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Do two or three of the routines below each week, leaving a day of rest between each run.
Take a break
Research in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that of guys doing 60 minutes of cardio training, those who took a 20-minute break at the halfway mark burnt more fat than guys who exercised for the full hour without a break. It’s thought the first session mobilises the fat into your blood stream and the second session burns it off. It’s like a devastating two-punch combo to an expanding waistline
Run for 30 minutes at a leisurely pace, stretch your upper body for 20 minutes, then run for another 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can run one 30-minute session in the morning before work and another session after work… just don’t wear the same kit or you’ll clear the gym with your body odour.
For some people, running for long periods can be about as stimulating as standing in a Home Affairs queue. If this is you, then you’ll be pleased to hear that a study at Laval University in Quebec, Canada, found people doing cardiovascular exercise for 45 minutes burnt less fat than those who did interval training for 25 minutes. If 45 minutes on the trot is too dull for you, follow the study’s 25-minute programme below to cash in on fat-zapping benefits.
Warm up with a slow 3-minute run to get your muscles ready for action. Run as fast as you can manage for 30 seconds, then rest for 60 seconds. Repeat this 8 times. Then run as fast as you can for 60 seconds and rest for 60 seconds. Repeat this 5 times.
Time is running out
Slow-and-steady can win the race against fat. A study published in The Canadian Journal of Sport Sciences found that when subjects increased the amount of time they ran from 30 to 45 minutes, the rate at which they burnt kilojoules after the run doubled. When they ran for an hour they burnt 5 times more kilojoules after their run than after a 30-minute run: not a bad return on your fat burning investment.
If you can’t manage to run for 45 minutes then work your way up to it by adding 5 minutes each week to what you can currently manage. You can also alternate between running and walking in 10 minutes intervals to clock off your time. The more time you rack, the better.
Pick up the pace
This strategy will help you to oxidise more fat and prepare your muscles and lungs for sports by increasing your pace to a level that’s just below your lactate threshold (find yours below). A paper in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine found that unfit guys who ran at just below their lactate threshold burnt twice as much fat as trained athletes. To find your threshold, run at a slow pace and increase your speed every 2 minutes. Stop when your effort is 7 out of 10, or when you feel a burn in your muscles and conversation is no longer possible. This speed is your lactate threshold. Run just below this pace.
Run 3 sets of 15 minutes at this pace with 2 minutes rest.
You can force yourself to torch more fat by continuing to burn kilojoules after you’ve finished running. A study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found people who did high-intensity exercise in the form of long intervals burnt more kilojoules when they were resting than people who trained at a lower intensity. That means couch time, but with benefits.
Run 6 sets of 400 metres at a pace that’s 8 out of 10 in effort. Jog slowly for 2 minutes to recover. Run 8 sets of 200 metres at a pace that’s 8 out of 10 in effort. Jog slowly for 2 minutes to recover. Run 2 sets of 800 metres at a pace that’s 8 out of 10 in effort. Jog slowly for 4 minutes to recover.