3 Smart Ways to Maximize Your Workout

3 Smart Ways to Maximize Your Workout

Tired of your old fitness routine? Want to get better results in less time? Or perhaps you’ve hit a plateau? If so, it’s time to tweak your workout! Simple changes, such as swapping gym machines for free weights and replacing cardio with HIIT, can make all the difference. The whole point is to keep your body guessing and find an approach that works best for you. Forget about cookie-cutter workouts and fancy gym equipment! All you need is a custom exercise plan and good nutrition.

Beware that not even the best workout program can compensate for bad eating. Exercise and diet are equally important. Thus, you might need to change your eating habits. Depending on your goals, boost your protein intake, cut back on carbs, or adjust your daily calories. A balanced diet can take your workouts to the next level and speed up your progress.

Ready to give it a try? Here are three smart ways to maximize your workout:

Focus on Compound Lifts

Push Ups

Not all exercises are created equal. Some develop core strength and build lean mass. Others boost functional fitness and promote fat loss. Regardless of your goals, compound lifts should be a priority. The squat, deadlifts, pull-ups, push-ups, rows, bench presses, and lunges hit nearly every muscle in your body. They increase muscle size and strength, accelerate your metabolism, and enhance physical performance.

Compound lifts also stimulate the release of anabolic hormones, such as testosterone and HGH. This helps improve body composition and muscle gains. Moreover, compound exercises allow you to lift heavier weights, which further promotes muscle growth and strength. The more muscle you carry, the faster your metabolism. Ideally, compound lifts should account for about 80 percent of your routine.

Cut Back on Cardio

How much time do you spend on the treadmill each day? Is it 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or a full hour? Contrary to popular belief, cardio isn’t the key to leanness. It can actually stall your progress and make it harder to lose weight. Excessive cardio, especially when combined with a calorie deficit, leads to muscle loss.

Cut Back on Cardio

This form of exercise burns both fat and muscle while increasing cortisol levels. Cortisol, the stress hormone, promotes fat storage and slows down your metabolism. It also increases hunger and puts stress on your joints. Fatigue, low energy, and sugar cravings are common side effects. Additionally, your body adapts to steady state cardio quite fast and begins to preserve calories instead of burning them for fuel. To lose fat and preserve lean mass, keep your cardio session short. Don’t exceed 30-40 minutes per session.

HIIT the Gym Hard

If you’ve been training for a while, you may have heard about HIIT. Minute per minute, this workout method is better for fat loss than cardio. A typical session involves short, intense of exercise followed by rest or less intense exercise. The movements are explosive and heart-pounding, leading to a greater energy expenditure.

With HIIT, you’ll torch stubborn fat while maintaining lean mass. This training method will ignite your fat-burning engine and send your metabolism into overdrive. In the long run, it increases cardiovascular endurance, regulates blood pressure, and improves blood lipid profile. Its health benefits are backed up by science.

The best part is that you won’t spend more than 15 minutes in the gym. HIIT workouts are short and intense, burning a ton of calories. Tabata, the most challenging HIIT routine, takes just four minutes. Actually, you don’t even need a gym to complete your workout. HIIT requires no equipment, so you can do it anytime, anywhere!

Depending on your fitness level, you can experiment with new exercises, add plyometrics to your routine, or perform full body circuits. Keep your workouts varied to shock your muscles into growth. Eat for your goals and hit the gym at least four times a week.

What is your favorite routine?  Share with us in the comments below



  1. You are right where you remind us even the best workout won’t compensate for a bad diet. Because what we eat really does make a difference. So exercise and eating right would go hand in hand. I need to step up the exercise side. Thanks for this information.

  2. Yes I agree that even the best exercise routine requires us to eat a balanced diet too. Otherwise we would defeat our efforts. What would you recommend a person starting point would be if they do not have an exercise routine? Do you think a Gym membership is a good place to start?

    • Janine,

      Can you believe that I don’t spend any amount of time at the gym.  It all depends on the person. So many ways to work out in the comfort of your own home.  For example, when I started my fitness journey six years ago, I started with Beach Body DVDs.  I think I have tried them all, and Insanity is still my favorite.  On the other hand, my bestie prefers the gym, working out from home requires a certain decipline.  Thanks for visiting.

  3. I think there are a lot of people like me that are short on time, but still want to get a great workout in. I love finding new ways to make the most out of my workout, so your post will help me get results faster, just like I’m looking for.

    I definitely like doing body weight exercises like you mention – squats, pushups, and lunges are my favorite go to exercises. I find it interesting that you mention to cut back on cardio, but instead focus on HIIT movements. I guess it is a great way to get both cardio and strength training in some quick bursts. I love breaking a sweat doing cardio, but I think these will also do the trick. Great post and great motivation to push harder in my workouts! thanks for sharing!

    • I am a crazy busy mother of three, so I have can only do workout that requires very little time…but is effective.

  4. The shorter workout duration and probability of increased fat loss are the two main reasons why I train HIIT twice per week to work on cardio instead of steady state training – and I also find these methods really boring!

    The workouts suit my lifestyle and I’m sure they will for others as well, seeing as most are time based the exercises HIIT can be great for easing beginners into exercising regularly.

  5. Hi Kay. It’s great to see that you recommend using free weights. When I began bodybuilding almost 30 years ago, a lady wouldn’t dream of touching the iron. Embracing this culture is sure to do wonders. Thanks for such an enlightened post! Peter

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