We know you're not looking to bulk up this summer but that doesn't mean you should skip the weights at the gym.
If you're dieting, without adding strength training to your routine, you risk losing lean muscle mass, which is really important to keep your metabolism going. In fact, one researcher's study found that "the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for eight weeks gains 1.75 pounds of lean weight or muscle and loses 3.5 pounds of fat."
And while nothing replaces hard work and perseverance, there are a few tricks that can help you maximize your gym time and see faster results. Fortunately, Jennifer Cohen, a leading fitness authority, TV personality and best-selling author, shared her top 5 time-saving tips with Health.com to keep you on track and working to your full potential:
1. Cohen suggests using compound exercises that use more than one joint, and more than one muscle group. Think full-body moves like tricep dips, burpees, or bicycle ab crunches.
2. The faster you work your muscles, the greater the results. According to Cohen, "Research from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research has shown that one rep per two seconds is three times more effective than one rep per four seconds." Just don't forget to keep the proper form when you're picking up the pace.
3. Don't stop until your muscles are totally fatigued. "Instead of multiple sets, work in the same exercises until you cannot hold the form any longer and physically cannot do another rep," suggest Cohen. By the time you reach your last repetition, The Mayo Clinic recommends that you should have just enough energy left to complete your exercise motion. By only resting between different exercises, you could potentially eliminate up to 15 minutes from your daily workout.
4. Switch it up! Every day is not a weight day, Cohen suggests sticking to a 3-day per week muscle building routine, allowing your muscles to rest on the days in between. But, if you really want to see results, work some low-impact cardio into your rest days.
5. Resist the urge to rest in between sets. "The general rule is if you're lifting heavy, keep the rest periods closer to a minute, but if you're lifting lighter take shorter breaks" says Cohen.