When compared to the success stories of women who've lost 50+ pounds, trying to lose 10 pounds can make you feel a little bit like Regina George ("I really wanna to lose three pounds").
But your goal isn't silly. In fact, it can actually be harder for you to reach than it is for women with more weight to lose. That's because you've likely made all the obvious changes to your eating habits and exercise routine and just need to push things a bit further.
That's where tweaking your workout comes into play, says Matt Tannenberg, C.S.C.S., doctor of chiropractic. "By switching up your workouts, you keep your body guessing and will continue to see better results," he says.
Obviously, revamping your workout plan will only get you so far, says Chelsea Elkin, R.D. "If you are tweaking your workout routine, but aren’t closely monitoring what you eat, it will be hard to shed those 10 pounds," says Elkin.
But if your diet is already on point, here are a few strategies you can turn to during your sweat sessions to help erase that weight.
"For people that are only looking to lose 10 pounds, you need to modify exercise just enough to see those changes," says Tannenberg. That's where HIIT workouts come in, he says. These combine strength-building with cardiovascular training, so you'll develop metabolism-revving muscle and increase your heart rate to burn off extra calories.
Tannenberg says that this workout is particularly good for someone who has 10 or less pounds to lose because it could be too intense for someone who is more overweight than that. Shoot for four HIIT workouts per week, he says. "You have to give your body time to heal."
If you've relied on bodyweight exercises to get (and stay) in shape, you might not be burning as many calories as you could be, says Tyler Spraul, C.S.C.S.
Lifting weights, and gradually increasing that weight, will increase your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, which allows you to burn more calories as your body recovers—even after you leave the gym.
If you're no stranger to the weight room, try picking up the intensity by using heavier weights, says Spraul. Once you've got a challenging set of weights, make sure you're doing as many total-body moves, like squats and deadlifts, as you can, he says. "Full-body movements create the largest calorie-burning effect, especially if you are lifting heavy!"
Bonus: Heavy lifting triggers a hormonal response that improves your body's ability to burn fat, says Spraul.
When you've got just 10 pounds or less to lose, that's when adding in some cardio can really be effective for burning extra calories, says Rob Sulaver, C.S.C.S., founding trainer at Rumble Boxing. Add three to four rounds of low-intensity cardio per week by tacking on an easy jog or walk at an incline on the treadmill to the end of your HIIT sesh for 20 minutes, says Sulaver.
While using a metabolic finisher to top off your workout can help burn more fat, doing 20 minutes of steady-state cardio torches calories without taxing your nervous system, he says. That will help your body recover faster.
If you're working out consistently and you're still not seeing the results you want, you might not be giving your body enough recovery time, says Spraul. "It may be hard to believe, but your intense workouts may be holding you back," he says. That's because your body can only handle a limited amount of stress from working out, your job, your bills, etc. So if you've been training consistently without results, it may be time to switch things up so you can fully recover, says Spraul. For the next week, he recommends trying workouts that are less intense on your body but still keep you active, like yoga, swimming, or walking. Get back to your regularly scheduled programing after that week is up.