The key to weight loss is simple: you must burn more energy than you are consuming. You can do this by spending half your day in the gym or by adding a simple 20 minute interval training workout to your weekly program. The choice is yours…
Most people think they have to spend countless hours on a piece of cardio equipment to burn fat.
This misconception is based on a theory that focuses on low intensity, long duration cardio workouts in the “fat burning zone.”
Although it is true that low intensity workouts use fat as fuel source, working in the “fat burning zone” does not burn many calories.
To burn more calories, you must introduce higher intensity cardio intervals into your weekly routine.
Not only does interval training produce higher calorie expenditure during your workout, it has the added benefit of the “afterburn effect.”
Imagine if you could continue to burn calories long after your workout is done. Think of your body as a car engine; after it has been driven around, it stays warm for a while.
After a high intensity workout, your metabolism is still revving to replenish energy supplies and return your body to its pre-exercise state. This principle is referred to as E.P.O.C (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption).
Simply put, your heart rate and breathing rate will remain slightly elevated, which means that your body will continue to burn calories and fat while you’re relaxing in front of the TV.
Depending on how hard you work, this “afterburn effect” can last anywhere from one to 24 hours.
Interval training is easy and can be done with any piece of cardio equipment or simply by taking a walk and increasing the pace to elevate your heart rate. Try this simple 20 minute workout two to three times a week and start seeing results. But don’t forget, exercise goes hand in hand with healthy eating, so always eat sugar, processed foods, and unhealthy fats in moderation.
As your fitness level increases, you can increase the high intensity times and shorten the recovery times to burn extra calories.
But please wait for this to happen, it will take time! Don’t attempt a 20-minute sprint on your first try.
Start with a three minute warm up on the cardio machine of your choice
After three minutes, increase the intensity and go as hard as you can for 90 seconds
At the 4:30 mark, reduce your intensity to low and recover for three minutes
At the 7:30 mark, go as hard as you can for 30 seconds
At the eight minute mark, recover for two minutes
At the 10:00 mark, increase the intensity for 45 seconds
At the 10:45 mark, recover for two minutes and 15 seconds
At the 13:00 mark, go hard for one minute
At the 14:00 mark, recover for three minutes
At the 17:00 mark, go hard for 30 seconds
At the 17:30 mark, COOL DOWN to the 20:00 minute mark
Jill, Hayley and Kate are trainers with Fitness 4 Life, their column appears every two weeks in The Echo.