If you are one of our female readers who is looking for a workout to increase your energy, lose weight, and look your best and feel healthy keep reading. The information in this article will help you accomplish all of these goals. In it, I review recently published scientific research to show you the best way to work out to get rid of excess fat and get into shape fast. Also included are 2 workouts that use the findings from this cutting edge research.
Weight Loss Workouts For Women – What The Research Says
The latest research finds that the more intense your workout, the better it is for weight loss. It’s probably best for your overall health too. One study measured the results of 2 different exercise programs that each lasted 15 weeks. The workouts they did were either steady state (i.e. walking at moderate pace on a treadmill) or high intensity interval training (HIIT) (i.e. sprints at the track or on a stationary bike). The women in both groups worked out 3 times a week. Tests were performed before, during, and during the 15 weeks that measured changes in their weight, body fat, muscle mass, cardiovascular fitness, and levels of specific hormones related to weight loss.
After 15 weeks, the women in the high intensity exercise group lost a significant amount of body fat, and built muscle. Their blood insulin levels decreased too. The lower your insulin levels, the easier it is to lose weight. Low insulin levels are also important for good health too. The women who performed steady state workouts did not lose a significant amount of weight or build muscle. Their insulin levels did not decrease either.
What this means to you is that if you want to lose body fat and look your best as quickly as possible, high intensity training is better than steady state. Think sprinting instead of jogging for fast fat loss. Since it improves your cardiovascular conditioning, HIIT workouts are good for your heart too.
How To Add High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) To Your Workouts
Basically speaking, HIIT workouts are where you perform an exercise as hard as possible for a short period of time (10-60 seconds) and then resting briefly (10-120 seconds). Each exercise-rest sequence that’s completed equals one set. High intensity intervals can be done pretty much anywhere with or withouth extra equipment. HITT workouts can be done by: sprinting at a track, jumping rope, on an exercise bike, and with a rowing machine. You can even get in a great HIIT workout using body weight exercises and calisthenics (squats, push-ups, etc.).
Basic HIIT Workout
This one is good for getting started with HIIT workouts. You can do it using whatever equipment you have available such as: sprints at the park or a track, an exercise bike, rowing machine, with a jump rope, and on the elliptical machine.
Week One: Do 5, 15 second intervals. Rest 90 seconds between intervals.
Week Two: Do 5, 30 second intervals. Rest 90 seconds between intervals.
Week Three: Do 8, 30 second intervals. Rest 90 seconds between intervals.
Week Four:Do 10, 30 second intervals. Rest 90 seconds between intervals.
How To Perform This Workout
Each workout is performed by first determining how you will do your intervals: sprints outside, using an elliptical machine, etc. Then, after a complete warm-up get going with the intervals performing the prescribed number for the given week the following way:
1. Sprint/exercise as hard as possible for prescribed amount of time (i.e. week 1 sprint 15 seconds)
2. Rest for prescribed amount of time (i.e. week 1 rest 90 seconds between every sprint)
This completes one interval. Continue the workout until you have done the number of intervals prescribed for the day’s workout. Complete your interval workout by cooling down with 10-15 minutes of moderately paced cardio.
You can make your workouts more challenging by doing more intervals every workout. Increasing the time you sprint or exercise as hard as possible works too. Just make sure your intervals doesn’t last more than 90 seconds. Exercising longer than 90 seconds diminishes your ability to work as hard as possible and takes away the benefit you get from training this way.
Another way to make a workout more difficult is to decrease the time you rest between intervals. When doing intervals for weight and fat loss, your rest period can range from 10-90 seconds. The longer you rest, the more you recover between intervals which makes the workout less challenging.
If you are just getting started with high intensity intervals you may start by not going all out when exercising when doing the exercise part of the interval. You can also rest more than 90 seconds between exercises. As your fitness level improves make the workout more challenging by using any of the aforementioned tips. You can even get started by going on walks and alternating between walking as fast as possible for as long as you can followed with ‘resting’ by walking at a normal pace until you’ve recovered.
You’ll get the best fat burning benefits if you do HIIT workouts 2-3 times a week.
Bodyweight Exercise Based HIIT Workout
This is an interval workout that can be done anywhere: the gym, your living room, at the park, etc. All it takes is yourself and enough space to do the exercises. Clicking on the link for an exercise will take you to a Youtube video that shows how to properly do the exercise.
The workout is done by performing the first exercise in the workout, (Push Ups) for 20 seconds, resting for 10 seconds, and then moving onto the next exercise in the set. A set is complete when each exercise in the workout is done. Start by doing 5 sets per workout and add more each week until you can do 10-12 sets.
How To Do This Workout
Push Ups for 20 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
Squats for 20 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
Feet Elevated Push Ups for 20 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
Burpees for 20 seconds
Rest 1-3 minutes and repeat.
You can make the workout tougher by adding more exercises, performing more sets, wearing a weighted vest, and using resistance bands. Working out with a kettlebells, whether its swings, ab slams, or complexes are also great high intensity workouts that will burn off excess fat and get you into shape fast.
Trapp EG, Chisholm DJ, Freund J, Boutcher SH. The effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting insulin levels of young women. Int J Obes (Lond). 2008 Apr;32(4):684-91.