6 Ways to Spice Up Your Strength Training

Q: How can I make strength-training more interesting so that I stick with it?

CHRIS: The two things that keep me committed to my weight workouts are seeing the fabulous benefits and having fun while I train. Try my tips to firm up faster and beat boredom for a workout you won't want to miss.

Stay motivated with this 3-week body makeover plan.

Start with the "Show-Off" Muscles

Your biceps and shoulders are usually the easiest spots to tone—in as little as 2 weeks—so target them first. Even if you work only those areas, you'll be inspired to do more once you see results.

Exercise in Front of a Mirror

Beyond checking your form, seeing your muscles in motion will highlight new definition. That may be one reason women rate their reflections highest following a workout.

Lift to the Beat

Studies show music helps exercisers run and bike faster and longer. I've seen it inspire weight lifters too. Choose songs with a strong beat or empowering lyrics, like Imma Be by the Black Eyed Peas, my current fave. Stay energized all day with these mood-boosting tips.

Make It a Game

Set 2-week challenges to stay on track. For example, aim to double the number of seconds you can hold a plank, or move up to heavier dumbbells.

Tone in Tandem

Working out with others helps the time fly, makes you accountable, and is simply more fun. Lift with your spouse at home, join a friend at the gym, or sign up for a class to meet new people. Even a DVD can offer camaraderie. I like The Biggest Loser: Last Chance Workout for strength-training.

Here are 8 slim-down strategies from The Biggest Loser trainers.

Finish Fast

You can cut your workout time in half by combining two exercises into one. For example, lunge as you do triceps extensions or squat between overhead presses.

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