Shed stubborn pounds fast with this revolutionary new workout plan (no running involved!).
Here's something that may be hard to believe: Just because the scale is dipping doesn't mean your fitness routine is working.
If you're logging hours and hours on the treadmill, you've likely seen the numbers on the scale decrease, but you may not be losing body fat. In fact, a 2011 review in the Journal of Obesity found that the effect of regular aerobic exercise on body fat is negligible. Instead, shorter, high-intensity workouts--some that don't even include traditional cardio--have been shown to be more effective at reducing fat than any other type of exercise. These workouts have also been shown to significantly increase your fitness level, lower insulin resistance, and improve glucose tolerance.
Case in point: When comparing the effects on women of high-intensity exercise versus steady-state exercise, one study found that only the high-intensity group had a significant improvement in fat loss after 15 weeks. What's more, there was a significant reduction in fat from their legs (usually a stubborn spot for women) compared with their arms.
" The Best Workout for Your Body Type "
Your All-New Fat-Blasting Plan
Think of this routine as a piece of your fitness puzzle: You'll do the moves on the next page once or twice a week in place of your usual cardio workout. (You should also tally three total-body strength sessions--best done in the gym's weight room or with some dumbbells at home--for a total of four or five workouts a week.)
We call this workout "countdowns" at the gym, and it's a favorite--but it's also among the toughest. After a quick warm-up, do five reps of each exercise, moving from one to the next without resting; immediately sprint, jump rope, or run in place for 20 to 40 seconds, then rest for two minutes. Repeat, this time performing four reps of each move; continue the count-down pattern until you've finished the routine doing one rep of each exercise.
The routine is designed so that you do fewer reps as you get more tired, making it possible to finish with the same intensity you had at the beginning. And as you become more fit, you can increase your output: After five workouts, add an extra rep so you're starting with six reps of every exercise. Continue adding an extra rep each time until you've reached 10 reps.
" 21 Ways to Make Fitness Fun! "
Mix It Up There's more than one way to perform this routine. Vary your weekly program with a timed metabolic workout:
Starting with the first exercise, complete as many reps as you can in 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. Continue this pattern until you've finished all the exercises. That's one circuit. Repeat three more times. The key is to push your intensity during the work period and then completely recover during the rest period before moving on to the next exercise.
1. Squat Thrust
Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Squat down to the floor and place your hands in front of your feet (a). Jump your legs back into a pushup position (b), then quickly reverse the movement and stand to return to start. That's one rep.
2. Prisoner Squat
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place your hands behind your head, elbows out. Keeping your chest up and back flat, push your hips back and bend your knees until your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor (b). Push through your heels to return to start. That's one rep.
3. Prone Hand Touch
Get into a pushup position, your hands shoulder-width apart and your body forming a straight line from head to heels (a). Keeping your body stable and hips parallel to the floor, lift your left hand and touch your right hand (b), then return to start. Repeat with the right hand. That's one rep. Continue alternating.
4. Alternating Kettlebell Clean
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, a kettlebell (or dumbbell) sitting between your feet. Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower and grab the weight with your right hand (a). With your back flat and core tight, stand and raise the weight to shoulder height (b). Reverse the move to return to start. Repeat with your left hand. That's one rep. Continue alternating.
5. Alternating Reverse Lunge
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips, chest up, and shoulders back (a). Keeping your upper body still and core tight, take a large step back with your right foot, then bend both knees to lower into a lunge (b). Press through your left heel to return to standing. Repeat, stepping back with your left foot. That's one rep. Continue alternating.
Extra Effort If you have done five workouts--three strength and two metabolic--and want to add a sixth, do a 20-minute intense interval workout using any form of cardio: treadmill, stair climber, hill sprints, stairs, or biking.