Dr. Srini Iyengar has some tips on a more efficient exercise regimen, no matter what your level of exercise may be:
Clearly working out and going to the gym is the right mind set-but you say it is what you do at the gym that really impacts results. For example you can spend 45 minutes on the elliptical and not burn half the calories you would on a treadmill or a rowing machine. While an elliptical is legitimate exercise it does not use the bodies natural motions, like running or bending. I would recommend it you want to get the most out of your workout, you might be better off cross training with jumping rope, squats and burpees.
Try a burpee. That is squat, pushup, and vertical leap combination.
· Begin standing. Bring your hands to the floor just in front of your feet; jump your feet into a plank position.
· Do one push-up.
· Jump your feet back to your hands, and from this crouched position jump up, similar to a squat jump. Do jump as high up as you can. This completes one rep.
When you do the same workout routine over and over, your body gets used to it and it becomes easier. The Stairmaster might have been challenging at one point, but pretty soon your muscles become familiar with that motion. Your body only uses half the energy to complete this task that at one point had you huffing and puffing your way to the locker room. Mix it up. By changing your workouts daily you will trick your body into working harder and burning more calories. It will also save you from boredom!
While running or Zumba may feel great-they are only PART of a balanced exercise routine. Too little strength training can cause problems too. Sure, an hour on the treadmill gives you that instant satisfaction of burning 400 calories. Or so that little blinking screen says. A quick strength training or cross training session, however, will get your heart rate up, burn calories, and develop your lean muscle mass. Building muscle means that those muscles are able to work throughout the day burning more calories when you aren't working out.
As far as hydrating goes: Sports drinks may give you a boost, but are full of sugar and calories. During any workout, hydrating with plain water should do the trick If you feel tired during your workout, eat a healthy snack 45 minutes before you hit the gym.