looking to lose weight. In fact, research shows that as you lose weight, a portion of each pound you lose comes from muscle, which slows your metabolic rate. A recent study found that when people cycled for 30 minutes a day, they lost three pounds of fat and a half-pound of muscle, whereas those who cycled for 15 minutes and weight trained for 15 minutes lost 10 pounds of fat and gained two pounds of muscle, she says. The weight-lifting group also increased their metabolic rate, allowing them to burn an additional seven calories per pound per day.

"While cardio is important for maintaining cardiovascular health, maximum benefits will come from cardio plus weight training to build lean muscle that burns more calories and fat," Love says.

Fit Chef Katy: Be Mindful

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Fit Chef Katy Clark may have won over viewers on Food Network Star season 7 with her vivacious personality and healthy dishes, but this mother of three is also a fitness competitor who teaches classes on getting in shape. The best small change you can make? Pay attention to what you're doing—and why you're doing it.

"Working out is hugely mental, and when you are focused in the mind, your body will follow!" Clark says. "I love the way I look in my skinny jeans and bikini more than that cheesecake, and when I work out I am mentally aware of each body party and what my healthy choices are accomplishing!"

Andrea Metcalf: Take the Stairs Two by Two

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We've all heard the fit advice to take the stairs rather than the elevator, but Andrea Metcalf, a healthy lifestyle expert and author of Naked Fitness: The Proven 28 Day Weight Loss Program for a Slimmer, Fitter, Pain-Free Body, says that you can burn calories and better strengthen the quads and glutes by taking the stairs two at a time. Try it—it works!

Dr. Lynn: Flex Your Brain

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If you can't make it to the gym, why not give your ol' brain a challenge and learn something new instead? Doing just that can help you burn extra calories, says Dr. Lynn Anderson.

"According to Popular Science, your brain needs one-tenth of a calorie per minute just to stay alive, but give it something challenging and you can increase the output to about 1.5 calories per minute," she says. "It takes 400 calories a day to keep the brain functioning. Fire it up, and you could burn an extra 150-200 calories per day while learning something new."

Kristin mcGee: Just Breathe

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Doing something as simple as focusing on your breath can be any easy way to get more fit, says Kristin McGee, a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor whose clients include Tina Fey, Steve Martin, Christine Taylor Stiller, LeAnn Rimes, and Bethenny Frankel.

" When you pay attention to your breath, you pay attention to the activity you are doing, so you get more out of it," McGee says. "Yoga is so beneficial for that very matter. When you are mindful of what you are stretching, you go deeper in to the stretch. It can be applied to anything from strength training to running to tennis."

Nicole Nichols: Get Up from Your Desk

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Sitting for hours on end can wreak havoc on your waistline, as well as increase your risk of many lifestyle-related diseases—even if you do exercise regularly, says Nicole Nichols, fitness expert and editor for SparkPeople.com, who was recently named America's "Top Personal Trainer to Watch" by ACE and Life Fitness.

"Stand when you’re on the phone, walk down the hall to chat with your co-worker instead of using email or AIM, take a short brisk walk midday to recharge (instead of drinking another cup of coffee)," she says. "It will all boost your productivity, your calorie burn, and your health!"

Kathy Smith: Find a Partner

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Creator of the "Ageless with Kathy Smith" DVD line, "Staying Strong" and "Total Body Turnaround," Kathy Smith is a veteran in the fitness industry. The best— and easiest—thing she says that you can do to get fitter is to get your friends or family involved in your exercise activities.

"The accountability and combined enjoyment from group exercise can turn each workout into a chance to really connect," Smith says. "You’ll have more desire to keep up the activity and find the support you need to stay healthy."

Photo courtesy of Acacia.

Fred DeVito: Exercise Before Breakfast

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Working out first thing in the morning is a surefire way to fit fitness into your day. But, committing to a regular morning workout can be challenging if you're not a morning person. That's why Fred DeVito, co-creator of the "Exhale: Core Fusion" DVD series recommends doing a set of 20 push-ups and a 60-second forearm plank before breakfast.

"This will activate your core muscles and rev up your metabolism for the day," he says.

Photo courtesy of Acacia.

Linda LaRue: Sign Up for Emails with Fitness Deals

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In order to keep your workout momentum going, fitness expert and creator of the total-body core training system The Core Transformer Linda LaRue recommends signing up for emails like Groupon and Living Social to get great discounts on gyms and workout classes.

"Variety will keep it fun, keep you from getting stale, and variety will confuse your muscles so they'll burn the most calories instead of hitting a plateau," she says.

Tara Stiles: Meditate

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Want to change your life for the fitter? Daily meditation will do it, says Tara Stiles, the founder and owner of Strala yoga studio, personal yoga instructor to Deepak Chopra, and author of the best-selling book, Slim Calm Sexy Yoga.

"I'm not talking about anything super heady or serious," Stiles says. "Literally just wake up, sit up, and pay attention to your breath for 5 minutes in the a.m. and again before bed. It will wipe your stress, increase access to your intuition and your creativity, re-wire your brain to treat yourself well, and leave you feeling like you just hit the refresh button on your own system every time!

Jennifer Cohen: Measure Performance, Not Pounds

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Instead of using pounds lost or minutes spent working out as a gauge for success, use something objective that's truly motivating like heart rate, says Jennifer Cohen, Weight Watchers’ spokeswoman and author of No Gym Required. As you get fitter, you'll be able to work harder at a lower heart rate.

"Your workout strategy should be form follows function," she says. "When you work on your performance, the fit body you're after will come into place."

John Dull and Michele Collier: Swap Weight Lifting for Circuit Training

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It doesn't take hours in the gym to get fit. In fact, you can build muscle and burn fat in less time by tweaking your usual weight-lifting routine into a circuit. Creators of the "Supreme 90 Day" system John Dull and Michele Collier recommend doing a total-body resistance workout by moving from exercise to exercise with minimal rest between sets and exercises. This combines your strength and cardio workout into one!

Tamal Dodge: Don't Get Stuck in a Rut

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While having a routine is good, getting stuck in a workout rut is an easy way to lose motivation and stop seeing results. Tamal Dodge, star of the “Element: Hatha & Flow Yoga for Beginners” DVD, says it's best to mix things up. If you like to lift weights, find a cardio exercise. If you do yoga, find a step class to go to.

"If you do this, you will have huge results as your muscles will be continually guessing what you are doing and never retaining memory," Dodge says. "So you will progress exponentially!"

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