If you're the type of person who loathes the very thought of hours spent slowly pounding a drab treadmill in search of that mythical fat burning cure, then you're going to want to know about HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).
The premise is that rather than dragging your cardio regime out over a long, steady period, you ramp up your speed and intensity and chop the time spent actually running; in return, you'll be rewarded with a ridiculously effective fat burning and muscle building regime and be out of the gym and home to relax far quicker than before.
Sounds pretty decent to us.
How It Works
Without getting too scientific, HIIT works because by exercising at between 80 - 95% intensity you raise and maintain a high and consistent heart rate, which will cause your body to produce what's called 'excess post-oxygen consumption' or EPOC.
This happens because your body will not physically be able to get enough oxygen to your muscles due to the intensity of your training and short rest times, meaning you will essentially build up a 'debt' of oxygen that needs to be repaid post-workout. The result? You'll be burning calories and fat for up to 24 hours after you've finished. Something that definitely doesn't happen from a jog.
How You Can Do It
The hardest thing about HIIT sprints is finding the motivation to push yourself to your physical limits - the actual process itself couldn't be more simple. Sprint as hard as you can (preferably outside, but a treadmill will do), rest until you're just about back to life, and then go again.
Esquire fitness expert Harry Jameson recommends the following simple sprint routine to start you off.
Step 1: Sprint as fast as you can for 30-45 seconds (increase or reduce at your will, of course).
Step 2: Rest for 15 seconds.
Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 for 4 sets
Step 4: Profit?
Things To Remember
You can perform a HIIT sprint workout 1-3 times a week depending upon how much of a sadist you are, but remember to leave at least 36 hours between each one in order to maximise your body's recovery.
And while sprinting is super effective, make sure you use it as a compliment to your regular strength and conditioning routine, not as a direct replacement.