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How to maximize your workout

So you've got some new exercise equipment. You're pretty good at using it a few times a week. But are you really getting the most out of your machine? Do you want to maximize your workout?

Here are some handy tips on how to step things up a bit and use your machine to your best advantage:

Treadmill

You may not be into running or feel comfortable walking/jogging at a fast pace. That's OK. One thing you can do is increase the incline on your treadmill, instead of speed, to get a harder workout. Increasing the incline will burn more calories than walking flat at the same speed.

Research shows that if you walk between 18-22% incline at 2 mph, you will burn twice the amount of calories than a treadmill with an incline of 0% at the same speed. When you walk or run at a higher incline, you'll also target leg and buttock muscle building.

Elliptical

To maximize your time, use your arms and legs equally and make sure you're working your upper body along with your legs. This will help raise your heart rate into the calorie-burning zone and tone your upper body too. Push the handles to work your chest and pull the handles to work your upper back and shoulders.

Increase your incline & resistance – If your machine has an incline, increasing incline will target different muscle groups and increase your calorie burn. Higher resistance makes it less likely that you are using momentum, which means more intentional movements from your body, and more calories burned.

Bike

Increase your resistance to mimic an uphill ride. As you pedal, keep your foot parallel with the ground and push down through your heel while maintaining a consistent rhythm. For more intensity, see if you can do short intervals of increased speed during your uphill ride.

Don't for get to engage your core. If you engage your abs, you'll have better posture and burn more calories. If you feel it's too tough to engage your core while doing speed intervals, start by engaging your core during the breaks when you sit back in the saddle. Eventually you will be able to increase your core activity for the whole workout.