Yes, we are ALL busy. And, yes, it’s hard to find time to fit your workouts in. First and foremost, that’s not an excuse to ignore your longevity. Second, luckily for you the quickest way to lose weight is actually the quickest way. It’s called intervals and I will preach intervals until the day I’m no longer breathing. Research has proven time and time again that interval training - workouts in which you alternate periods of high-intensity exercise with low-intensity recovery periods - increases fitness and burns more calories over a shorter period of time than steady-state cardio (the same boring cardio for your whole workout).
Here’s an example of how effective intervals can be. I recently completed a Quintuple Ironman. The running portion of this insane (slightly idiotic) race is 131 miles. That’s over 24 hours of running. I’m sure you’re guessing that in order to run 131 miles you have to spend hours and hours pounding the pavement running all the hell over the place until race day...right? Wrong. My furthest runs were 6 miles. Four times a week I would run 6 miles...that’s it. This method of training is not for the faint of heart. It is extremely difficult and you have to have the mental toughness of an ox.
So, how did I get away with putting in a mere 24 miles a week to complete a 131 mile run? I ran six 1 mile intervals as hard and fast as I could, with very little rest between each set.
Typically I’d average 5:45-6:00 minute miles for each of my 1 mile intervals and rest no more than 60 seconds between each.
This example is obviously on the extreme end of the spectrum. There probably aren’t too many of you out there that are as idiotic as myself looking to run a Quintuple Ironman...or any Ultra for that matter. My point is that when done properly and within your capabilities, intervals are extremely effective!
Whether you’re training for a race or looking to improve your body’s fat burning capabilities, intervals are the way to go. Without a doubt.
Conventional wisdom is still stuck on the notion that you must spend hours at the gym to achieve any significant results. Wrong. Below are a couple examples of how you can use intervals to torch calories and bump that metabolism up so high you’ll be burning excess calories for 8+ hours after your workout is done.
MY TWO ALL-TIME FAVORITE INTERVAL METHODS
My favorite of all the interval styles is called the Tabata Method. A 4-minute Tabata workout burns as many calories as a 60-minute jog! The program’s method is simple; 20 seconds of all-out work followed by just 10 seconds of rest. Repeat that 8 times for a total of 4 minutes. The key with this workout, and where most people get it wrong, is that the 20 seconds of all-out work MUST be as hard as you can go. In Dr. Tabata’s (the scientist and creator of the Tabata method) words: “If you feel ok afterwards, you’ve not done it properly”. (You should look like the picture above afterwards) Ouch!
10 minutes - Warm-up
20 seconds - Jump Rope or Burpees (HARD AND FAST)
10 seconds - Rest
Repeat both of these back to back for a total of 8 sets (4 minutes)
Next up is what’s called Interval Running. This is the bread and butter of cardio interval-style base building. After your initial 5-7 minute warm-up, you’re going to do a series of intense efforts followed by recovery periods. An example would be a 3-mile run, throughout which, you’ll push the pace for 3 minutes and then back off the pace for 2 minutes. Continue this for the entire 3 miles.
7 minute warm-up jog
2 mile run
Throughout the run you will do 1 minute hard and then back off the pace for 2 minutes
Continue this 1on/2off cycle for the entire 2 mile run
10 minute warm-up run
4 mile run
Throughout the run you will do 3 minutes hard and then back off the pace for 1 minute
Continue this 3on/1off cycle for the entire 2 mile run
There you have it...two proven ways to cut your workout time in half. Now go Tabata yourself into submission.