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High-Intensity Workouts to Burn Calories

Don't plan on reading a magazine while you do these workouts. You're entering a no-slacking zone.
By Annabelle Robertson
WebMD Feature

Looking to blast calories? Get ready -- it's going to be a very sweaty session.

"It’s got to be high intensity, whatever the workout is, if you’re going to torch calories -- not just burn them,” says Bret Emery, a nutritional consultant and fitness coach at Emery Fit in Alpharetta, GA. “Heart rate is key. That’s the speedometer of the body. If we speed the body up, it will burn more calories, just as a car will burn more fuel if it speeds up.”

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Also, you need to mix up your workouts so they stay challenging. That will help keep your heart rate up and force your body to burn more calories, Emery says.

The following workouts will zap calories, but they’ll also push your body way past your comfort zone. So check with your doctor before taking on the challenge. Don't just tell your doctor you want to work out -- let him or her know exactly what you're planning to do. That way, your doctor can make sure you're ready.

Interval Workout

Interval training is all about challenge and recovery -- over and over -- for a cardio blast.

This particular workout -- which comes from Michael Banks, personal trainer and owner of Body by Banks in Salt Lake City -- uses a treadmill. You can add dumbbells for an extra challenge.

1. Warm Up: On the treadmill, with the incline set at a challenging angle, power walk at a speed of 3-3.5 for 7 minutes. Keep your elbows up above your heart. Stop, get off the treadmill, and stretch.

2. Sprint: Drop the incline to 0, increase the treadmill speed, and sprint hard for 30 seconds. Aim for 90% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, bring your speed down to 3 and walk for one minute.

3. Squats: Get off the treadmill and squat, with your bottom out to the rear and your legs slightly apart. Then jump from the squatting position into the air, landing in the same squat position as before. Do this for one set of 15 or 20, working your quadriceps. If you’re already in good shape, hold dumbbells by your sides.

4. Overhead Presses: Do 15 or 20 overhead presses with the weights, pushing them straight up and directly over your shoulders.  

5. Sprint: Get back on the treadmill and sprint for 30 seconds (no incline). The goal is to be at 80% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, decrease your speed to 3.0 and walk for one minute.

6. Tricep Extensions: Using dumbbells, do one set of 15 or 20 overhead tricep extensions. Your elbows should point toward the ceiling, with the weights behind your head. Lift the weights directly above your head and back down again.

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