Rich Fit: bodyfat-fighting strategies

1) Add Intervals To Your Cardio Work

The Caloric Effect: 150 calories

“Interval training burns more calories than steady-state training because you can do more work in the same amount of time,” says Tom Seabourne, who has a PhD in exercise science and is author of Athletic Abs with Scott Cole (Human Kinetics, 2002). To use this calorie-burning technique, Seabourne suggests that you include sprints with your jogging, add jogging to your fast-paced walking or increase the difficulty level or pace when using cardio equipment. “Add 60 seconds of interval training every other minute or so. The harder you work, the more calories you’ll burn,” Seabourne advises.

Comment: Not only do you burn more calories during these intense interval cycles, but they also rev up your calorie-burning during the hours following your training.

2) Increase Your Weights By 5%-10%

The Caloric Effect: 500-600 calories

“This technique shakes up your workout,” says Steve Zim, fitness expert for NBC’s Weekend Today. “A lot of people get stuck using the same weights and reps over and over. Their bodies acclimate to the workload, and they don’t burn as many calories as they would if they provided their body with unexpected stimulation.” Increasing your training weights 5%-10% is a great way to do this.

Comment: Research shows that heavy training (in the 6-8-rep range) increases metabolic rate over the subsequent two days, helping you burn up to 600 calories more than after lightweight training (12-15-rep range). In addition, by raising your weight just 5%, you may find yourself more inspired, encouraging you to work harder and burn even more calories.

3) Mix Up Your Cardio

The Caloric Effect: 50-100 calories

Got a favorite cardio machine in the gym? Ditch it. You may be surprised by how much more beneficial cross-training is vs. performing the same exercise during every cardio session. “When you include a variety of cardio machines in your routines treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical, cross-country ski machine, stair-stepper you stimulate the same muscles in new ways or even work different muscle groups. The more groups you use that are unaccustomed to training, the harder you must work at an exercise, thus you burn more calories,” says Seabourne.

Comment: Use your heart rate as a guide to ensure that you achieve the same level of intensity on different pieces of equipment. Some machines feel more difficult than others, even if they’re set at a level below where you should be training.

4) Avoid Consecutive Days Of Rest

The Caloric Effect: 250-500 calories

“Try to avoid taking more than one rest day at a time,” Zim says. “You need a rest day after every 3-4 days of training in a row, but subsequent rest days can begin to lower your metabolic rate.”

Comment: For the best effect on both metabolism and muscle recovery, strive to train three days on, one day off. To keep up your metabolic rate, take off a second or third day only when you feel overtrained or under the weather. Even though you don’t feel like hitting the gym on those days, try doing some kind of aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes.

5) Split Your Workout Into Two

The Caloric Effect: 100-300 calories

“Instead of doing an hour-and-a-half workout in the morning, try doing 45 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes after work,” says Zim. This revs up your metabolic rate twice a day instead of once. During the last half of a long training session, you may work out with less intensity because of fatigue; by splitting your training, you recover enough to burn more calories in your second 45-minute installment.

Comment: Calorie-burning can vary based on your intensity. The effects of two metabolism-boosting sessions will stay with you all day.