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Seven Tips to Make Working Out Easier

On days it's a major struggle to work out, you'll try anything, right?

It seems there's a different study every week saying what works best to battle the bulge.  But on days it's a major struggle to work out, you'll try anything, right? Here are seven interesting findings that just might make your next trip to the gym a bit easier.

Sip a cup of joe beforehand. Numerous studies have shown that exercisers who downed the equivalent caffeine amount of at least one cup of coffee had substantially less muscle pain during their workout.

Work out with a friend. It makes the time go by faster, gives you an "appointment" that's harder to break, and you'll probably work out longer. You won't, however, work as hard. A survey in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise by lead author Genevieve Dunton, Ph.D., M.P.H. found that you push yourself more when you're alone.

Pump up the ipod. A Brunel University study found that carefully selected upbeat music (think Madonna, Red Hot Chilli Peppers) increased exercisers' endurance by 15 percent--and helped them feel more pleasure from working out.

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Try interval training. You'll burn more fat in way less time. One study found that cyclists who rode a bike for 20 minutes alternating between eight second sprints and 12 second "slow periods" lost more fat than those who trucked along for 40 minutes at a steady pace.

Pop a breath mint. Peppermint helps lift both your mood and your performance . A study at West Virginia's Wheeling Jesuit University found that basketball players who sniffed peppermint had measurable improvement in speed, alertness, strength, and overall performance.

Do it in the morning. It might not be easy to get out of bed, but it's easier to stick with the program. Studies have shown that morning worker-outers are more consistent.

Learn your fitness "color." If you're having trouble with motivation, check out The 8 Colors of Fitness. The author mapped the MBTI personality test onto fitness preferences. For example, if you're a Red, you crave spontenaeity and fast-paced workouts, while Greens prefer to get their exercise through everyday activities, preferably outdoors (e.g., hiking, gardening). Take the test here.

 

Follow me on twitter! (@debrashigley)

Debra Shigley, J.D., is a journalist based in Atlanta.

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