You've been working out a tonne and are convinced this is going to be the week that the number on the scale is finally where you want it to be. And then...nope. Womp womp.
Put away that sad trombone—with a few simple changes to your normal routine, you can finally start to see results. In fact, changing it up is basically the secret sauce for making progress—whether you want to lose weight or just get strong AF.
“Your body adapts to your workout, so it’s important to tweak your normal routine so you continue to get the most out of it,” explains Noam Tamir, founder of TS Fitness. Here are some of his favourite ways to switch up your workout if your goal is weight loss.
1. Warm up (but really tho)
If you jump into your workout without prepping your body first, well, you're a normal human being. But you won’t be able to perform as optimally (read: burn as many calories), says Tamir—that's why it’s crucial to begin with a good warmup. “Start with a couple mobility moves, like hip-opener drills, ankle drills, leg swings, and neck nods,” recommends Tamir. “All of these will help get the synovial fluid—the fluid inside of your joints—moving, which will help with your mobility overall." He also recommends paying some attention to your glutes, which are the biggest muscle in your body—and should be activated before any workout for max results. His activation moves of choice: single-leg bridges, lateral band walks, and deadbugs. “If you do just a couple of these moves before you begin, your workout will be much more effective.”
2. Work interval training into your cardio routine
“Interval training helps you burn more calories than you do when you’re exercising in a steady state,” explains Tamir. So if you're a treadmill junkie, sprint for 30 seconds and then walk for 30—and keep alternating that routine. You can try a similar technique on a bike or an elliptical—basically while doing any form of cardio. “You’ll be working harder when you’re going faster, which will spike your heart rate, and ultimately help you get more from your workout overall," says Tamir.
3. Focus on compound movements
Many of the machines at the gym target one specific muscle group, but if you’re focused on weight loss, your best bet for weight training is to opt for moves that use multiple muscle groups at once. “An example of this would be a squat versus a leg-extension machine,” explains Tamir. “You’re using more muscles overall, which ultimately means you’ll end up burning more calories."
4. Lift more weight
Because—you guessed it—you'll end up burning more calories.“For your upper body, try increasing the weight you’re using by 5 to 10 percent each week," says Tamir. "And for your lower body, increase the weight by 10 to 15 percent each week."
So if you're lifting 10 pounds, try increasing the weight by about about a pound for your upper body, and about two pounds for your lower body (depending on the weights you have; it doesn’t have to be exact).
And if you currently do only bodyweight stuff, start using weights. “The key is to choose a weight where you’ll still be able to do your moves with clean form." (Because going too big and getting injured definitely won't help you get in better shape.)
5. Refuel and rehydrate
“If you don’t do this, your body won’t get the optimal muscle gain from your workout, which will limit the amount of calories you burn in the long run,” says Tami. In addition to drinking lots of water, he recommends having protein post-workout—something like chocolate milk is great.
This article originally appeared in Women's Health US.