Do you work out often, but aren’t seeing the same results as when you first started? Are you working out and eating right, but haven’t seen your hard work reflected on the scale? You could be stuck in a plateau. Plateaus are a natural part of any weight loss or fitness journey. As you work out, you train your body to be more efficient. Over time, your workouts become much easier for your body than they once were, so you no longer work as hard during exercise. Check out these four high-intensity, fat-burning workouts designed to get your heart pumping and help you overcome your plateau.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is any type of exercise that alternates short bouts of anaerobic activity with recovery periods. These workouts are intended to burn fat, boost metabolism and improve athletic ability all while conditioning your body for endurance exercise. Popular HIIT programs include Insanity and Cross Fit, both of which are known to produce amazing results over the course of months of hard work.
If you don’t want to start a whole new workout routine, there are many ways to incorporate HIIT elements into your favorite workouts. You can break up your runs by adding in intense sprint sessions with a walk or jog recovery period. You can do the same with swimming, cycling or walking. Most HIIT programs use a 2:1 ratio of intensity to recovery periods. For example, 30 to 40 seconds of intense sprinting, cycling, swimming or walking should be followed by 15 to 20 seconds of the same activity at an easier pace. Repeat your intervals for as many repetitions as you feel comfortable doing at first. Start with 10 to 20 minutes and aim to increase your overall time as your fitness level increases.
A Swedish word that means “speed play,” fartlek is a training method typically used by runners that blends endurance training with speed training. Most fartlek running sessions include an easy warm-up followed by a steady, but slightly-faster-than-normal speed. Next, the runner recovers at a slow jog or fast walking pace for about five minutes followed by repetitions of easy running interspersed with speed intervals. Then the runner runs at an easy pace with a few quick bouts to simulate speeding up to avoid being passed by another runner. A full-speed flat or uphill sprint followed by a one-minute, fast-paced finish completes the workout with a cool-down at the very end. Though it’s most commonly used by runners, the method also works for walking, cycling and swimming.
Known as the comfortably hard run, the tempo run is a great way to help you get in shape to run a race at your fastest time ever. A tempo run includes a slow warm-up followed by a challenging — but still manageable — pace that you could ideally stick with for a while, followed by a cool-down. The timing of each segment is dependent on what distance you’re used to running. An intermediate runner might warm up with 2 or 3 miles at an easy pace, run 8 or 10 miles at a tempo pace and finish with 2 or 4 miles at an easy pace. The tempo pace should be difficult, but not so difficult that you can’t sustain it for most of your run. Finding the time, distance and speed that’s right for you will take trial and error, but once you find your sweet spot, you can enjoy the benefits of more intense fat burning, endurance training and speed training all in one.
Ladder drills and agility workouts
Increasing your speed, agility and footwork with ladder drills is a great HIIT workout that can help burn fat and increase your cardiovascular fitness. Used by athletes from many fields — specifically tennis and football — ladder drills are the perfect way to add a new element into your workout routine while getting your heart rate up. Ladder drills can even be done indoors, so they’re the perfect HIIT workouts to do year-round. Click here for 13 ladder drills to get your feet moving and heart pumping.
Before beginning your HIIT program, fartlek or tempo run, you need to invest in a good sports watch to help you keep track of time, distance and heart rate. HIIT workouts are all about timing and distance, so an average sports watch or stopwatch probably won’t cut it. Once you have all the equipment you need as well as clearance from your doctor, you can start enjoying the benefits of HIIT fat-burning workouts.
1. Lung Institute: http://lunginstitute.com