By BJ Gaddour
As the Men’s Health Fitness Director, I get a lot of questions from people about the best type of cardio to burn stubborn fat. You ask; you get. This is one of the best advanced cardio routines for those looking to burn off the last five to 10 pounds of stubborn fat. Use it two to three times per week, max.
How it works:
1. 5 to 10 minute warmup
2. 15-45 intervals for 5 to 10 rounds then rest 5 minutes
3. 20 to 30 minutes of steady state aerobic cardio
4. 30-30 intervals for 5 to 10 rounds
Here’s an example of a recent session I did last week:
For step 1, I did barefoot walking lunges. But you can do anything you’d like including 5 to 10 minutes at an easy pace on your cardio machine of choice.
For step 2, a 15-45 interval means 15 second on, 45 seconds off. Each interval takes a minute to perform so 5 to 10 rounds would take 5 to 10 minutes. I did resisted incline sprints on the S-drive performance trainer from Matrix Fitness. I like these because they are low-impact and easy to recover from. You could modify with a spin bike, battle ropes, a fan bike like the Assault AirBike, or even split jumps or a high knee run in place.
For step 3, I ran on a regular Matrix Fitness treadmill at an easy 6.0-mph pace for 25 minutes.
For step 4, a 30-30 interval means 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off. Each interval takes a minute to perform so five to 10 rounds would take five to 10 minutes. I did sled pushes on the same S-drive performance but you could modify with the same options mentioned previously or regular sled pushes, bear crawls, or even kettlebell swings.
For those of you research geeks, this an adapted version of the old school Lyle McDonald Stubborn Fat Protocol 2.0. Here’s the theory behind it…
You start with shorter, high-intensity intervals to get a catecholamine (adrenaline/noradrenaline) response that mobilizes fat in stubborn areas like your hips, thighs, and abdomen. After a five-minute break, you then perform some classic steady-state cardio to burn up that fat that’s been released into your bloodstream. Then you finish with some longer high-intensity intervals to deplete muscle glycogen (stored sugar) and maximize the post-workout metabolic afterburn.
Whether you subscribe to any of this or not, the fact remains that this is a great cardio workout to burn fat and train each of your energy systems. Give it a shot using whatever cardio equipment you have access to. And start on the lower end of the time frames in the beginning to see how you adapt and to avoid overtraining.