One thing that I like to do, if I want to get a good workout in, and I do not have a lot of time, is hit the track and do some sprints.
Obviously, running, or aerobic exercise burns a lot of calories, but you cannot go all out for more than a minute or two.
As far as the metabolic effects and fat loss go, research conducted at James Madison University points out that sprints can be as effective as these longer running bouts.
Other health benefits of sprinting, according to the smart folks at Harvard, sprinting, or other forms of interval training, can lead to having a healthier cardiovascular system.
There are many ways to do these types of intervals or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions, as mentioned in Strength Training HIIT – Part 1 – Chest and Abs including Tabata workouts and superset weight training.
But, let’s say, it’s a nice sunny morning, and you are well-rested. Your bod feels good after a full 8 hours of quality sleep. You want to workout and you want to go outside, and kind of pressed for time.
Lucky for us, we live near a track. I do a slow jog (warm up) to get over there. Then, once my heart rate is up and I am on the track, I start my workout. This is my typical workout
- 5-10 minute slow (10-12 minute mile) warm up
- Sprint 200 meters (about 1/2 the track)
- Slow jog about about 3/8 track (which should take just about 1.25 times longer than the sprint)
- Repeat the two steps above, so that you do between 5 and 12 sprints per session
- 5-10 slow (10-12 minute mile) cool down
The number of sprints depends on how much time you have, and how long you have been doing this. I notice the quality of my sprints (for example time to run 200 meters), decreases after a few sprints.
Alternatively, this session can be done on a treadmill. One other variation I like to take advantage of is the use of hills. There is a hill nearby that is about 150 yards long. Rather than sprinting around the track, I will sprint up the hill. I do an easy jog down between the sprints.
Of course, you do not have to do this specific workout, but it is good to switch things up, if you have not done this before. Many people, including myself, like doing Fartleks, which is a Swedish term for “Speed play.” It is, more or less, adding sprints into a run. For example, sprinting on the road from one telephone pole to another periodically during a run.
Good luck with your run, and try adding a sprint session in, once or twice per week, to spice up your routine and accelerate fat loss.