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When you've got a busy schedule crammed full of meetings and work, you don't have time to mess around with your workout. You want to get the best results possible for the time you invest" the good news is that you can get extra benefits with just a few simple changes to your workout!

1. Keep proper form.

One of the most common mistakes in exercise is not maintaining the right form during the workout. Bad form can lead to muscle pain and stiffness but, more importantly, bad form prevents you from burning as many calories as you normally would. Maintain good posture during exercise and you'll build more muscle faster!

2. Take giant steps.

During your cardio workout, take deep, wide steps to shape up your thighs and buttocks. By taking a larger step than normal, you require more effort from your muscles" more effort equals more strength and shapeliness. Short, shallow steps don't location enough stress on the muscle to produce fast results, but when you change to bigger movements, you start to see serious muscle taking shape. The same idea is true for running as well: runners who take long, deep strides burn more calories and cover more distance than short-striders.

3. Listen to your breath

During a cardio workout, check your breathing to see how hard you're truly working. If you can carry on a conversation with ease, it's time to increase intensity. How to know when you're at the right level? The general rule of thumb is that when you can sing the national anthem but need a breath after every phrase, you're most likely at the appropriate level for your needs. You should never work out so hard that you can't talk or begin to feel faint.

4. Double up your workouts.

Add weights to your cardio routine (or vice versa) and you can start to see results within three weeks! You really see the best of both worlds by using interval training. Interval training is highly effective because you introduce your body to a new challenge every five minutes or so. Traditional cardiovascular exercises focus on building aerobic capacity while weightlifting concentrates on increasing muscle strength. Combining the two into one interval training workout means you get benefits from both!

5. Add variety.

The fastest way to become disillusioned with your workout is to do the same thing over and over again, plus your body can become conditioned to the movements and fail to burn as many calories as you would like. Avoid all this by surprising your body with new and different challenges at least once a week. If you typically run several times during the week, try hiking at a nearby park. If you're a Spinning devotee, take a Pilates class instead. The ultimate switch-up for most exercisers is swimming: an exercise that requires much more aerobic and muscle strength that imagined. Do a few laps in the pool and you'll see what I mean.

6. Challenge yourself.

Set a goal for yourself every week that is beyond your normal effort. Try lifting weights that are five pounds heavier than you normally use, or walking three miles daily rather than two. Small goals like this are easily securable and can make big changes in the results you see from your workout.

7. Introduce yourself to stretching.

Stretching is sometimes the crazy uncle of the exercise family" nobody really wants to talk about it, but the fact is stretching is key to getting more out of your workout. Stretching assists in muscle recovery from strenuous workouts and can prevent soreness that might stop you from working out. Your entire body feels more comfortable when you have strong, flexible muscles. Spending a few minutes when you wake up and again before and after your workout really add up in terms of flexibility.

8. Don't exercise on an empty stomach.

Sure, it may seem efficient to work out when you haven't eaten in hours but in reality it's a bad decision. When your body's fuel supply is low, you start feeling sluggish and slow" definitely not the ideal mood for a productive workout. An empty stomach does not equal more calories burned.

9. Snacks, not meals, provide the best fuel.

After dining at the all-you-can-eat buffet, you may feel like you should work out just to compensate for overeating, but don't do it. Exercising on a full stomach can lead to cramps, upset stomach, and/or diarrhea because your body is trying to digest the meal and also provide you with energy at the same time. The best way to fuel your body without nasty side effects is to have a small snack 15 to 30 minutes before you exercise. Ideal snacks include foods with adequate carbohydrates: bread, cereals, and rice.

10. Drink plenty of water.

You've heard it over and over, but it really is true: water will help you lose weight. Water helps fill your stomach to stop hunger pangs and keeps you alert throughout the day. When you become dehydrated, your entire body slows down and works much less efficiently. Working out causes you to lose hydration through sweat, so it's important to replace lost water after a workout.

We all run short on time these days but by incorporating one or more of these simple strategies you can maximize your workout time and see fantastic results fast!