If you're trying to get in shape but haven't been burning that many calories per workout (according to your machine's calorie counter) it may seem a bit impossible to burn 500 calories in 45 minutes or less. But it's not too good to be true -- there are actually several exercises that can potentially burn 500 calories in this period of time -- high intensity interval training (HIIT) exercises in particular.
The actual amount of calories that you will burn during any workout depends on many factors including your weight, your ability to sustain a high level of intensity throughout the workout and other factors, but there are some exercises that are scientifically proven to burn calories more efficiently than others.
When you're trying to get the most out of your exercise efforts in the least amount of time, you should try one of these workouts and see if they help you burn fat faster than ever before.
Research shows that high intensity interval training works the best
The key to burning at least 500 calories in 45 minutes when you work out is to have some form of interval training so that you can benefit from the HIIT method. It involves exercising at a very high intensity, essentially as high as you can tolerate, followed by a period of low intensity exercise where you get to rest a bit.
Research has shown that high intensity interval training is incredibly efficient - you simply burn more calories in a shorter period of time. It also boosts your natural production of HGH (human growth hormone) which helps you build muscle mass, improves your fat burning metabolism and much more.
And if you're trying to target fat specifically, there's nothing better than high intensity interval training.
Tabata timer workouts are a proven HIIT method
Tabata time workouts are an effective form of interval training. A tabata workout is a four minute workout that is comprised of an interval of 20 seconds followed by a 10 second rest period with no activity at all.
A study by Japan's National Institute of Fitness found that tabata workouts performed five days per week for a total of six weeks boosted the participants' aerobic capacity by 14%.
Although you will probably have to work your way up to being able to do a full tabata workout at high intensity if you haven't done it before, the Tabata method applied to almost any workout will result in huge amount of calories being burned during and even after the workout (more details on this explained below).
To burn 500 calories in a Tabata workout, try four Tabata intervals (four minutes each) and spend a few minutes warming up. You can pick almost any cardio workout for Tabata - it works with rowing, cycling, running, etc. Just remember that you need to sprint for the full 20 seconds as fast as you can followed by 10 seconds of rest.
You can repeat the Tabata workout several times each week, and since you're only spending 20 to 25 minutes max per workout no one has an excuse for not doing it.
HIIT bootcamp workouts are effective as well
The "bootcamp" style of workout has become popular which is a form of circuit training. Most of these workouts take anywhere from 45 minutes to 60 minutes and they are performed in a group setting.
They combine strength training, flexibility, and a combination of both anaerobic and aerobic exercise. Instructional videos like P90X are effective home bootcamp style workouts, and Crossfit is an example of a group bootcamp workout, but there are many other effective programs and training methods. Most programs switch up the exercises each workout so that the body doesn't become resilient.
A study found that a 40 minute bootcamp style workout video resulted in about 600 calories burned each hour, or about 500 calories every 45-50 minutes. Although bootcamp workouts seem to be a fad, they work, plain and simple. Keep in mind that some programs focus more on strength training while others focus more on cardio, so pick one that will help you accomplish your fitness goals.
"Afterburn" effect of HIIT
The "afterburn" effect of high intensity interval training is yet another reason to use high intensity interval training with your workouts. This effect causes your metabolism to spike up for hours after the workout, burning calories even if you're sitting down and doing nothing.
It's the result of your body trying to repair the exercise induced damage and the metabolic shock that it just experienced. One study found that a group of people who performed HIIT exercise burned 10% more calories in the 24 hour period after exercising than a group that followed a standard exercise plan.
Your body burns calories at a higher rate when you perform interval exercises, and there are dozens of other health benefits. If you have developed insulin resistance or if you are pre-diabetic, HIIT may effectively reverse your diabetes or at the very least it will help you normalize your blood sugar levels.
Also your body will start producing fat burning enzymes immediately after you start working out. 12 weeks of high intensity interval training can result in significant reductions in fat as well.
30/90 second HIIT cardio workout
The Tabata method as previously described can be applied to almost any cardiovascular workout. But there are several other high intensity interval training programs such as the 30 second high intensity, 90 second low intensity HIIT program. This involves also running, biking, cycling or performing whatever other cardio activity you enjoy at the highest intensity possible for 30 seconds, followed by 90 seconds of low intensity work.
The steps are simple, you warm up for 5 minutes with stretching and light cardio. Then you exercise at maximum intensity for 30 seconds and by the end of the 30 second interval you should be completely winded. Then for 90 seconds you reduce the pace of your workout and recover. You should then repeat the high intensity 30 second cycle for another 5 to 7 times.
At the beginning you might find that you can only do 2 to 3 cycles of the high intensity cycle. Don't worry, just keep trying to increase the number of intervals each workout and you'll get to the point where you can do 5 intervals without any problem.
You should try to incorporate stretching and core workouts as much as possible with whatever HIIT training method you use. You can also eventually add resistance training to your workouts, but you should always work with a trainer or coach before starting resistance training if you don't have a background.