Let's switch gears this week and focus on a little cardiovascular work. The kind of sweat session that will give you the biggest bang for your buck, especially in regards to fat loss, is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
By working hard for brief periods of time followed by rest periods in between, the body has to work harder after the workout to return to homeostasis. This is known as the "afterburn effect," which causes the body to burn more calories at rest. This doesn't occur with traditional steady state cardio. Interval training has also shown to improve both aerobic and anaerobic fitness, blood pressure, and insulin sensitivity. Although low to moderate intensity steady state cardio certainly has its place, once you've gotten a good aerobic foundation built, HIIT may be the next tool to pull out of your fat loss arsenal to get to the next level.
The following high intensity cardio workout will take you less than 20 minutes, start to finish. If you're new to HIIT, start with the Beginner workout below once a week for a while, and add a second day per week if you're feeling good and recovering well. More experienced exercisers can start with the Intermediate workout 1-2 times per week.
Start by warming up at an easy intensity (about a 4 or 5 out of 10, or enough to get your heart rate up but still able to hold a conversation easily). Your work effort should be at a challenging sub-max intensity (not all-out, but rather 7-8 out of 10. You should be breathing hard but still able to speak one or two short words at a time if necessary).
Your rest periods should be either a complete rest or a 2-3 out of 10 intensity. Your goal here is to feel not quite fully recovered, but still able to push hard for the next interval. If you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or nauseated, stop immediately, grab some water, and call it a day. Pushing yourself too hard can be counterproductive and even dangerous in some cases. Better safe than sorry.
Cool down after the final interval with 5+ minutes of easy movement to bring your heart rate and blood pressure down safely. (The rest period of the last interval will be the 5 minute cool down.)
Options for HIIT:
Running, Jump Rope, Stair Master, Bike, Squat Thrusts, Kettlebell Swings, Jumping Jacks, Dynamic Squats, Hill Sprints, Row Machine, Aerodyne Bike, Stairs