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Posted in: Articles by ProSource, Featured Content, Training Articles, Muscle Mechanics
By Eric Velazquez, NSCA-CPT | Jul 21, 2011

LESS CARDIO, image Use intervals to save workout time and reveal your best summer body

Goal: Get Lean
Bodyparts: All

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT. Please tell us you've jumped on board with this proven, effective method of burning bodyfat. What's that? You haven't? Well allow us to quickly make the case for the conversion. HIIT can be boiled down into the following mantra: sprint, walk, repeat. By alternating bouts of near max efforts with periods of active recovery, you increase your total time spent working at higher intensities, thereby burning more unwanted blubber. Here are some of the main perks of HIIT.  

SHORTER WORKOUTS: By working at higher intensity, you can keep cardio sessions shorter -- think 10-20 minutes as opposed to the traditional 20-40. One study showed that subjects who performed just 4-6, 30-second sprints three times a week burned significantly more fat than those who didn't.

MORE MUSCLE: Because you're working at a sprinter's pace, your muscles' fast-twitch fibers are the main players in each workout. By training these muscles explosively, you can hold onto or even grow more muscle than you would by performing regular, steady-state cardio.

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MORE CALORIES...LATER: Yes, steady-state cardio tends to burn more calories during a single workout, but HIIT elevates your metabolism higher and for longer (up to 48 hours in some studies), meaning that you continue to burn calories long after your final stride.

MORE CHALLENGING: Sprinting at top speed instantly ups the ante for your cardio sessions by infusing it with a more dynamic and athletic spice you simply don't get out of a speed walk on an incline. Martin Rooney, CSCS, author of "Ultimate Warrior Workouts," says that sprinting is the most essential athletic activity there is. It's just a bonus that it helps you burn bodyfat faster than anything else.

This summer, move your cardio locale away from ye olde conveyor belte. Use the following progressive protocols for an explosive outdoor workout that will get you shredded in less time, all while getting your daily dose of Vitamin D.

  Week 1  
Sprint: 10 seconds
Slow jog: 50 seconds
--Repeat cycle 10-12 times

  Week 2  
Sprint: 12 seconds
Slow jog: 48 seconds
--Repeat cycle 12-15 times

  Week 3   
Sprint: 15 seconds
Slow jog: 45 seconds
--Repeat cycle 12-15 times

  Week 4  
Sprint: 20 seconds
Slow jog: 40 seconds
--Repeat cycle 15 times

Start and finish each workout with two minutes of slow jogging. Perform each workout 2-3 times per week either on its own or after a weight training session. Empty stomach sessions are not recommended because of the high energy demand. It's far better to have some fuel in the tank and keep your sprint speed up in order to maximize each session's effectiveness.

To keep track of your intervals, carry a GymBoss timer ( or simply eyeball your stopwatch.


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Disclaimer: The articles featured herein are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Specific medical advice should only be obtained from a licensed health care professional. No liability is assumed by ProSource for any information herein.

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