Great news: Short workouts are good for you. But that doesn't mean you can just leave halfway through your SoulCycle class.
Many trainers believe that high-intensity interval training is more effective at burning fat than a continuous cardio burn, and studies show that if done correctly, you even continue to burn fat long after the workout. Here's how it works, in theory: Kill yourself doing an exercise for an interval of time, then rest during a "recovery period" that feels far too short, then repeat. During your high-intensity periods, your body accumulates a "debt of oxygen," which it struggles to repay post-workout by continuing to burn fat.
Here, Annie Mulgrew, program director of City Row, demonstrates a short, efficient fat-burning workout she created. "The key is to work to your maximum capacity and to do as many reps as you possibly can during the work phase," she says. Don't do these at a leisurely pace. To get the impact of interval training, do these exercises as quickly as you can while still maintaining proper form. Perform each for 45 seconds, followed by a 15-second rest, and begin the circuit again.
Step 1: Do a walking lunge, alternating legs, passing the weight between your knees (the weight is optional). When stepping into the lunge, make sure that there is a 90-degree angle between your knee and ankle. Be careful not to extend your knee over your toe. If looking down, your toes should always be visible over your knee.
Step 2: Next up are push-ups. Your form is important: Make sure your arms are in front of your shoulders and your back is in a straight line. In a proper push-up, your chest should touch the floor.
You can also do a modified push-up, with your knees bent.
Step 2A: Here, Mulgrew demonstrates some "don'ts" when it comes to push-up form. Don't push your hips down in a push-up; keep your shoulders and back in a straight line. Don't stick your butt out in a push-up.
Step 2B: And if you're doing modified push-ups, here are some other "don'ts." Don't hunch into your push-up. Don't slouch into your push-up; keep your abs tight.
Step 3: Try these "air squats." With these, be careful to keep the weight in your heels and not push your chest forward. Squeeze your inner thighs, butt, and abs.
Step 4: Hold a plank, either on your hands or forearms.