By Marianne McGinnis
Introducing short bouts of vigorous activity can speed up weight loss and cut your workout time by up to half or more. Australian researchers found that women who alternated just 8 seconds of high-intensity cardio exercise with 12 seconds of low-intensity activity for 20 minutes, 3 times a week, slimmed down faster than steady-paced exercisers who worked out twice as long. Those who did intervals lost up to 16 pounds, shrunk their bellies by 12% and their thighs by 15%, and gained, on average, 1 1/2 pounds of metabolism-revving muscle in 4 months—without dieting.
What you'll need: Supportive athletic or walking shoes (specifically running ones if that's what you're doing), watch with a second hand or timer, cardio machine for Workout #2.
|0:00||Warm up, walking at a moderate pace|
|2:00||Sprint, running as fast as you can|
|2:15||Walk at an easy pace|
|3:30||Alternate 15-second Sprint and 30-second Walk intervals 6 more times|
Workout #2: 12-minute calorie burner
|0:00||Warm up by going at an easy pace|
|2:00||Rev it up, increasing speed, incline, or resistance so you're pushing yourself really hard|
|2:20||Take it easy, decreasing speed, incline, or resistance so you're going at a comfortable, moderate pace|
|3:00||Rev it up|
|3:20||Take it easy|
|4:00||Alternate 20-second Rev It Up and 40-second Take It Easy intervals 7 more times|
|11:00||Cool down by going at an easy pace|
Workout #3: 20-minute fat blaster
|0:00||Warm up by walking around or marching in place|
|2:12||March in place|
|2:42||March in place|
|3:12||March in place|
|3:42||March in place|
|4:00||Repeat above intervals 7 more times in the order listed|
|18:00||Cool down by walking around or marching in place|
|1. Jumping Jacks|
Yep, the ones you used to do in PE class. Go as fast as you can.
|2. Speed Skater|
Stand with feet together, arms at sides. Jump to right, leading with right leg. Left leg follows and crosses behind right foot as you land. Simultaneously reach left arm across body as if trying to touch floor. Repeat to left. Jump side to side as quickly as possible.
3. High Knees
Run in place as fast as you can, lifting knees out in front of you as high as possible. Swing arms at sides.
Stand with feet a few inches apart. Hop and rotate knees to right as arms go to left, landing with knees bent. Repeat, twisting in opposite direction.