10 Ways to Change Your Body in 2 Seconds

These small shortcuts offer big results.

November 30, 2017
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Adapted from The Women's Health Fitness Fix

It probably took you about two seconds to decide to click on this story, and it turns out that snap decisions like this can have a major impact on your fitness goals as long as you're making the right ones.

More: Your 20-Minute Weight-Loss Workout Plan

Employ these 2-second choices from my book The Women's Health Fitness Fix, and you'll reap long-lasting results.

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Do the math

Your typical cardio machine is more optimistic than Tony Robbins when it comes to estimating calorie burn. To get a more accurate calorie-burn count from the workout you just completed, decrease the digital number on the screen by 30 percent. Or, if your goal is to, say, stair climb until you've burned off that 300-calorie lunchtime burrito, keep going until you pass 390 calories.

More: 7 Days to Slim: A Practical Guide to Feeling Lighter in a Week

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Leave your phone behind

The quick decision to leave your phone in your locker will help you workout harder. Looking at work emails or replying to a friend's text will distract you from your goals and slow you down. Make your sweat session count by following these 17 gym etiquette rules.

More: 6 Science-Approved Stress-Busting Strategies

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Envision barbecued ribs

Make sure your appetite is real by picturing, say, a big steak or a gooey bowl of homemade macaroni and cheese. If it isn't appetizing, your "hunger" might just be boredom or thirst.

More: 9 Eating Hacks for Weight Loss

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Make a mess

Instead of putting your dumbbells in a closet at home, leave them out (maybe in front of your TV). If they're in sight, you'll be more likely to use them. Grab your dumbbells and try this at-home arm workout that will tighten and tone, and eat plenty of these foods for rock star arms.

More: 10 Slimming Staples for Your Pantry

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Put your hands up

When you feel exhausted during or after a tough workout, you tend to hunch over, put your hands on your knees, and gasp for air. Turns out, this could be making things worse. Rounding your back presses the rib cage and internal organs against your lungs, keeping them from expanding efficiently. The result: Less oxygen gets to your muscles, which makes you run and recover more slowly.

Instead, do this: Stand tall and place your hands behind your head (elbows out) or stretch them overhead during rest breaks.

More: 3 Stretches That Un-Slouch Your Back—All You Need Is A Doorway

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Play hide ’n’ seek with the Hershey Kisses

To keep your hand out of the office candy jar, keep it far, far away. In one study, participants who had to walk 6 feet to reach candy ate up to seven fewer chocolates per day than when the jar was conveniently located at their desk. Here are 15 painless ways to crush sugar cravings.

More: How to Break the Cycle of Overeating

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Finish with cardio

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 clockjust go harder. You'll improve your conditioning more by running at a higher intensity for 15 minutes than with a slow 30-minute jog.

Get the most out of your cardio sessions with this breakup body goals workout.

More: This Is How You Make Your Yoga Practice a Cardio Workout

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Never rest

Cut your workout time by shaving your rest breaks and making them count. Try this: Pair noncompeting muscle groups (think upper and lower body) into a superset. For example, do a set of biceps curls, and then, instead of resting, go right into a set of squats. Your arms will rest while your legs do the work helping you do more work in less time.

More: 5 Ab Toning Moves That Aren't Crunches

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Make a game plan

Going to the gym without a plan is like traveling without a map, you'll likely end up wandering around, wasting time, and missing the most rewarding parts. Figure out what equipment you need (dumbbells, stability ball, bands, etc.) and put it near a mat or adjustable bench so you can do your entire workout in one place.

Bonus: 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.

More: The Best Beginner Workout Gym Machines

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Write it down

Research has found that the more people log their exercise, the more weight they lose (and less they regain, if any). Review your previous workout before you hit the gym and try to find one way to do better. This is as simple as adding an extra rep, going up 5 pounds in the weight room, or running or biking just a little bit longer (another minute or two) after you think you absolutely can't keep going.

Progress, no matter how small, is what leads to awesome results. Keeping a log also allows you to see how far you've come and keeps you motivated to continue pushing.

More: 5 Tips to Feel More Comfortable & Confident at the Gym

For more ways to get fit fast, pick up a copy of The Women's Health Fitness Fix.

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