While many people believe that going for long, steady tempo runs is a good way to lose fat and get ripped, this type of cardiovascular exercise is not the best choice for fat loss, as it only gives results for a short period of time and can burn muscle, according to strength coach Charles Poliquin. If you want to get ripped by running, try interval running instead.
Begin your session with a thorough warm up, doing some fast walking, light jogging and dynamic stretching exercises. This is important as it helps to prepare the muscles for exercise by increasing their mobility which will reduce your risk of injury, and increase your performance levels. Your warm up should last about 10 to 15 minutes.
Set your stopwatch to zero, and get into a sprinting start position. Start your watch, and begin running. Run at about 80 percent of your maximum speed for 20 seconds. When the 20 seconds is up, ease up on your speed gradually, until you are moving at a brisk walking pace. Continue at this speed for 40 seconds, then go for another 20-second sprint.
Perform 10 rounds of sprints in your first session with a 40-second walk between each one. Focus on maintaining an efficient running style throughout, and aim to travel roughly the same distance in each interval. Make sure that your walking speeds in between sprints stays reasonably brisk. Finish your session with a cool down, comprising some steady walking and static stretching.
Perform three of these interval workouts every week, preferably with at least one day of rest between each one. As you get fitter, add in an extra sprint each week. Once you get up to 20 sprints, start increasing each sprint time by five seconds. A 2007 New York Times article reported that the benefits of interval training include an increase in fitness, fat loss, muscle fiber recruitment and a workout burns as many calories as a steady state workout but in much less time.
Vary your sprint to walk interval to spice up your workouts. For instance, sprint for 30 seconds, then walk for 90 seconds. You'll be able to sprint faster and more powerfully with a longer walk period, enhancing the fat-burning effect.
Start you sprint training gradually, with five rounds to reduce your risk of muscle and joint injuries. Add two rounds per week until you reach 10 to12 rounds.