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Don't derail your fat loss progress by choosing the wrong exercises. The right interval exercise is the difference between reaching your fat loss goal in a month or a year. Because maximum fat burning in a minimal amount of time is the goal, choose the best fat-burning exercises for interval training.
Interval Training for Fat Loss
Intervals are periods of work alternating with a period of recovery. Dr. Jason Karp, 2011 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, uses intervals that manipulate time (or distance), intensity, recovery period and number of repetitions. High-intensity interval training is a specific type of interval training. The American Council on Exercise defines HIIT as periods of high-intensity work paired up with periods of slower active recovery. Sprinting combined with walking is a prime example. These work periods can last from eight seconds up to five minutes. An ACE Fit Facts article shows that HIIT training will allow abdominal fat reduction in surprisingly short amounts of time. Pete McCall, exercise physiologist with ACE, says that by doing HIIT, you can increase your VO2 max without going on long runs. VO2 is a measurement of your body's ability to uptake and use oxygen during exercise.
In the Gym
The gym offers several options for doing intervals. Cardiovascular machines such as exercise bikes, ellipticals, stair climbers and treadmills are usually the first chosen. Lesser known methods include equipment such as kettlebells and dumbbells for exercises such as swings and squats for time or repetition goals. For an HIIT workout using kettlebells, time yourself doing swings. Do as many swings as you can in 30 seconds, and then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat this five or six times. To crank it up, perform planks during your rest time to fire up your core.
If you plan on going outside to work out, sprinting is an effective way to burn fat. If you don't feel ready for a sprint program, an alternative is intervals of high-speed walking alternating with slower tempo walking. A track provides an easy way to measure intervals; try running or sprinting the straightaways and using the corners for recovery. Hill sprints are a good option for beginners, because the limitations on top speed can prevent hamstring injuries. For a fat-scorching sprint workout, sprint for 20 seconds and then walk back to the starting point. Catch your breath, then repeat for five or six total repetitions.
Before beginning any type of exercise routine, check with a doctor. Stop if you feel lightheaded or dizzy while working out. Drink water or a sports drink to prevent dehydration. If anything hurts, stop and rest before continuing. Work out with a personal trainer or a strength and conditioning coach to get a customized training plan. If you go outside to run, check the field or track for any debris so you don't trip or twist an ankle.