No one enjoys doing cardio, not really. Well there may be a few folks out there but they are definitely in the minority. However, we have all come to accept the fact that it is a necessary part of our fat burning goals. That does not mean that it has to be mind numbingly boring in order for it to work though.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a great alternative to steady-state cardio. Like it's name implies, it involves several intervals of high-intensity exercise (at least 90% of your maximum heart rate) followed by intervals of slow to moderate paced recovery periods.
Research has shown that HIIT will raise your metabolism and burn fat at a much faster rate than if you do steady-state cardio. Even though your workouts are shorter, the intensity is so high that you will actually be working harder than on your regular cardio routine. HIIT is quickly becoming the hot cardio style for fat loss.
There are several different HIIT programs available to you, and a quick search will surely give you a dozen options. Once you have decided on a particular HIIT program to try out, combine the following tips with your program to help speed your progress and provide maximum fat loss.
1) You should always try to do your HIIT sessions after your workout on weight training days, and first thing in the morning on an empty stomach on non-weight training days. These are the times of the day when your body has used up most of its stored carbohydrates, so doing HIIT will force your body to burn fat instead of carbs.
2) Doing your cardio in the morning does have one catch. You need to make sure that you have at least a half a scoop of whey protein or 5-10 grams of amino acids. This will help to ensure your body continues to utilize your fat stores for its energy supply. If you do not do this your body may start to break down your muscle tissue for energy as well, which is not what you want.
3) You can try supplementing with caffeine and L-carnitine to help boost your fat loss. Research has shown an increase in metabolism and fat burning when these two supplements are combined together. Try 200-400 mg of caffeine (dependent on your tolerance) along with 1.5-3 grams of L-carnitine about 30 minutes before your workout.
4) If it is nice outside, you can try finding a hilly area and work that into your HIIT. This has the added benefit of really working your hamstrings and glutes as well. If you can not get out to run the hills, you can try raising and lowering the incline on a treadmill, which will give you a similar effect.
5) Try to limit your HIIT cardio session to 20-30 minutes. Not only will it get you out of the gym faster, this will help to maximize the intensity of the workout as well as stimulating muscle growth.
HIIT is a great solution to your fat burning problem. Not only will it help to speed your fat loss faster than by doing your normal routine, you will actually spend less time doing it. Think of old fashioned steady-state cardio like a moped, and HIIT like a Kawasaki Ninja. It just plain blows away the other type of cardio.