60 Healthier Drinks for Your Holiday Weekend!

So it’s Friday, and a holiday weekend! It’s supposed to be a gorgeous, hot and holiday weekend and what’s better than to have a couple of drinks to cool off with? Everyone is always looking for a healthy drink to make and personally I’ve switched my usual vodka and cranberry to vodka and tonic *Tip: if you are not a fan of the little flavor this makes try it with a flavored vodka, there are tons of options and still less calories than adding juice to your booze! Here are a list of 60 Healthy Drinks for Boozing from Kelly Fitzpatrick.

Alcoholic drinks can be a sneaky source of calories, sugar, and even salt — but not when you play bartender. Try to get a few healthier alternatives under that (suddenly much looser) belt to impress friends and family and order with confidence when out at the bar.

Here are the eight key guidelines that make our drinks healthier options:

  1. Use only fresh-squeezed or 100 percent fruit juice to reduce added sugars. Fruit juice can still be a dangerfood, though, so sometimes it’s best to dilute it with water or ice to cut back on calories.
  2. Choose seltzer water over other carbonated waters to eliminate added sodium and other additives. For recipes that call for soda, skimp on portions, or opt for diet or natural (read: less added sugar) versions — though those can have their pitfalls, too.
  3. Make simple syrup with honey which, though sugary, has some added benefits, like a healthy dose of antioxidants. It also gives you better control of the sugar content. Any recipe that calls for simple syrup will use the following recipe: ½ tablespoon honey mixed with ¾ tablespoon warm water.
  4. Use whole fruit instead of sugar or flavored syrups. The fruit itself adds fiber, natural sugars, and vitamins.
  5. Choose light alcohol over dark alcohol. The dark stuff contains more compounds known as congeners, which can worsen hangovers.
  6. Limit yourself to one shot per drink. Multi-alcohol cocktails can pack in serious calories, so we kept ours to one shot (or 1 ½ ounces) each. The shooters and shots we included actually containless than one shot each to further lessen the caloric load.
  7. Size matters — especially when it comes to consuming liquid calories. That’s why we kept all our drinks right around the 8-ounce mark.
  8. Choose nutritious ingredients. Ginger, coffee, and lemon star in several of our drinks. They’ve each got their own proven health benefits, even though they may not totally counteract the negative affects of alcohol. (Note: Too much alcohol and caffeine can both dehydrate — making hangovers even worse — so try to keep it at no more than one cup of Joe for the night.)

*We’ve tried to simplify the recipes to make them easier to understand. So we simplified all the liquid measurements to shots or cups — none of this “ounces” nonsense!  

Cocktails

1. Classic Mojito
In the bottom of a glass, muddle 12 fresh mint leaves, the juice of ½ lime, and 1 tablespoon simple syrup. Add a few ice cubes and pour in 1 ½ ounces (one shot) of light rum and ¾ cup seltzer. Garnish with a lime wedge.

2. Fruit Mojito
Prep a classic mojito, but before pouring in the rum and soda, muddle in ¼ cup fresh or thawed frozen fruit like strawberry, blueberry, mango, or kiwi in the bottom of the glass. Top with ice, rum, and seltzer and garnish as desired!

3. Bloody Mary
Scrap the mix and make a Bloody Mary from scratch! Start with ¾ cup of no sugar-added, low-sodium tomato juice and add the juice of ½ lemon, a dash each of hot sauce andWorcestershire saucefresh ground pepper to taste, and 1 shot of vodka. Garnish with a lemon wedge and celery stick. Bonus points for adding a cocktail shrimp for some extra protein!

4. Mint Julep
Muddle together 12 fresh mint leaves and 1 tablespoon of simple syrup. Pour in one shot of Kentucky bourbon and 2 shots seltzer water.

5. Sidecar
In a shaker with ice, mix together: 1 shot of cognac½ shot Cointreau (or other orange liqueur), and the juice of 1 lemon. Pour into glass with or without ice and garnish with lemon slice.

6. Cape Codder
Pour 1 shot of vodka and 2 shots cranberry juice (100 percent juice, no sugar added) over ice. Add 2 shots seltzer water, stir, and garnish with a lime wedge.

7. Sea Breeze
Pour 1 shot vodka1 shot cranberry juice (100 percent juice, no sugar added), and 1 shot fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice over ice. Add a splash of seltzer and enjoy! (Preferably in a beach chair by the water!)

8. Lime Rickey
Combine ½ a shot of fresh-squeezed lime juice1 tablespoon simple syrup, and  shot bitters. Top with 1 cup seltzer.

9. Screwdriver
In an 8-ounce glass with ice, combine 1 shot of vodka and 2 shots fresh-squeezed orange juice. Fill remainder of glass with seltzer.

10. Tequila Sunrise
In a glass with ice, combine 1 shot of tequila and 2 shots fresh-squeezed orange juice. Top with a splash of cranberry juice (no-sugar-added, 100 percent juice).

11. Vodka Sunset
Muddle ¼ cup blackberries in the bottom of a glass. Top with ice and add 1 shot fresh-squeezed lemon juice1 shot fresh-squeezed lime juice½ shot simple syrup, 1 shot of vodka, and a splash of sparkling wine.

12. Light & Stormy
Into a short glass with ice, pour 1 shot of light rum and 2 shots ginger ale.

13. Legend of Jack Sparrow
In an 8-ounce glass with ice, combine 1 shot coconut rum and the juice of 1 lime. Fill the rest of the glass with ginger ale (about ¾ cup). Garnish with a slice of lime.

14. Berry Lemonade
In the bottom of an 8-ounce glass, muddle the juice of 1 lemon¼ cup frozen blueberries or strawberries, and ½ shot simple syrup. Pour in 1 shot of vodka and top with seltzer (about ¾ cup).

15. Minty Iced Tea
In a heatproof mug, combine 6 fresh mint leaves1 teaspoon honey1 black tea bag, and 1 cup boiling water. Cover and let sit for 2 minutes. Then, place mug in fridge or freezer until chilled. Remove tea bag and mint, and pour liquid into a glass with ice. Add 1 shot of vodka and garnish with a lemon wedge.

16. Fizzy Lemonade
In a shaker with ice, mix together 1 shot of tequila½ shot simple syrup, and the juice of 1 lemon. Transfer to an 8-ounce glass and fill rest of glass with seltzer (about ¾ cup).

17. On the Rocks
Drink it straight! Water down 1 shot of any favorite liquor by pouring over ice cubes for sipping!

18. Tom Collins
In a shaker with ice, combine 1 shot of gin and the juice of 1 small lemon. Strain into an 8-ounce glass and top with seltzer water (about ¾ cup).

19. Grapefruit Margarita
Combine 1 shot of tequila, the juice of 1 lime and ½ a grapefruit, and ¾ shot of orange liqueur. Pour over ice.

20. Light White Russian
Combine 2 shots brewed coffee (or espresso!) chilled and ¾ cup skim milk. Add 1 shot of vodka and a few ice cubes and stir.

21. Gin and Seltzer
Instead of a G&T, combine 1 shot of gin with 2 shots of seltzer water and garnish with a lime wedge (or a few!).

22. Gin Gimlet
In a glass with ice, combine 1 shot of gin, the juice of 2 small limes, and 1 shot simple syrup. Garnish with a lime wedge.

23. Vodka Soda
It almost goes without saying, but spice up 1 shot of vodka and 2 shots of seltzer with a lemon or lime wedge (or both). Works with any other liquor, too!

24. Drunken Arnold Palmer
Combine 1 black tea bag¾ cup hot water, the juice of 1 lemon, and 1 teaspoon honey. Chill. Add 1 shot vodka and garnish with a lemon wedge.

25. Pom Cosmo
In a shaker with ice, combine 1 shot pomegranate vodka1 shot orange liqueur, and the juice of 1 lime. Shake, strain into a martini glass, and garnish with a slice of lime.

26. Pear Martini
Muddle half a very ripe peeled pear in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add ice½ shots fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and 1 shot pear vodka. (Regular vodka works, too.) Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a slice of fresh pear.

27. Sex on the Beach
In a glass with ice, mix 1 shot peach-flavored vodka2 shots cranberry juice, and 1 ½ shots fresh-squeezed orange juice. Add a dash of seltzer and enjoy!

28. Rosemary-Cucumber Lemonade
Stir together juice from 3 lemons and 1 teaspoon honey. Add 1 shot rosemary-infused vodka and ¾ cup seltzer. Garnish with a cucumber spear and lemon wedge.

29. Cinnamon Sour
In a cocktail shaker, combine: 1 shot mango vodka,  1 shot simple syrup, and 1 shot fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Pour over ice and garnish with a mango slice and cinnamon stick.

30. Grapefruit and Vodka
For a zesty cocktail, combine the juice of ½ a grapefruit and 1 shot of vodka topped with ½ cup seltzer.

31. Sour Apple Spritzer
Pour 1 shot sour apple vodka and ½ cup seltzer over ice and garnish with a green apple sliceand a cinnamon stick.

32. Tropical Rum Punch
Stir together ½ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice½ cup pineapple juice (100 percent juice only!), and 1 shot light rum. Pour over ice and put on some shades.

33. Gin and Juice
Pour over ice: ½ cup of fresh-squeezed orange juice1 shot of gin, and ½ cup seltzer.

34. Refreshing Gin Cup
Mix together 1 shot of gin½ cup ginger ale, and 2 shots seltzer water. Garnish with a cucumber spear and lemon slice.

35. Gingered Pear and Brandy Cocktail
Create a ginger-infused simple syrup by mixing together 1 shot warm simple syrup and ¾ tablespoon chopped and peeled fresh ginger. Let stand 15 minutes, then strain. Mix together ginger syrup, 1 shot of cognac, and ½ cup pear juice or nectar and pour over ice.

Shots and Shooters

36. Redheaded Slut Lite
In a shaker with ice, combine  shot schnapps shot Jagermeister⅔ shot cranberry juice, and  shot water.

37. Fuzzy Navel
In a shaker with ice, combine  shot peach Schnapps shot fresh-squeezed orange juice, shot fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and  shot water.

38. Scooby Snacks
In a shaker with ice, combine  shot coconut rum shot banana rum shot pineapple juice, and 1 tablespoon light whipped cream. Strain into a short glass.

39. Peppermint Patty
Muddle 6 fresh mint leaves with  shot vodka. Add a splash of water and 1 teaspoon light chocolate syrup. Mix in a shaker with ice. Strain before serving.

40. Lemondrop
In a shaker with ice, combine  shot. vodka shot fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon honey.

Frozen Drinks

41. Pina Colada
Blend together ½ cup ice½ cup coconut milk¼ cup fresh pineapple chunks, and 1 shot white rum.

42. Frozen Lemonade
Combine 1 shot simple syrup1 shot of vodka, juice from 1 lemon, and ¾ cup of ice. Blend until smooth

43. Frozen Mudslide
Mix together 1 packet diet hot cocoa mix with 1 shot warm simple syrup and ¼ cup hot water. Blend the cocoa mixture, ¼ cup vanilla soy milk1 shot vanilla-infused vodka1 teaspoon chocolate syrup, and ½ cup ice.

44. Melon-Mint Granita
Puree 1 cup watermelon and 5 fresh mint leaves until liquefied. Freeze in an ice cube tray. Once solidified, blend with 1 shot white rum until it reaches the consistency of a slushie.

45. Strawberry-Lime Daiquiri
Combine 1 shot simple syrup1 shot white rum2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice, a small handful of frozen strawberries, and ½ cup of ice. Blend.

46. Margarita
Blend 1 shot simple syrup, the juice from ½ lemon and 1 lime1 shot of tequila, and ½ cup of ice. Garnish with a slice of lime, but skip the salt.

47. Blueberry-Lime Margarita
Mix together the standard margarita but substitute ¼ cup ice for ¼ cup frozen blueberries.

48. Melon Kiwi-tini
Puree ¼ a honeydew melon and 1 kiwi (peeled), the juice from 1 lime, simple syrup (mix 1 shot honey with 2 tablespoons warm water), and ½ cup sake. Blend with ½ cup ice.

Wine Drinks

49. Mimosa
Into a Champagne flute, pour 2 shots fresh-squeezed orange juice2 shots sparkling wine, and¼ cup seltzer.

50. White Sangria
In a wine glass, combine two strawberries (halved)½ a fresh peach (diced)½ a pear (diced),2 shots white wine, and ¼ cup seltzer.

51. Red Sangria
Toss ½ an apple (sliced)½ an orange (sliced), and 4 grapes into a glass. Add ½ cup fruity red wine and ¼ cup seltzer.

52. Pomegranate Fizz
Into a champagne flute, pour: ½ cup pomegranate juice, the juice from 1 lime, and 2 shots sparkling wine. Garnish with a lime wedge.

53. Pear Sparkler
Puree ½ a pear until liquefied and add to a champagne flute. Pour in 2 shots sparkling wine and add three slices of pear.

 54. Sparkling Apricot Punch
In a glass, combine ½ cup diced apricots and ½ cup apricot juice (100 percent juice, please!). Add ½ cup sparkling wine and ¼ cup seltzer and stir to combine.

Hot Drinks

55. Hot Toddy
In a mug, combine 1 shot bourbon1 tablespoon honey, and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Pour in¼ cup boiling water and stir to dissolve honey.

56. Irish Coffee
In a mug, combine 1 shot of whiskey1 teaspoon raw sugar, and ¾ cup hot coffee. Pour 1 tablespoon skim milk on top and don’t stir!

57. Mojito Tea
In a mug, combine 5 fresh mint leaves1 teaspoon brown sugar1 black tea bag, and 1 cup boiling water. Cover and let stand 2 minutes. Remove tea bag and add 1shot of light rum and juice from ½ a lime. Remove mint leaves and enjoy!

58. Bitter Tea
Brew a cup of fruity black tea and stir in ½ shot bitters and 1 ½ shots pomegranate juice.

59. Mulled Wine
Over low heat, simmer ¾ cup fruity red wine, a pinch of orange zest2 whole cloves1 black peppercorn1 cinnamon stick, and a pinch of sugar. Heat for about 10 minutes, then strain and enjoy!

60. Mint Hot Chocolate
Heat 1 cup skim milk and stir in 1 packet light hot cocoa mix. Add 1 shot tequila and  shot peppermint schnapps.

And remember we are closed Monday for Memorial Day!!

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Meet Your New Best Friend

Oh hi there. See that right up there? That’s your new bff and it will love you forver and ever. Let’s look at some facts about why you should have water next to you, near you and attached to your hand all day!

Did you know that 8 cups of water a day will..

  • Increase your metabolism (cold water increases this even more)
  • Fill you up (hot water helps better with this)
  • Aid in weight loss
  • Flush out toxins
  • Get you healthier skin
  • Reduce risks of certain cancers
  • Help digestions and constipation
  • Relieve fatigue
  • Improve overall health
  • All for 0 calories!

Here are some more fun facts…

  • Water comprises more than 80% of your blood, and the brain and muscles are three-fourths water
  • 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated
  • If you are thirsty your body is already dehydrated
  • Even mild dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as much as 3%
  • Losing just 1-2% of your body weight in water causes a decrease in your performance of between 10-20%
  • A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or a printed page
  • Lack of water, the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue
  • On average it takes about 2 cups of water to make up for the dehydration caused by a single alcoholic drink or a cup of coffee
  • In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in the University of Washington study
  • Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers
  • Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79% and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer
  • Water fights bad breath
  • The main cause of kidney stones is dehydration
  • The best treatment for dry eyes is drinking enough water throughout the day
  • 8-10 glasses a day is recommended for a sedentary person
  • A simple way to estimate water recommendation for a person who works out would be to multiply body weight times 0.55. Example: 180 pound person — 180 times 0.55 = 99 ounces of water per day.

But what if you don’t like water and you find that drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water a day (more if you’re exercising!) is a challenge, there are other choices you can make to get your body the fluids it needs. And hydrating your body is, after all, the bottom line!

  • Skim milk. A small glass has about 80 calories, along with respectable amounts of protein and calcium. And, of course, no fat.
  • Decaffeinated iced tea. Go without sugar and you’ve got a drink that’s as calorie-free as water.
  • Soups and broths. There are plenty of low-calorie products on the market. However, they can be very high in sodium, so be sure to check the nutrition label for salt content. (You shouldn’t have more than 2400 mg of sodium daily.)
  • Juice-water mix. You can get the flavor of juice with less sugar and calories by mixing a half glass with water and ice.
  • Add lemon, lime or orange slices to your water to give it a little more flavor.

So this month keep water by your side at all times and make sure you get your recomended amount daily! You’ll only help yourself!

Superbowl Eats

Looking for something to make today for the Superbowl? Here’s a collection of some great recipes I’ve previously posted!

Whole Wheat Roasted Red Pepper + Fontina Pizza with Balsamic Glaze

Portobello Burgers with Guoda and Roasted Garlic

Crispy Margarita Chicken Tacos with Strawberry Avocado Salsa

Buffalo Chicken Nachos

Ten Recipes for the Big Game

At my house today we are making pizza, which is one of my favorite things to make, and we are also having chicken wings and a big tray of fruits and veggies!

If you splurge tonight in your eating, don’t worry! We’ll see you in the morning for class to burn off those extra calories!!

6 Ways to Max Your Metabolism

We all know the girl who gorges on junk food and doesn’t put on a pound. Some people are just fast burners. Metabolism (the rate you burn calories) depends on age, sex and even genes. But with exercise and clever food and drink tricks, it is possible to speed up your rate. It’s time to join the fast lane!

6 Ways to Max Your Metabolism

The Dos

Slash Your Fat Intake- Fatty foods slow down the fat burning part of our cells- cut back and you could burn 16% more calories for up to three hours after each meal. Try the veggie option to cut out animal fat. Chickpeas over chicken and beans over beef. Also fat-free dressings for salads and Dijon mustard instead of mayo.

Drink Smart- Your body needs to be hydrated to keep your metabolism burning. Try drinking ice-cold water, your body will warm it up and burn a calorie for each degree it heats it. Don’t feel to bad about that morning coffee. Since caffeine is a stimulant, it’s thought to increase metabolic rate by 5% for two hours after drinking!

Muscle Up- Resistance training hikes your metabolism rate by 15% because it increases muslce, which burns nine times more calories than fat. Interval training, (ex. three minutes of intense cycling followed by a minute on easy peddling) is a great metabolism booster too!

The Don’ts

Skip Sleep- Got work coming out of your ears? Shift your schedule so you go to bed at 10pm but get up earlier. This will help break the habit of eating metabolism slowing junk food while you work late. Beware of burning the midnight oil. Accourding to new research, just one night of skipped or disrupted sleep slows calorie burn by 5-20% the next day.

Crash Diet- Restrictive diets throw your body into starvation mode, making it hang onto every calorie. Your metabolic rate is highest in the morning, research shows that eating a healthy, good-sized breakfast will boost metabolism 10% for the rest of the day. You could try some scrambled eggs of toast or wholegrain cereal with yogurt and berries!

Ditch Carbs- Carbs produce the glucose your cells need to function properly, so instead of cutting them out, eat good carbs like wholegrain pasta, brown rice and wholegrain bread. Spicy food can also be good as it increases your heart rate, and is thought to boost metabolic rate by up to 50% for three hours afterward.

Whole Wheat Roasted Red Pepper + Fontina Pizza with Balsamic Glaze

Hi! I found dinner for you tonight!

Did you know it’s Nation Pizza Week? No? Well it is! I love all kinds of pizza, in elementary school we had this delicious breakfast pizza if you had to buy breakfast. It came with sausage on it and then you got chocolate milk, juice and a piece of toast legit dipped in butter. (hello one reason why I have to workout all the time now.)

Anyways, in honor of National Pizza week, I borrowed/stole a recipe from my favorite blog (I take her recipes all the time!) How Sweet It Is.

If you love balsamic vinegar like I do, then this pizza is for you!

Here are some other great pizza recipes from a previous post!

Whole Wheat Roasted Red Pepper + Fontina Pizza with Balsamic Glaze

my mouth is watering looking at this

Ingredients

dough: (her go-to recipe)

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions for Dough

In the bowl of your electric mixer with an attached dough hook, combine warm water, yeast, honey and oil and mix with a spoon. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until foamy, then add in flour and salt. Mix on low speed until just combined, then turn to medium speed to knead the dough for 5-6 minutes. If it seems to sticky, add a bit more flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

Brush a separate bowl with olive oil, add dough, turning once, then set in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2-2 hours. Cover with a damp towel.

Ingredients

  • 2 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 roasted red peppers, cut into strips
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 6 ounces freshly grated fontina cheese
  • 2 ounces freshly grated romano cheese + more for topping if desired
  • 1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar

Directions for Pizza

Right before dough is almost finished rising, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crispy and fat is rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon, then add shallots and stir to coat. Cook for about 10 minutes over low heat, or until shallots begin to caramelize. Set aside. While shallots are cooking, make sure that red peppers are patted dry (if from a jar). If you’d like to make your own roasted red peppers, see here.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Once pizza dough is ready to go, roll/press into desired shape and brush the surface with olive oil and top with minced garlic. Sprinkle on 4 ounces of fontina cheese, then top with shallots, red peppers, and bacon. Sprinkle remaining fontina and romano evenly on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.

While pizza is baking, heat vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Allow to come to a boil, then let simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes until reduced to about 1/3-1/2 cup. Set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes to thicken. When pizza is finished baking, drizzle glaze on top and serve.

Now, go make this before it snows!!

Love the Elliptical? 10 Mistakes You May Be Making

Top 10 Mistakes You Make on the Elliptical Trainer

As the weather drops, more and more people head straight to one machine in their gym–the elliptical trainer. According to a 2008 report from the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, the number of users of elliptical trainers in health clubs grew sevenfold from 1997 to 2007.  And while you may be proud of yourself for making it to the gym and squeezing in some cardio, taking a lackadaisical approach to your elliptical workout and casually spinning your legs while reading a magazine or watching TV isn’t going to blast away those holiday cookies. Here, 10 mistakes you frequently make on the elliptical and how to fix them so you maximize calorie burn while adding fun to your ho-hum routine.

1. You’re too lazy to enter your information.

Most machines are calibrated for a 150-pound person—but personalizing your stats will help you get a more accurate calorie read. Aim to burn around 100 calories per 10 minutes.

2. Your resistance is zero.

You might feel like a million bucks spinning at a mile a minute, but without resistance, you’re not going to see results. Make sure that you’re using enough resistance to push and pull through the stride. Then, continue at a moderate pace until you feel like you’ve done all you can do. You shouldn’t feel like you have even 5 minutes left in you when you step off.

3. You’re a sloucher.

Standing up straight helps to lengthen your abs, giving you a chance to engage your core and even work your upper body muscles, hop on a machine with an upper body component so you can engage even more muscles–and blast more fat. Can’t find a machine that lets you pump your arms? Let go: Some research suggests that leaning on machine armrests during exercise reduces calorie burning.

4. Your machine sounds like it’s going to take off.

If you can hear the purr of the machine while you’re exercising, it means that you’re going too fast without enough resistance–which means you’re not getting the most calorie burn out of your time. Keeping a steady, moderate pace at a resistance that forces you to use your muscles will get, and keep, your heart rate up.

5. You don’t change directions.

Going backwards doesn’t just stop you from getting bored, it also changes which large muscle groups are working hardest, according to Europe. While moving forward fatigues your quads, backwards puts emphasis on your hamstrings and glutes. To max out the effect, sit back slightly, keeping your knees at a 90-degree angle as you stride.

6. You haven’t changed your workout in months.

Intervals are a great way to break up the monotony of the machine and boost your calorie burn. You can do this in one of two ways: Leave the resistance steady and change your pace (fast for 1 minute; moderate for 4) or maintain your speed and change your resistance (challenging resistance for 1 minute; moderate for 4).

7. You spin until you can’t feel your feet.

One of the most common elliptical mistakes is putting too much pressure on your toes, which can make your feet go numb and cut your workout short. Instead, sit back into your heels, which allows large muscle groups to work harder and gives you the stamina to go for longer.

8. You don’t work your upper half.

Incorporate the moving handles two days a week to put your upper body to work, and hang on to the stable handles on the others. When you’re working your arms and legs, try intervals–focus on your arms for 1 minute, then pump your legs for 4, and repeat through your workout.

9. You spin your way up a hill.

Some models have a ramp incline, similar to a treadmill. But, unlike a treadmill, a large incline won’t increase the difficulty–instead, it’s easier for your legs to push and pull through the stride.

10. You’re an elliptical junkie.

As tempting as it may be to shoot straight to the elliptical every time you enter the gym, you should never be using one machine exclusively. Supplement your routine with weight training and other cardio equipment, such as the rower. Making sure you incorporate variety keeps your body from getting used to a single movement and also continues to help you build muscle mass–which, in turn, will keep your metabolism boosted.

Via Prevention