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Incredible Metabolism Boost #1

January 23rd, 2009
hand-holding-stopwatch

Did you know that sprint-based cardio is absolutely the best type of cardio to burn body fat and lose weight fast?

A University of New South Wales study found that women who undertook 8 seconds of sprinting on a stationary exercise bike, followed by 12 seconds of light cycling for 20 minutes, lost 3 times as much fat as women who perform continuous cardio for 40 minutes.

Now that’s good math!

The study further found that interval training burns fat not just from under your skin but also from within your muscles, making them tighter, tauter, and more toned.

Want To Know The Best Part?

According to the researchers, interval training is especially effective for weight loss on the legs and butt. Yay!

Does It Really Work?

Thus study just confirms what I already knew – endurance cardio just ain’t gonna cut it in a fat loss game when it’s up against intervals. When I first started working out in the gym I thought cardio was the way to go. After all, that’s what all the girls were doing. In a few years I became the cardio queen, doing at least an hour every day, and up to 4 or 5 hours when I was pre-competition for Body Sculpting.

Yes, I was insane.

I was certainly fairly skinny, but I had barely any muscle tone, and was pretty much wiped out all the time, which is also not a great look. Eventually the repetitive stress took its toll and I nearly developed patella tracking syndrome, a condition whereby the kneecap starts to head off the edge of the knee. In case you’re wondering, not so comfortable.

I was put on a cardio ban for 6 months, and as a result truly discovered weight training for the first time. (Thank God!). When I did get back to cardio I wanted to give this new idea a go. One of my friends had sworn by it for fat loss. It was called interval training and – get this – only required 20 or less minutes of exercise, alternating sprints with recovery period. I didn’t quite trust the idea, but thought I should at least try it. Can you guess what I found?

Why I Love Interval Training For Fat Loss

1. It’s more interesting than endurance training. You’ll work so hard during the sprint periods that the recovery time just flies by. Before you know it, 20 minutes have passed and you’re feeling the awesome glow of a truly intense workout.

2. You’ll save time. Loads of it. We’re all busy. Enough said.

3. You’ll build lean, sculpted muscle. Ever compared a marathon runner’s body to a sprinter’s? Which would you prefer – the haggard look, or the proud, lean look? Okay then.

4. You’ll save money on artificial joints later in life. Bikram Choudray, founder of Bikram Hot Yoga, has a quote that I love – “You can mess with the Gods, but you can’t mess with your knees”. Same thing goes for hips. Endurance cardio wears your body down. Interval training strengthens your body.

5. Interval training is especially effective for weight loss around the legs and butt! I know I already said this, but it’s just such a good one!

Have you tried interval training before? Which combination works best for you? As I tell my clients – there’s really no wrong way to perform intervals. In fact, it’s ideal to constantly change the variables. Incline sprints one day, flat the next. X-Trainer today, running tomorrow. You can also vary the length of the sprint and recovery time. Just don’t go over the 20 minute mark. If you’re working hard enough, you shouldn’t really be able to!

Life is Now. Press Play.

Kat

PS* Interval training is just as great for men as women. Don’t be fooled by the study focusing on the gals!

PPS* Secret reason #6 why I love intervals – the 20-minute time requirement makes it harder to use the excuse of not having enough time. You know I’m right. Plan for some seriously intense lunch-time sprints next week and charge your way into a fat-burning 2009!

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13 people have commented
  1. Carla says:

    That is pretty much how I work out on my spinning bike. For health reasons, I cant run like I used to, but I can still spin. HIIT or similar workouts does so much more than “regular” cardio.

    • Kat says:

      Thank-you!! I’d been trying to remember HIIT and just couldn’t think of the term. You rock Carla 🙂 And it’s great to hear this style of training is working for you.

  2. Hello,
    Cool blog, I just stumbled on it and I’m already a fan
    I hope it’s not impolite but I have just begun documenting
    my own weight loss(I went down 30 pounds in a month, so I’m happy
    , and I wanted to know if you could share
    my diet for your blog readers.
    My latest post is
    quick weight loss diet
    If you’re up to do a link exchange
    that would be excellent as I want to share my weight loss success
    with everyone. If I can lose weight then
    any one can. Whatever you do, don’t give up and you WILL
    meet all your weight loss goals!
    with kind regards,
    Joan

    • Kat says:

      Thanks Joan! Have checked out your blog a few times when you’ve commented and have also replied to you several times but haven’t heard back?! Maybe you don’t read the comment responses? Anyway I wish you all things well with your blogging and continued weight loss journey – keep us updated over here at BodyIncredible.com!

  3. […] you ever compared a sprinters body to a marathon runners? Think about that for a moment. And then check out this piece I put together on how to blast off body fat with sprint and interval cardio. I’d recommend […]

  4. […] 1. First off, it’s important that you’re doing the right type of exercise. While traditionalists will tell you that low-intensity cardio with a moderate amount of weight training is the way to go, it just ain’t true.  Studies have shown that high-intensity exercise has a significant effect on abdominal fat as compared to low-intensity exercise. This is because the lasting metabolic effects (up to 48 hours increased metabolism) far outweigh those very brief ‘fat-burning zone’ benefits. High-intensity exercise includes functional circuit training, heavy strength or power training (make sure you know what you’re doing), and interval-based cardio. […]

  5. Clare says:

    Hi Kat, Im really enjoying your website there is so much to learn about health and exercise, I love it!
    Ive been trying this way of working out and Im wondering how long it takes to see the results. Im doing 30 seconds intense then about 2 mins recovery, totalling 4 times, altogether about 10 -12 mins then doing about 10 mins weight training followed by cool down stretching! I do this about three times a week.

  6. Kat says:

    HI Clare –
    Your cardio sounds perfect, but you’re not doing anywhere near enough weight training for fat loss! Funny your comment came through today, I’m currently writing a post on the perfect weekly exercise program. It will come out later this week so stay tuned – that should definitely help 🙂

  7. Adriene says:

    Hi Kat! I am so glad that I stumbled across your blog! I have been on a weight loss journey for almost a year and have plateaued with 30 pounds to go. Can you give me some ideas for interval training? This article says “8 seconds of sprinting on a stationary exercise bike, followed by 12 seconds of light cycling for 20.” Could you help me and give a couple of ideas on how to implement this? I own a treadmill and a spinning bike along with weights. I love the 20 minute idea!! I have a 2 year old and am a working mother, so finding time to workout is sometimes a challenge. Any workout ideas/routines will really be appreciated! Thanks!

    • Kat says:

      Hi Adriene, great to hear from you 🙂 … you can do the 8 seconds on/12 seconds off on any piece of equipment. You just need a stopwatch to keep to the times.

      If you go to my other blog http://www.womanincredible.com I am publishing exercise ideas every now and then, and also have a fantastic online training and nutrition program which re-opens in January – at a VERY great trial rate!

  8. steve says:

    Hey Kat I love your blog!

  9. […] you ever compared a sprinters body to a marathon runners? Think about that for a moment. And then check out this piece I put together on how to blast off body fat with sprint and interval cardio. I’d recommend 2-3 […]