Burst Fit: Lose 20 lbs in 30 days

How would you like you lose 20 pounds in 30 days, 40 pounds in 60 days, or even 70 pounds in a mere 5 months. Using some key principles in exercise, nutrition, supplementation, and lifestyle, all of this can be accomplished by just changing your thinking and approach. Trust me, I’ve been there.

Exercising is a key way to help the body mobilize fat stores and create the lean muscle that everyone is after. Have you ever noticed how sprinters in the Olympics all have ripped muscles, no apparent body fat, and look like the ideal picture of health that lives in a weight room. Whereas, marathon runners in the same Olympics seem appear to be frail and sometimes sickly or even malnourished. Would it surprise you even more to know that most Olympic sprinters spend very little time weight training? This is all due to the principle of burst training.

The Old Way:

The consensus on exercise in the last decades has been to do long distance cardio and focus on keeping your heart rate in the so called “fat burning” zone that is about 60-70% of your maximum heart rate. This type of exercise has its benefits as it increases cardiovascular endurance, stimulates the lymphatic system which aids in detox, increases blood flow to your brain and vital organs, and lowers blood pressure through this process. However, this type of exercise also may be making your body store fat in the exact areas that you are trying lean. Due to the long period of elapsed time exercising, this also increases the amount of stress on the body and the stress hormones it releases. Cortisol is a primary stress hormone that causes your body to store excess fat around midline and stomach areas. During this type of exercise, your body will burn a small amount of fat but afterwards, will store more fat in certain areas to have them available for the next training session. This hormone has been shown to increase during long distance cardiovascular training. Its counterpart, Testosterone and HGH, are shutdown during this process. This high amount of stress also shuts down the immune response following the exercise.

Capitalizing on New Research:

Today, many new workout program and being marketed around the country, from P90x to Insanity, most of these programs have one thing in common, High Interval Training (HIT) or Burst Training. Burst training consist of short, high intensity bursts of exercises followed by a low intensity exercise allowing the heart rate to settle. The objective is to get your heart rate at a maximum level for a short period time and then allow it to settle to normal and then repeat. This extreme spike in body demand causes your body to release stored glycogen (sugar) in the body to use as energy. This exercise also causes testosterone and HGH levels to increase in the body and decrease cortisol. Since the body is drained of its sugar stores during the exercise, it will spend the next 24-36 hours mobilizing fat stores to burn to provide the energy it needs leading to body fat and weight loss.
Since these repetitions are at maximum or 100% effort, the pace is different for each person and the reps will increase as your fitness level increases. In the beginning, running in place may only be a slow jog, but its important to go all out all the time in order to get the results you want.

How to apply:

Burst training is best when paired with an exercise routine of weight training. For instance, weight train 25 minutes, then burst train for 20 minutes, giving you a 45 minute fat blasting workout.

Burst Training

Jumping Jacks 30 s
Rest 30 s
Run in Place 30 s
Rest 30 s
Squats 30 s
Rest 30 s
Lunges 30 s
Rest 30 s
Abs 30 s
Rest 30 s
Push ups 30 s
Rest 30 s
Repeat 3 times for a total of 18 mins. 30 s

Exercises that are great to include in burst workouts:

Push ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, running in place, butt-kicks, superman’s, box jumps, wall squats, Abs (bicycles, crunches,  toe touches, etc.)

*Remember, these are high intense intervals  at 100% effort.

For a more intense level, try bursting for 45s to 1 min before taking your rest. This workout can be done as little as three times per week to start seeing results. You can burst train more days of the week, but remember, rest is also a crucial part of this process.Contact us for questions or to inquire about burst training classes offered at Exodus Health Center.

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Me and my cousin have been going to the gym together, and he was once buff, so he is built for it. When we go, we do the same workout (of course i go lighter). But we have different goals. He wants to bulk up and turn his fat into muscle. I am overweight, and would like to trim down and tone my body. Am I correct lifting weights like him? Or should I go do my own workout that involves a lot of cardio? What workouts can I be doing to trim down?

You do not need to be doing the same workouts as your cousin. By wanting to bulk up, I’m assuming that you are performing 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps. This builds muscles mass but may not be exactly what you want. I would encourage you to do more reps with a lesser weight and focus more on time than reps like more of a burst training mentality. For instance, instead of bench press, do push ups for a minute. Start normal, when you cant do any more normal, drop to your knees and continue, when you cant do anymore on your knees, start doing negatives, all until a minutes is up. You may do 20 in a minute or you may do 60, it doesn’t matter as long as you are going the entire time. Same thing with your lower body. Instead of stacking a squat bar with weights, use a light weight or even dumbells. Start by hang cleaning the weights dynamically with jumps for 30s and then immediately switch to squats with the same weight for 30s. Once again, not necessarily counting reps but noticing what weight you should be using. You can do the same thing with lunges, pullups (or lat pulls), rows, abs, triceps and biceps, etc. Basically, you can get a great workout and incorparate cardio principles without using any weights. Another thought I would encourage you to try to to mix up your cardio. Instead of running 30 minutes on an elliptical at a medium pace try this. Begin your workout with some kind of warm up (I like 10 minutes on a bike) and then stretch. Start your workout by running 1/2 mile going hard. Then go into your workout. About halfway through, take a break from the workout and go run another 1/2 mile hard. End your workout by doing the same. Now you’ve ran 1.5 miles which is about what you probably run on a treadmill anyway, but you’ve done it throughout your normal workout.

P90X has really helped me shave off some pounds. The MC type training envolved helps you melt in half the time or less than pretty much any other type.

Sorry for my delayed response!
P90X is great, love the principles that it teaches you. You can use those same principles and apply them to any work out and make it awesome! Keep up the good work, and hit me up with any questions you might have!

Dr. Ard, great blog post on burst training. Found your site looking for other people talking about this type of workout. I own a personal training studio down in Charleston, SC and have built an entire business model around this very concept. After 20 years in the industry I’ve found that nothing, and I mean nothing, works better to help people lose weight naturally and achieve optimal health. And this is coming from someone who’s done every type of workout routine under the sun. I’d encourage your readers to definitely give it a try. Love your blog by the way. Keep up the good work. – Shane

Thank you Shane! As a former professional athlete, I agree that there is no better workout than this. The results our patients see is unbelievable and allows them to take control of their fitness and health will real and simple exercises! Thank you for spreading your knowledge!