Every health club has one: The dedicated gym rat who shows up day after day, week after week, but never seems to get in better shape. Don't let that person be you. If you're going to put in the time, you deserve the payoff, right? To help you eke more out of every workout, we asked top trainers, exercise physiologists, and sports nutritionists for their best tips and moves—31 in all. Their cutting-edge ideas and oldie-but-goodie reminders will help you get toned faster and burn more calories with every session. Even if you use only a few of them, you'll soon be that woman at the gym who shows up looking better every time!
1. VISUALIZE YOUR WORKOUT
Before your next session, take 10 seconds to picture yourself powering through it, says sports psychologist Jason Selk, the author of 10-Minute Toughness. It will serve as a warm-up of sorts for your muscles, preparing them for the work ahead, and can improve your form.
2. MAXIMIZE YOUR REST TIME
Give your strength workout a surprising boost by spending the time between sets stretching the muscle you're working. A study published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine found that subjects who stretched their hamstrings five times a week for six weeks not only improve their flexibility, they also significantly strengthened both their hamstrings and quadriceps.
3, 4, and 5. HIT THE HILLS
Even if you're doing intervals once or twice a week, following the same plan every session eventually takes less effort as your body gets fitter, says trainer Brett Hoebel, the creator of the RevAbs exercise program and founder of Hoebel Fitness. He suggests varying your interval program with one of these 3 treadmill plans.
FLAT SPRINTS Set the treadmill at a constant 1 percent grade and run of walk fast (you should be completely out of breath) for 30 seconds. Recover at an easy intensity for 60 seconds. Repeat 9 times.
HILL DRILLS Run or walk for 30 seconds at an 8 percent grade followed by 60 seconds at a 1 percent grade. Repeat 9 times.
CONSTANT CLIMB Set the treadmill at an 8 percent grade and walk or run for 30 seconds at a moderate pace (you should be out of breath) followed by 60 seconds at a slower pace, still on the 8 percent incline. Repeat 9 times.
Next Page: More moves to help you lose weight fast