Welcome to “Ask a Trainer,” our new column where we pick the brains of experienced trainers from the world’s best studios to help you get faster, better, stronger, and healthier. Our team of experts will weigh in on your burning fitness questions, from running and weightlifting to injuries and rest days. Don’t be shy—if your latest workout left you wondering about anything, send an email to [email protected] and we’ll try to find a trainer who can help.
Our debut question addresses one of the most common types of exercise: cardio. Fitness newbies channel their energy and beach-bod motivations into hours on the treadmill. But after a few weeks, they feel disappointed and frustrated that those stubborn pounds haven’t budged an inch. What gives? According to Matty Maggiacomo, a trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp, running might not be the best cardio to tip the scale in the right direction.
So what’s the best cardio exercise to burn fat?
“High-intensity interval training (HIIT) still remains my top choice for the best way to burn fat,” says Maggiacomo. This type of interval training involves giving maximum effort in short, intense bursts of movement (such as jumping jacks or high knees), followed by active rest periods (such as a light jog). It keeps your heart rate high, helping you torch calories even during the recovery periods. “A HIIT cardio workout is incredibly efficient and ideal for someone who is on a tight schedule and is looking to push themselves to the limit,” says Maggiacomo. “Not only does HIIIT burn fat, it also boosts your recovery cycle and pushes your metabolism into overdrive.”
A workout that kicks up your metabolism? We’re in. But how long will a HIIT workout take? “Times can vary depending on the person, but the idea behind HIIT is that the intense bursts of exertion coupled with periods of active recovery mean that you don’t have to spend as much time doing it,” says Maggiacomo. “At Barry’s Bootcamp, you experience a complete HIIT workout in one hour, but if you have less time, a 15-minute HIIT running sequence is far more effective than a 30-minute jog.”
Barry’s Bootcamp has made a name for itself as the go-to gym for a hardcore HIIT session. But in case you can’t hit up a Barry’s near you, Maggiacomo has created a five-minute HIIT bodyweight sequence you can do right at home—no equipment necessary.
5-Minute HIIT Workout From Barry’s Bootcamp Trainer Matty Maggiacomo
Jumping jacks: 30 seconds
High knees: 30 seconds
Elbow plank: 1 minute
Interval push-ups: Alternate 10 seconds on, 10 seconds off, for a total of one minute
Side plank on elbow: 30 seconds on each side
Mountain climbers: 30 seconds
Burpees: 30 seconds
According to Barry’s Bootcamp, this type of workout could burn up to 1,000 calories an hour. While individual results may vary, HIIT workouts promise a killer sweat session, so you can indulge in an extra scoop of ice cream sans guilt.
Is HIIT for you? Find out here!