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When high-intensity interval training (HIIT) came along and gained popularity as the best way to burn fat while holding on to muscle, people started becoming disillusioned with their treadmills. Those long speed walks on an incline – which nobody really enjoyed to begin with – suddenly became less appealing. But that doesn’t mean that the treadmill itself as obsolete. On its own, the treadmill is a very effective fat-fighting tool. By applying high-intensity principles to your next treadmill workout, you can increase the amount of fat you’re burning per session – in far less time.
The benefits of short, high-intensity training sessions are all about your post-recovery state. If you’re working harder you’re going to have a slightly elevated heart and metabolic rate, meaning you’re burning more calories over the recovery period as well as when you’re actually training.
But how much of a payoff does HIIT really offer over traditional, steady-state cardio? Some studies have shown that HIIT burns up to nine times more fat than traditional cardiovascular exercise and keeps your metabolism elevated for more than 24 hours afterwards. This means you are going to keep burning calories long after you have finished exercising.
HIIT helps burn fat while maintaining muscle through a stop-start system of training that’s transferable to almost any exercise. HIIT, as the name suggests, combines high-intensity, calorie-torching periods of activity with low-intensity recovery periods for an overall duration of as little as 10 minutes each session.
Try this HIIT treadmill workout to finish of your weight training session, and have that six-pack showing in no time at all.
This workout will take 10 minutes. Start with a light jog for three minutes and then complete 10 minutes worth of one of the levels below. Walk for three minutes upon completion to cool down.
Beginner: 20 seconds of work 40 seconds recovery x 10 *
Intermediate: 30 seconds of work 30 seconds of recovery x 10 *
Advanced: 40 seconds of work 20 seconds of recovery x 10 *
* Does not include three-minute warm-up or cool down.
Once you can complete the advanced level and need more of a challenge, try adding a slight incline for variation, or try the exact same workout on a stationary bike.
>> Work-to-Rest Ratios: The ideal work-to-recovery ratio for interval training is to rest for 50% of the working time frame as outlined in the advanced option. If doing this correctly its very difficult, you can try one of the other programs with slightly longer recovery times.
>> Try it Post-Workout: There is an added benefit to doing these intervals after your resistance training. This deeply depletes your carbohydrate stores to put your body into fat burning mode faster. Remember this workout is for your lean phase to get ripped quick, not for your bulking phase where you are trying to maximize size. I wouldn’t recommend this workout after a hard leg session.
>> Focus on Effort: We use the treadmill here but it’s not so much the equipment that you use but rather how you use it. You could get the same workout using a stationary bike, a cross trainer, a rower, a set of stairs outside, or even just out on a football field. Everyone will always have their preference and always have something negative to say about certain workout styles. The important thing with interval training is that you are working at your maximum output for the required duration. More important than that is that you are more likely to get great results if you choose some form of exercise that you enjoy. So just pick a piece of equipment and get training! The treadmill is a rather universal piece of equipment that everyone knows. But you can apply these protocols to your favorite activity and get great results.
Mark Moon is the leading Australian fitness trainer, Blood Type Diet expert and creator of the Get Fit Fast online system. He has recently launched his newest US-based, four disc DVD series, Get Fit Fast: The Complete Workout System. The four motivational 40-minute workouts include, strength, cardio and core, stretch and recover, and cycle! To learn more about Mark Moon and Get Fit Fast, please visit http://www.markmoonfitness.com or follow him on Twitter @MarkMoonFitness.