Interval training involves alternate bouts of intense exercise with recovery periods. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, these short, intense bouts burn more calories than working at the same intensity for the same amount of time. The recovery periods allow for greater intensity during the work periods and, consequently, more calories are burned.
Many treadmills have interval training routines programmed into them, but it's easy enough to design a program on your own. You can translate this same technique to other cardio equipment or even to walking outdoors. Simply vary the speed, time, rest and number of intervals. Try this sample routine:
(Adjust all variables to your fitness level.)
Warm up 5 minutes at a 3 percent incline.
|Cool down 5 minutes.|
Total 30 minutes (including warmup)
Cardiovascular training and weight training both burn fat and calories. Combine the two, and you'll burn the highest number of stubborn fat cells even after you're finished exercising. Circuit training does just that by combining strength-training exercises with endurance exercises done in sequence. Alternate and add to simple workout stations as you progress using minimal equipment right at home; compete with a friend for added motivation.
Follow a maximum rest period of 30 seconds between exercises so you don't risk losing the aerobic benefits. Rest only after each complete circuit.
Rest 45 seconds and repeat. Add and substitute exercises as you see fit (e.g., substitute lunges for squats), being sure to include a balance of upper and lower body moves.
A few simple changes in your regular cardio routine can translate into more efficient use of your workout time and, ultimately, more calories burned.
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