Get more from your workouts

Borrow these tricks from The Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels.

If you want to whip yourself into shape like the contestants on The Biggest Loser, who better to turn to than Jillian Michaels, the show’s tough-as-nails trainer? Her simple tips can help you kick your workouts up a notch or two.

PUSH YOURSELF. Every week increase the intensity of either your cardiovascular or strength-training routine. So if you usually walk 3.5 miles per hour on the treadmill, begin walking 3.8 mph, or go from a Level 2 incline to a Level 4. If you’re lifting 5-pound weights, pump it up to 8 pounds. “Your body is constantly adapting,” Michaels says. “If you keep the stimulus the same, you don’t grow stronger. Always aim for progress in your program so you’re challenging yourself in different ways.

GET IN ON GROUP CLASSES. “When I’m on my own on a treadmill, I want to stop in 10 minutes, but you can’t when you’re in class,” Ali Vincent says. “Classes push you through when you want to quit.” Try a mix of different sessions, such as Spinning, kickboxing, strength training, hip-hop and belly dancing or capoeira at your local gym or community center. “They will stimulate you and move you out of your comfort zone,” Michaels says, “and make you realize you can do things you never imagined.

INVEST IN FITNESS VIDEOS. Not everyone can afford a personal trainer, but almost everyone can buy a few exercise DVDs. “It’s like having a trainer in your house,” Michaels says. You can get used ones for about $7 each on amazon.com. Buy five or six, or stream videos at ExerciseTV (exercisetv.tv), so you can have a variety. Following the pace of a certified fitness instructor means you’ll push yourself. Try Jillian Michaels: 30-Day Shred, three 20-minute workouts combining strength, cardio and ab work, or Jillian Michaels: Banish fat, Boost Metabolism, a seven-part cardio workout plus warm-up and cool-down segments.

KEEP YOUR GOAL IN SIGHT. People constantly lose motivation, and the reality is that not everyone loves to work out. Even Michaels says that she doesn’t always look forward to then sweat session. “Attach a bigger goal to behaviors that are less pleasurable,” she suggests. “I don’t want to spend an hour being miserable at the gym, but I do want to look awesome in my jeans or at my business partner’s wedding.” To help motivate yourself when your will to exercise weakens, maintain a list of all the reasons why you want to get in shape.