Are you the person who gets on the treadmill and does a nice easy-paced jog for an hour? Are you proud when you see that you burned 1,000 calories in an hour? Bad news on two fronts…you wasted a lot more time than you needed to and you didn’t really burn 1,000 calories.
Cardio machines are notoriously bad at estimating how many calories you burn in a given period of time. Even with an intense workout, 500-600 calories per hour is probably the most you will burn. What’s the most efficient way to burn those calories? High intensity interval training combined with steady state cardio.
Commonly referred to as HIIT, high intensity interval training involves periods of maximum effort combined with recovery periods of reduced effort. For example, you may sprint for 30 seconds and walk for 1 minute. The benefit of this type of cardio is that you have a significant after burn effect (EPOC) in which your body continues to burn calories well after your workout ends. You have to use caution in utilizing HIIT as you can quickly over train, something that doesn’t happen with steady state cardio.
Steady State Cardio
Steady state cardio involves performing aerobic activity at a constant speed for a long period of time. It can have a valuable role in fat burning but only if you perform for long enough (1-2 hours). If you’re looking for a time-efficient workout, it should only be done in conjunction with HIIT. The great part about HIIT is that it releases fatty acids into the bloodstream. Steady state cardio burns up those fatty acids. If you try to do steady state cardio without HIIT, it could take 20-30 minutes just to begin releasing those fatty acids. A short HIIT workout will flood your system with fatty acids that steady state cardio can easily burn.
Best Cardio Routine Involves HIIT and Steady State Cardio
My preferred cardio routine involves 10 minutes of HIIT, 25 minutes of steady state, and another 10 minutes of lower intensity HIIT. For the first 10 minutes, I warm up for 2 minutes and then do 15 second sprints with 45 second jogging intervals for 8 minutes. I prefer to perform an all out sprint that leaves me gasping for breath to really increase HGH levels. HGH is a hormone that burns fat while preserving muscle mass. You should tone down the intensity if you are just starting HIIT training.
I then do 25 minutes of steady state cardio to burn the fatty acids that HIIT released into my bloodstream. Finally, I conclude with a less intense version of HIIT where I do 1 minute of fast paced jogging followed by 1 minute of light jogging for 10 minutes. This type of interval training burns up any remaining glycogen in my system to allow my body to burn even more fat after my workout.
Better Results, Less Time
By doing a workout similar to the one above, you can really burn a lot of fat. It’s a 45 minute routine but the after burn effect can really kick up the calorie burning. If you don’t have time for a 45 minute workout, you could simply do 10 minutes of HIIT followed by 20 minutes of steady state cardio. Either way, a workout routine that combines HIIT with steady state cardio should provide a great alternative to long, boring cardio and will burn belly fat in much less time.
About the Author: Dave provides no-nonsense “best of the best” diet and exercise tips to lose fat and build lean, defined muscle without spending hours in the gym. These are Not Your Average Fitness Tips. Read more of Dave’s fitness tips for busy people and download a FREE copy of his Fitness in a Flash report to help get a lean, athletic look in no time.