Zap Fat…Fast With High-Intensity Interval Training

Use high-intensity interval training to reveal awesome abs. Try these three do-anywhere routines.
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Want amazing abs?

It’s time to spring-clean your cardio routine and burn off that winter “insulation” you might have accumulated.

The best way to burn lots of fat and get the most return on your workout investment is through high-intensity interval training. “Low-intensity cardio is better used to build an aerobic base or improve recovery, while higher intensity intervals are better for fat loss,” explains Molly Galbraith, CSCS, co-owner of J&M Strength and Conditioning in Lexington, Ky.

High-intensity intervals cause a metabolic disturbance within the body, which leads to the burning of significantly more calories postworkout as the body tries to return to its preworkout state, Galbraith explains. In fact, a study from the International Journal of Obesity found that women who participated in a 15-week HIIT program had significant reductions in total body fat, including subcutaneous leg and trunk (i.e., abdominal) fat as compared to women who participated in lower-intensity exercise.

We designed these three workouts to be done indoors or out. Combine them with regular strength training and an A+ diet and you’ll be ready for swimsuit season months ahead of the game.

Fat-Blaster No. 1: Jump Rope Plus Strength Intervals

This indoor/outdoor workout combines cardio and resistance training to raise your heart rate and burn fat and calories. Warm up by jumping rope at an easy pace for five minutes. Then do six rounds of this workout, and follow up with five minutes of easy jump rope and another five to 10 minutes of dynamic stretching.

Approximate workout time: 30 minutes

Approximate calorie burn:* 300

Exercise

Sets

Reps/Time

Jump Rope

1

1 minute

Push-Up

1

10

Stationary Lunge

1

10 each side

Slo-Mo Mountain Climber

1

10 each side

Stationary Lunge

Stationary-Lunge

Setup: Stand with one foot forward and one foot back, hands on your hips.

Action: Bend your knees and lower straight down toward the ground, keeping your torso upright and your abs tight. Make sure your knee does not pass your toes. When your front thigh is parallel to the floor, reverse the move and stand back up to the start.

Push-Up

Push-Up

Setup: Place your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart and extend your legs behind you, forming a straight line from head to heels.

Action: Keeping your body rigid, bend your arms and lower yourself to the floor. When your chest nearly touches the ground, reverse the move and press back up to the start.

Slow-Mo Mountain Climber

Slo-Mo-Mountain-Climber

Setup: Place your hands on the ground shoulder-width apart and extend your legs behind you into plank.

Action: Keeping your hips low, bend one knee and bring it into your chest and hold for one breath. Replace leg and continue, alternating sides.

Fat-Blaster No. 2: Power-Up Sprints

Sprinting uphill engages more of the glutes and hamstrings, and burns more calories than jogging on a flat surface.

Approximate workout time: 30 minutes

Approximate calorie burn: 460

Outdoors

Find a steep hill that is about 25 yards long and stand at the bottom to do five to 10 minutes of dynamic stretching, then get into the workout. Use your descent downhill after each interval as your recovery time. Afterward, spend five to 10 minutes cooling down and stretching.

Action Going Up

Reps

Intensity

Walk

2

50–60%

Jog

2

60–70%

Sprint

8–10

80–90%

Walk

12

50%

Indoors

Find a treadmill at the gym that inclines up to 12 percent and do this incremental hill workout. Afterward, cool down and stretch thoroughly.

Minutes

Incline %

Speed

0–5:00

0

3.0

5:00–6:00

8

3.0

6:00–7:00

0

3.0

7:00–8:00

10

3.5

8:00–9:00

10

3.5

9:00–11:00

0

6.0

11:00–12:00

8

6.0

12:00–13:00

0

3.0

13:00–14:00

9

6.0

14:00–15:00

0

3.0

15:00–15:30

10

7.0

15:30–17:00

0

4.0

17:00–17:30

11

7.5

17:30–19:00

0

4.0

19:00–19:30

12

8.0

19:30–21:00

0

4.0

21:00–21:30

12

9.0

21:30–23:00

10

4.0

23:00–25:00

0

2.0

On the Up and Up

Sprinting uphill requires a little rejigging of your body position. Use these tips to make the most of your uphill climb:

  • Lean forward into the hill from your hips, not your waist, so your glutes can power you up the hill better.
  • Keep your chin up and your eyes forward to maintain a more upright position.
  • Stay on the balls of your feet; your heels should never touch down.
  • Keep your arms bent to 90 degrees and drive them forward and back, not across your body, with each stride.
  • Pick your knees up a little higher with each stride to accommodate the climb; the steeper the hill, the higher the knee lift.
  • Take more strides more quickly rather than taking long strides to cover more ground.

Fat-Blaster No. 3: Total-Body Tabata

Tabata workouts are short, intense and crazy effective at burning fat. This one can be done indoors or out and requires only your body, gravity and Mother Earth. Warm up for five minutes with dynamic stretches and some moderate cardio. Then do two rounds of each workout (A and B). For each round, do each move for 20 seconds, getting in as many reps as possible, followed by a 10-second rest for a total of four minutes. Rest one minute between each round, completing a total of four rounds. Afterward, cool down and stretch thoroughly for five to 10 minutes.

Approximate workout time: 20 minutes

Approximate calorie burn: 300

Workout A

1. Squat Jump

2. V-Up

3. Crab Walk

4. High Knees

Workout B

1. Lateral Jump

2. Plank Walk

3. Front Kick

4. Walking Lunge

Workout

Time/Minutes*

A

4

A

4

B

4

B

4

Squat Jump

Squat-Jump

Setup: Stand with your feet together, arms at your sides.

Action: Bend your knees and kick your hips back into a low squat. Extend your legs quickly and leap into the air, reaching your arms overhead. Land softly and compress into another squat. Repeat right away.

V-Up

V-Up

Setup: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and tucked into your chest, hands by your hips on the floor.

Action: Extend your legs away from you and simultaneously lean back, lowering both halves of your body as low as you can. Use your abs to pull you back up into the center.

Crab Walk

Crab-Walk

Setup: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands by your hips and extend your arms, lifting your hips off the floor.

Action: Walk backward on your hands and feet, keeping your hips lifted throughout.

High Knees

High-Knees

Setup: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms bent at your sides.

Action: Run in place, bringing your knees up to hip height with each step and swinging your arms to keep time. Stay light on your feet and go as quickly as you can.

Lateral Jump

Lateral-Jump

Setup: Stand with your feet together, arms bent at your sides.

Action: Hop laterally side to side, maintaining a rhythm.

Plank Walk

Plank-Walk

Setup: Get into plank position with your hands under your shoulders and your head, hips and heels all in line.

Action: Maintain plank position as you walk forward on your hands and toes.

Front Kick

Setup: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms bent at your sides.

Front-Kick

Action: Alternately kick in front of you at hip height.

Walking Lunge (Not shown)

Setup: Stand with your feet together, hands on your hips.

Action: Take a large step forward and lower into a deep lunge. Push off your back foot and bring your feet together. Continue, alternating sides.

Get Outdoors!

You have to be prepared for anything when exercising outdoors. Use these tips to protect yourself from the ravages of Mother Nature.

  • Always use SPF 30 or above sunscreen, even when it is overcast, to protect your skin from sun damage.
  • Bring plenty of water to hydrate yourself, even if it’s raining.
  • Bring or wear extra layers of clothing and hats to be ready for any kind of weather.
  • Wear shoes with good tread so you always have traction.
  • Wear synthetic socks that won’t absorb water when exercising in rain, slush or even snow.
  • Make sure you have reflective gear on yourself and your equipment so you’re more visible in bad weather.

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