Have you been spending what seems like countless ours jogging on the treadmill or slogging it out on the elliptical machine only to find yourself completely frustrated at the lack of results? While that type of moderate steady-state cardio might offer some benefits for enhancing brain function, it likely won’t produce the type of fat loss you’re after. But here’s the good news: if you’re looking to burn fat fast, there’s a method of exercise that will help you burn fat more effectively, preserve your muscle mass, and do it all in much less time than your currently spending on the cardio machines!
You’ve probably heard of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) before, and it’s become incredibly popular in the fitness community. The idea behind HIIT is that you exercise for shorter periods of time and in max-effort spurts followed by short rest periods. HIIT has been shown in study after study to lead to significantly better results than longer bouts of steady-state cardio. A recent study out of Australia reported that a group of females doing a 20 minute HIIT program lost 6 times more fat than a similar group of females doing 40 minutes of steady-state cardio at 60% effort! But here’s the problem. HIIT isn’t easy, and exercising at max effort is pretty difficult! Most people simply don’t work hard enough during the time they’re supposed to be going all out, which tempers the results they want to see. So what can you do to make sure you’re working hard enough in a HIIT format? Sprints! And in particular, hill sprints.
Why hill sprints? They’re lower impact and much easier on your joints than sprints on a flat surface, and you’ll get the added benefit of building muscle while you get shredded! Hill sprints are often referred to as the secret training weapon of many professional runners, football players, and other professional athletes. And even though hill sprints will burn like crazy and you might absolutely hate them while you’re doing them, they’re over with quickly. Here’s how to do them.
- Find a hill near your home. You’re going to want to find a hill at a pretty challenging grade that allows you 40 yards of runway or longer. Drive around your neighborhood to scout out locations.
- Before your hill sprints, warm up with some light jogging and some mobility exercises. Jumping jacks, squats, high knees, hip mobility warm ups, and even arm circles (you need to engage your core and arms while sprinting!) should be part of your routine.
- When you sprint, you have to go all out. No 80% here. You’ll need to run as fast as you can and until you feel absolutely gassed!
- Take the amount of time you sprint for and double it for recovery. For example, if you’re sprinting for 10 seconds, let yourself recover for 20.
- Set a goal before you start. If you’re just starting out at a low fitness level, set a smaller goal of 4-5 sprints. Then eventually progress and work your way up to 10-12. Record your progress and watch the fat melt off!
- In fact, before you start incorporating sprints into your routine, take a “before” picture in the mirror so you can track your fat loss progress. It’s incredibly motivating to notice the changes in your body over time when incorporating a new fitness strategy, and keeping a visual record of it will keep you honest!
- As far as timing goes, the most effective times to do your hill sprints for fat loss are first thing in the morning or directly after a resistance training workout, as your body will be in a carbohydrate-depleted state.
We’d love to hear if you’ve incorporated hill sprints or any other form of HIIT into your routine…leave a comment below!