For some of us, exercise is more of a chore than it is a stress reliever or an enjoyment. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love sweating it out on the treadmill either. I understand that there are many benefits to working out, and that’s why I do it. I work out a few times a week to balance out my sedentary work life, but at the gym, things can get stale pretty quickly. I’d rather work out vigorously for a short period of time and burn a lot of calories than take it slowly.
I’m usually trying to balance my calorie intake with my energy output, so I’ve been trying to find various ways to burn more calories by doing workouts on the same equipment. These machines, including the treadmill, stair master, stationary bike and elliptical trainer, can usually be adjusted to your comfort level, but there’s no question that pushing your comfort level also burns more calories.
Here’s how I’ve been successful in burning more calories on equipment at the gym:
Increase the Incline
Of course, running and walking uphill burns more calories simply because it’s more difficult and strenuous. However, running uphill can take some training.
The good thing about machines like treadmills, is that you don’t have to increase the incline drastically. Even walking or running at an incline of 0.50 will burn more calories than a 0.00 incline.
You can adjust the incline as your body adjusts. If you are not used to walking or running on an incline, take it slow. The first week, try a 0.50 incline, followed by a 1.0 the next.
Even if you walk on an incline for only part of the time you are working out, you are still burning more calories.
Switch it Up
When you do the same workout over and over again, you start to find shortcuts and easier ways to do the workout. Some people hold the handles in front of them on the treadmill, for instance, or rely on momentum too much.
Changing your routine will burn more calories because you will begin to use different muscle groups, engage different areas of your body, and you won’t be as comfortable with the equipment so you won’t rely on shortcuts.
If you usually go straight to the elliptical for your cardio, switch to the stair climber for a portion of the time.
This also can prevent you from getting bored at the gym, which is a common excuse for cutting your workout short.
Add Some Weight or Resistance
Adding resistance on equipment or holding weights when working out without equipment can burn significantly more calories and provide you with a better workout all together. It also helps with muscle definition.
If you are doing jumping jacks, hold bean bags. If you are on the elliptical trainer, increase the ‘level’ at which you are using it. Even a small amount of weight, or one level, can go a long way.
It will seem difficult at first, but your body will get used to it and soon you’ll be wanting to increase the resistance even more.
Short Period of High Intensity Cardio
When I was in a fitness boot camp last year, the instructors always told us that this is what would burn the most calories. When I was researching the validity of it, I found out that working out for a short period of time with high intensity, then slowing down, then repeating this, is indeed a high calorie burner.
The reason for this is that the high intensity cardio increases your heart rate. When you slow down, your heart rate is still high. When you increase the intensity again, your heart rate increases again.
At the gym, to do this, I sprint for around 2 minutes, then lower my speed to a brisk walk for 2 minutes. I increase my speed again to a sprint, then I lower it. This keeps my heart rate up even though I’m not working hard consistently. The higher your heart rate, the more calories you are burning. This is also good for increasing your cardiovascular strength.
If you can combine these tips and tailor your workout, you will burn substantially more calories than if you stick with your same old routine.
How do you burn more calories at the gym?