When it comes to working out, sometimes less is more. In fact, research shows you can boost fat burning with as little as five minutes of exercise a day.
How? "I use compound moves that target multiple muscles at once," says fitness expert Jorge Cruise, author of Inches Off! Your Belly.
"You're able to pack a series of moves you would do in a long workout into a shorter, more efficient, high-intensity workout."
But avoiding multitasking moves isn't the only factor contributing to your marathon sweat sessions. Here, Cruise shares eight more fat-frying faux pas he sees people making at the gym.
MISTAKE 1: Overdoing cardio
People tend to overemphasize cardio while skimping on strength training, says Cruise. A quick strength-training session will build lean muscle, which burns more calories throughout the day.
MISTAKE 2: Exercising at a moderate effort
Sailing through an hour of exercise will keep your ticker in shape, but it's not the most efficient way to shed inches from your waistline. "Going on the elliptical for an hour while catching up on your favourite TV show isn't going to produce the fat-flushing results higher-intensity workouts would," says Cruise. He recommends doing these shorter, more vigorous workouts at least six days a week.
MISTAKE 3: Using the elliptical
This machine allows you to slack by doing some of the work for you -- especially if you don't turn up the resistance. "The elliptical gets into a rhythm and your body just follows along," says Cruise. "It doesn't require you to put in much effort." While Cruise ultimately recommends strength training and not cardio for weight loss, if you must use the elliptical (or treadmill), set the resistance or incline higher so your body will actually work, rather than being carried along by the machine.
MISTAKE 4: Attacking belly fat with ab exercises
Sorry, sit-ups are not your ticket to six-pack city. "Crunches only target one small muscle group and don't help you lose the fat covering up the abs," Cruise says. "Abs start in the kitchen. Controlling your insulin levels with the right diet is the best way to get rid of that stubborn belly fat."
MISTAKE 5: Working out for long periods of time
Long workouts can actually make you hungry, which can, of course, cause you to overeat, Cruise says. "It's also been shown that after a long workout you become less active the rest of the day." Plus, shorter workouts -- like a 10-minute strength session -- make it easier to commit to a daily routine.
MISTAKE 6: Hydrating with calorie-laden sports drinks
When you guzzle down Gatorade and other sports drinks after a workout you are filling up with sugar, which your body may store as fat. "Before and during a workout water trumps sports drinks," says Cruise. "It keeps you hydrated with zero calories and zero grams of sugar."
MISTAKE 7: Saving cardio for the gym
Though Cruise generally recommends short, fast strength workouts, cardio does have merit. Fit it into your busy schedule by doing it in bursts intermittently throughout the day. "Be more cognizant of walking places," says Cruise. "Instead of fighting someone for the closest parking spot at the grocery store, be daring and journey to the farthest place you can park."