Forget your steady jogs and gentle walks for losing fat! Interval training is the way to go, because it is far more effective at burning fat, calories and increasing fitness than traditional cardio. Interval training involves alternating short bursts of high intensity work with longer, steady periods of exercise. Unfortunately, you can't spot reduce fat from your stomach area, but you can speed up fat loss all over your body with interval training. Use a resistance band to give your interval workout a new twist.
Standard Interval Training
As with everything in the fitness world, there's no single best way to do things when it comes to resistance band intervals. A traditional interval training workout would consist of 20 to 30 seconds of all out effort, followed by two to four minutes of light work. So you could do as many reps on a band exercise as possible in 20 to 30 seconds, and then go for a light jog or power walk for two to four minutes. When choosing your band exercises, go for ones that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, as doing this burns more calories. These include squats, banded push-ups, rows, face pulls and band rotations.
A Tabata workout only lasts four minutes, but it's seriously tough. You perform an exercise for 20 seconds as hard as you can, rest for 10 seconds and repeat this sequence for a total of eight times. You can perform any exercise in the Tabata style -- it's guaranteed to be the hardest four minutes you've ever spent in the gym. You can perform all rounds using the same band exercise or alternate between two different ones.
To really give your fat loss workouts a kick, introduce metabolic circuits into your routine. Pick five or six exercises and perform each for 30 seconds, with no rest in between them. Once you've completed every exercise, rest for one to two minutes and repeat three more times, advises trainer Jen Comas Keck of Red Point Fitness. An effective metabolic circuit using bands could include banded push-ups, half-kneeling band rows, band core twists on either side, and band slams, where you secure the band on a pull-up bar, hold the ends and do a slamming motion with it.
You can make resistance band intervals your only form of training, or add them into your current routine. If you choose the latter, then perform one band interval session at the end of each workout. There's no need to stick solely to bands -- you can also use body weight exercises and other pieces of equipment such as dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells. Aim to progress your intervals by increasing your work time, reducing your rest time or using heavier bands.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.