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Less is More: Short Metabolic Blasts for Fat Loss and Conditioning

Monotonous work days compromise the lives of many of us and monotonous workout routines and cardio sessions often add more stress to our days than they release. For many, the idea of working eight hours and then spending copious amounts of time walking in place on a treadmill to compensate for sedentary office work does not sound very appealing.

The solution to evading these boring workouts, saving time, and still staying in great shape? Metabolic-blast conditioning. These blast workouts are short in duration. While typical aerobic workouts are forty-five minutes to one hour in duration, these blast workouts only need to be, and only should be, performed for twenty to thirty minutes at a time.

While it is true that doing an activity at moderate intensity for a long duration will burn more calories than an activity of shorter duration, doing explosive, maximum effort activities for a relatively short amount of time will have a greater impact on your metabolism. The intensity of these workouts raises your heart rate much higher than lighter aerobic activities and as a result, causes a greater amount of calories and fat to be burned throughout the day—long after the workout has been completed.

These workouts are also great for an individual looking to gain lean muscle. While long aerobic sessions can be counterproductive to weight gain, it is still important to incorporate conditioning into a mass-gaining routine in order to maintain cardiovascular health and minimize the accumulation of fat while building muscle. By incorporating one or two of these short, intense workouts into a weekly routine, an individual looking to get bigger can stay in condition while still putting on size. Another advantage is that the explosive nature of the workouts mimics the intensity of heavy, max effort lifting and develops fast-twitch receptors throughout the body.

The Formula

The basis of these metabolic blasts is forty-five seconds of light to moderate activity followed by fifteen seconds of all-out intensity. This formula raises your heart rate extremely high during the maximal effort fifteen seconds, but during the following forty-five seconds allows your body the active recovery it needs to safely recuperate and make the effort again.

By repeating this process, your heart and metabolism are pushed to the limit, resulting in maximal fat loss and anaerobic conditioning, but your body is taxed significantly less than it would be during a long duration workout at a moderate intensity level due to the forty-five second recovery portion of each minute and the shorter duration of the workout as a whole.

There are several ways to formulate a workout with forty-five seconds of light to moderate activity followed by fifteen seconds of intensity. Here are a few.


This first variation of the workout requires absolutely no equipment and leaves a variety of options at your disposal.

For forty-five seconds do a light activity such as jogging in place, lightly shadowboxing, doing jumping jacks, or pacing back and forth. Follow these forty five seconds of light activity with an all-out burst of intensity for fifteen seconds. These fifteen seconds can consist of bodyweight jump squats, very fast paced push-ups, burpees, an all-out effort of shadow boxing combinations, sprinting in place, or any activity that will push you to your maximum output for the fifteen second duration. Repeat for desired time.

Jumping Rope

Almost as convenient as the calisthenics, the only thing required for this workout is a jump rope. For forty-five seconds jump at a light pace, for fifteen go as fast as possible. Repeat for desired time.

For a more challenging variation, jump rope for forty-five seconds at a moderate pace then discard the rope and go into explosive calisthenics such as an all-out effort of shadowboxing, jump squats, etc. The explosive duration of the minute can be switched each time. For example, you could do the jump squats one minute and the shadowboxing burst the next and the following minute do an all-out effort of push-ups, and so on. This is good for pushing yourself in different capacities and utilizing a full range of muscles throughout your entire body.

Treadmill Sprints

Yeah, I know I dissed the treadmill earlier, but this workout takes a lot less time than walking on the thing for an eternity, and its demanding nature makes it much less monotonous, far more challenging, and most importantly, very beneficial to conditioning and fat loss.

Set a treadmill at its maximum speed, which is typically 12-13 mph, or at a SAFE pace that will sufficiently push you to an all-out max effort. Jog in place next to the active treadmill for forty five-seconds then jump onto the moving tread and sprint at an all-out effort for fifteen seconds. Repeat for desired time.

Making Metabolic Workouts Work for You.

Being pressed for time is often an excuse for not exercising, but it is also a reality for many people. By doing these metabolic workouts a few times a week, you will be able to utilize your time for things that are professionally necessary and personally enjoyable, and still be able to maintain great health.

If you routinely wake up for the day at six a.m. in order to make it to work by seven, get in the habit of waking up at 5:30 and doing twenty minutes of max-effort calisthenics, jump rope, or if possible, treadmill sprints. You will have your cardiovascular conditioning done for the day before you would have even been awake, and by starting your morning with physical activity your metabolism will be peaked throughout the rest of the day. Sure, you are losing half an hour of sleep, but you will likely find that working out first thing in the morning will leave you feeling more energized and productive for the rest of your day despite losing this small amount of sleep.

If exercising first thing in the morning is simply not possible, that’s fine. Make a habit of doing one of these workouts first thing when you get home for the day. It can be tough to find the motivation to workout after a strenuous day in the office, but you will be happy that you did, and you will likely be able to blow off some stress in the process—putting you in a relaxed mindset to enjoy your evening.

If you have the time to weight train regularly, participate in sports, or take a daily fitness class, doing ten to twenty-five minutes of all-out effort cardio is a great way to cap off your workout.

However exercise plays into your schedule, doing maximal effort blasts is a great way to save time and make excellent gains in conditioning and fat loss.

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