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The 9 Most Effective Ways to Get Your Best Body

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Metabolism Makeover

Goal: A Supercharged Metabolism

Winning Strategy: Maximize the afterburn effect

Researcher: Glenn A. Gaesser, PhD, professor and director of the kinesiology program at the University of Virginia

A challenging workout will blast calories, but imagine one that keeps the burn going long after you finish. You can capitalize on this metabolism-boosting phenomenon, known as excess postexercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC, through both cardio and resistance training. The more intense the workout, the bigger the boost. "For cardio, the key is to do at least 10 minutes of very high-intensity exercise, preferably through intervals so you don't risk injury," says Gaesser. "For resistance training, keep your reps in each set as close to your max as possible."

Gaesser recommends trying either or both of the following workouts, each of which burns an additional 40 to 60 calories afterward. "It may not sound like much, but over a year it can add up to several thousand extra calories."

The Afterburn Cardio Routine

You can do this workout with any type of aerobic activity. Use your rate of perceived exertion, or RPE, to measure intensity on a scale of 1 to 10.

Minutes 0:00-5:00 Warm up (RPE 5 or 6)

Minutes 5:00-6:00 Increase pace to very high intensity (RPE 9 or 10)

Minutes 6:00-7:00 Recover at a lightly moderate pace (RPE 3 or 4)

Minutes 7:00-43:00 Repeat minutes 5:00 to 7:00, alternating 1 minute of high intensity with 1 minute of recovery

Minutes 43:00-50:00 Cool down at a moderate pace (RPE 5 or 6), slowing intensity to RPE 3 or 4

The Afterburn Resistance Routine

Create a circuit of 6 to 10 exercises that primarily target large muscle groups, like squats, lunges, leg presses, bench presses, shoulder presses, lat pulldowns and seated rows. Be sure you're lifting weights heavy enough to fatigue your muscles by the final rep. Do one set of each move per circuit.

Warm up for 5 minutes with light cardio.

Do 10 to 15 reps of each exercise at a light to medium weight.

Do 8 to 10 reps of each exercise, this time using a weight that makes the last rep difficult (but not so heavy that you're unable to do one more). Rest for 1 minute between each exercise.

Do 12 to 15 reps of each exercise with a weight that makes the last rep very difficult (very hard to do one more rep). Rest for 60 to 90 seconds between exercises.

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