4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Workouts

1. COME UP WITH A STRATEGY

Without one, workout time becomes wasted time. Figure out what equipment you need before you start, says Ed Scow, a certified personal trainer in Lincoln, Nebraska. Grab what you need — dumbbells, stability ball, bands — and put them near a mat or adjustable bench so you can do your entire workout in one place. "You won't expend time wandering from machine to machine or waiting in line," Scow says. "And by creating your own personal space at the gym, you maximize your intensity and efficiency, keeping your heart rate and metabolism up the entire time by moving from one exercise to the next." Don't know where to start? Women's Health's Look Lean & Sexy In Half the Time workout makes workout time planning easy, or just download your favorite workouts to your iPod with the Women's Health Workout to Go.

2. SWAP THIS FOR THAT

If you usually focus on exercises that work only a single muscle or muscle group (think: calf raises, leg extensions, and crunches), save time by replacing them with compound movements like squats, lunges, and pushups, which work more muscles at once. "Targeting larger muscle groups burns more calories and gives you a total-body workout in less time," says certified personal trainer Nick Tumminello, owner of Performance University in Baltimore.

Follow these simple tricks to help speed up your metabolism.

3. REST LESS

By minimizing downtime between moves, you maximize the fat-burning impact of your workout. Do it with supersets: Alternate sets of an upper-body exercise with a lower-body exercise with very little (or zero!) rest. "Supersets accomplish more work in a shorter period of time without compromising the effort of each set," says personal trainer Bill Hartman, co-owner of Indianapolis Sports and Fitness. When you do rest, make the most of it by doing stretches rather than saving them for the end.

4. TIME YOUR CARDIO RIGHT

Doing cardio before resistance training zaps strength and energy levels fast, so save it for the end of your routine. And if you're running out of time, don't worry about the clock, just go harder. "You'll improve your conditioning more by running at a higher intensity for 15 minutes than with a slow 30-minute jog,"Hartman says.

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