Switch up your routine: Changing what you do not only busts motivation-killing monotony, but it also helps you break through any body plateau. Exercisers who alternated moderate- and high-intensity cardio intervals burned nine times more fat than the moderate-only group in a study at Laval University in Quebec. When you're toning, change the number of reps and the amount of weight you use between strength sessions. Doing bicep curls? Try this: One day you do 10 reps with 10-pound weights, and then the next 20 reps with 5-pound weights or whatever weight feels right to you.
Know there IS time: Instead of doubting you can squeeze in a sweat session, simply go for a run or hit the gym. A study from the University of Alberta in Edmonton found it's key for women to just start moving rather than overthink it.
Tune out: Spending more than two hours a day watching TV can increase your risk for obesity by 23 percent, a study from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston indicates. To keep your risk in check, make sure you exercise 30 minutes for every two hours you watch television. If you can't tear yourself away, tape or TiVo your favorite shows. That way you can fly past the commercials (especially those for food) and get through shows quickly; use the time you save to take a brisk walk around your neighborhood or hop on a stationary bike. Better yet, pop in a workout video (find great ones at Self.com) and make the time you spend in front of the tube really count for something.
Find a friend: Research shows that people with support exercise more regularly. Make a standing date with a pal to help yourself stay on track.
Home is where the heart pumps: People who utilize cardio machines in their abodes were more likely to consistently use them than people without equipment, a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association. No treadmill in your basement? Pop in a workout DVD and get moving.
Keep it up: Going two days without working out is enough to cause the size of fat cells to increase by 25 percent, according to research at the University of Missouri at Columbia. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day (more if you're attempting to drop pounds), and do a mix of cardio and strength exercises.
Give it time: It takes six weeks to see significant results on a weight loss plan, even though your body experiences positive cellular and molecular changes as soon as you begin to eat better and exercise more. You may only see little changes day to day--but stick with it! It IS working! After roughly 42 days, those incremental losses will add up to a big, motivating drop on the scale. In one study of 300 dieters who exercised 30 minutes daily, those who were overweight or obese lost up to 16 pounds by the six-week mark. The lesson: Don't be discouraged if you fail to see results quickly--your body is busy adjusting to your changed habits and will produce positive news soon.
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