If your regular workout isn't giving you the results you want, you may need to train smarter, not harder

Do you find you just go through the motions at the gym, never really challenging yourself and not getting the results you want? If you said yes, then it’s time for a workout overhaul. By training smarter rather than harder, you’ll feel more satisfied, motivated and increase your fitness level in no time. Here are six surefire strategies to shake up your routine.

Strategy one: Aim for a total number of kilometers per week

A good way to start is to try and hit 30km per week using a variety of cardio machines. This is great motivation if some days you are a little time-poor and may only have 15 to 20 minutes to work out rather than thinking 20 minutes isn't worth it, and expends fewer kilojoules than other forms of cardio.

Cardio machines

Strategy two: The row/run combo

Row for 1 km then run for 10 minutes, increasing the running speed by 0.5km each minute. Repeat two or three times depending on your fitness level. 

Strategy three: Aim to burn 1672kJ before finishing each workout

Having a goal like this really helps to ramp up the intensity of your workouts because knowing that the faster and harder you go means less time in the gym is extremely appealing for most of us! So before you start using the equipment, take a minute to enter your age and weight details so the end kilojoule count is as accurate as possible. Alternatively, wear a heart rate monitor which will give you an even more accurate reading of your overall energy expenditure.

Aim to burn 1672kJ before finishing each workout

Strategy four: Push, skip and run

Start with a set of push-ups  then follow with  100 skips  (using a skipping  rope),  then a  1km  run  on the  treadmill, increasing the  incline  level  by one every  minute. Repeat three times. 

Strategy five: Choose four machines and include at least 10 intervals on each machine 

Interval training  is one of the  best ways to assist in fat  loss,  improve the heart's stroke  volume (making  it much  more  efficient and with  less wear  and tear) and also boost  overall  cardiovascular fitness.  Interval training also floods the body with those special endorphins that leave us feeling good.               

Too many people think that the best way to burn fat is to stay in the 'fat burning' zone, which means training at a low to moderate intensity. The  truth  is, yes, the main fuel  source  being  used  here  may  be fat,  but it is being  used at  a very slow rate. In fact, the body is usually in this zone all day so jumping on a treadmill in the same zone isn't going to cause greater fat loss.                                  

Interval training is one of the best ways to assist in fat loss

You will get a lot more bang for your buck when you train at a much harder intensity for a shorter period of time. This  is due to interval training's  effect on the body's  metabolism, which stays  elevated after you  have  actually finished exercising,  once again  leading to more  energy expenditure. Aim to include 10 intervals (sprints) on whatever cardio machine you choose before moving on to the next. Bear in mind that the fitter you are the longer the intervals should be (at least 30 seconds), with less recovery time in-between.              

If you're just starting out, try doing 10-second sprints with up to a minute to recover before starting the next sprint. Over time you will feel your fitness go through the roof, while at the same time you’re getting rid of the extra fat.

Strategy six: Treadmill/bodyweight combo

On a treadmill, walk at a fast pace for one minute, run at a challenging  pace for one minute and then walk up a challenging  incline for one minute. Repeat at least five times before finishing with three sets each of squat jumps, dips and walking lunges.

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