Ask yourself this question (and answer it honestly!) How hard are you really pushing yourself while you workout? Do you workout enthusiastically, feeling the burn with a smile, pushing yourself to the limit? Or would you describe your exercise time more like an even trot? Coasting along, breaking a respectable sweat, doing the same old thing. Since you take the time to exercise and desire to have your body change into a slimmer, more toned version of yourself, then use the following tips to get more out of your exercise time. Focus your mental energy. It sounds simple, but often isn’t. If you’re lifting weights, focus on that specific muscle group. Researchers saw a significant increase in muscle activity when people focused on what they were doing, compared to thinking about unrelated topics. Have an audience. Researchers saw a significant increase in strength and endurance in people who had an audience, compared to those training on their own. Get a caffeine boost. Caffeine has been shown to help burn fat and increase your endurance. The most effective amount seems to be around 300mg one hour prior to working out. Of course check with your doctor first. Pump up the volume. Listen to upbeat music while you exercise. Researchers found that personal music motivated weightlifters to complete two more repetitions on average than those who were not listening to music. Keep things fresh. Alter your routine often. This will help you to avoid plateaus and will continue to challenge your body. Try new exercises, new intensities and new environments. Stay nourished and hydrated. Pay attention to your food and your hydration levels. You’d be amazed how much being dehydrated can affect your performance even away from the gym. Find your magic time. Work out when your body is at its best. If you’re not a morning person, do not force the issue on your body. Wear clothes that you love. Not only will you be happy to put them on and show them off, but you will be able to focus completely on the task at hand, rather than stressing that your pants will split whenever you squat. Make sure the shoe fits. Can you imagine a tap dancer performing without tap shoes? Your shoes are just as important! With correctly fitted shoes for your workout or sport, you’ll keep your feet, ankles, knees, and back protected and healthy.