The warm sun on your face, sweaty and exhausted in the best possible way.
One of the best things about summer – which right now seems like it’s just around the corner – is being able to do your workouts outside every so often instead of at your gym or in your house.
But once you’re out there, what do you do?
Well you could do a bodyweight circuit which are always fun.
Or you could grab a couple kettlebells or sandbags and add some fun variety to your workouts.
But the absolute simplest workout to set up outside is…
HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING – SPRINTS.
Sprints are great for everything from fat loss to athletic performance – when done properly.
The problem is that few people actually do them properly to get the benefits they’re looking for.
For instance, let’s just say you’re trying to lose fat, you’re about 45 lbs overweight right now and you’ve been in lockdown in your house all winter.
Going out and trying to do sets 60 second sprints with 10 second rest times isn’t going to work out too well for you.
The problem with that is:
1) Your going to be exhausted after approximately 2 rounds and get 0 benefit from it besides burning a couple calories
2) Even if you make it past 2-3 rounds of this, you’re not going to get the fat loss benefits you’re looking for because you’re body is going to be working in your AEROBIC energy system – the same system you use when doing that long boring cardio that we already know isn’t a great long term solution for fat loss.
When you’re just starting to implement sprints (or “high intensity interval training”) into your program, it’s a good idea to start small and work your way up as you become better conditioned.
Let’s take our example from above…
For you, I’d recommend this sprint program, done 2x per week in addition to your regular strength training sessions:
Week 1-2: 15 second sprint/60 second rest x 4-6 rounds
Week 3-4: 15 second sprint/45 second rest x 6-8 rounds
Week 5-6: 20 second sprint/30 second rest x 8-12 rounds
Week 7-8: 20 second sprint/25 second rest x 10-14 rounds
Week 9-10: 20 second sprint/20 second rest x 12-15 rounds
Week 11-12: 30 second sprint/30 second rest x 12-15 rounds
After that you’ll be ready to start playing with some negative rest intervals (i.e. 30 seconds sprint/15 second rest) and that’s where it gets fun 🙂
The key with high intensity interval training is that you need to be working at a very high intensity during your sprint times, but allowing enough rest time to let your heart rate come back down to about 50-60% max.
PRO TIP: Wear a heart rate monitor to really fine tune your rest times. Do your sprint interval and then rest until your heart rate comes back down to 50-60%, however long that takes.
As you become more conditioned, your heart rate comes down faster so you can take less rest time between your rounds.
This keeps you in your ANAEROBIC energy system for the most part, and that’s where the magic happens when it comes to fat loss
One more thing to keep in mind…
This doesn’t have to be running sprints.
You can do this same type of workout on a bike (preferably an actual bike or a spin bike at the gym), a rower, bodyweight exercises like burpees or bodyweight squats, or if you’re lucky enough to go to a gym that has battle ropes you can use those.
Whatever you do, make sure you keep the intensity HIGH during your sprint times. If it feels easy, you’re not working hard enough.
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