How to Do Burst Training - Dr. Axe

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How to Do Burst Training


Burst training - Dr. Axe

What is burst training? Well, it can burn belly fat fast and involves exercising at 90–100 percent of your maximum effort for 30–60 seconds in order to burn your body’s stored sugar (glycogen), followed by 30–60 seconds of low impact for recovery. This causes your body to burn fat for the next 36 hours to replace your body’s vital energy (glycogen) stores.

You only need to do 4–6 sets of 30–60 second bursts 3 times a week to see marked changes and improvements. More is not always better — make sure you have days of rest.

I want to explain the No. 1 mistake people are making in the gym, today. This mistake is leading to some pretty big consequences like:

  • Causing you to age faster
  • Breaking down your joints
  • Causing your body to STORE fat, instead of burn it
  • Causing your hormones to get out of balance

The number one mistake is doing way too much cardio. Most people who want to burn fat and lose weight falsely assume that going to the gym and doing traditional aerobic exercise, like jogging on the treadmill, is the best way to see results.

But recent research is proving that long distance cardiovascular exercise is NOT the fastest way to burn fat and lose weight.


If you’ve been spending hours on the treadmill and not seeing any results, it’s because long distance cardiovascular exercise can decrease testosterone and raise your stress hormone levels like cortisol (1). Increased levels of cortisol stimulate the appetite, increase fat storage, and slow down or inhibit exercise recovery.

A study in Psychoneuroendocrinology showed evidence of long-term high cortisol levels in aerobic endurance athletes. Researchers tested levels of hair cortisol in 304 endurance athletes (runners, cyclists, and triathletes) and compared to non-athletes.  The results showed higher cortisol levels with higher training volumes. (1)

The Journal of Sports Sciences found that long periods of aerobic exercise increased oxidative stress leading to chronic inflammation. (2)

So, What’s the No. 1 Exercise to Burn Fat Fast?

If you want to see results fast without the negative benefits of cardiovascular exercise, your best option is burst training. Burst training (aka interval training) combines short, high intensity bursts of exercise, with slow, recovery phases, repeated during one exercise session. Burst training is done at 85–100% maximum heart rate rather than 50–70% in moderate endurance activity.

Similar exercise methods to burst training include High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT workouts) and the Tabata method. With burst and other types of interval training, you are getting the same cardiovascular benefits as endurance exercise but without the negative side effects. Also, burst training is the fastest way to lose weight and burn fat fast.*

Essentially, burst training is exercising like a sprinter rather than a marathon runner.

One of the major benefits of burst training is that it can be done in the comfort of your own home with no or minimal equipment. An easy example of burst training would be going to a track and walking the curves and sprinting the straight aways. Or getting on a spin bike and cycling hard for 20 seconds then going easy for 20 seconds, then repeating that cycle for between 10 to 40 minutes.

Burst (or interval) training isn’t necessarily new. Elite athletes and Olympians have known this secret to exercising and have been doing interval training for years. The research proves that anybody – not just elite athletes – can do interval training and achieve amazing results, no matter your experience or fitness level.

Research from the University of New South Wales Medical Sciences found that burst (interval) cardio could burn more than three times more body fat than moderate cardio. The researchers studied two groups and found that the group who did eight seconds of sprinting on a bike, followed by 12 seconds of exercising lightly for 20 minutes, lost THREE TIMES as much fat as other women, who exercised at a continuous, regular pace for 40 minutes. (3)

The reason burst training works is because it produces a unique metabolic response in your body. Intermittent sprinting causes your body to not burn as much fat during exercise but after exercise your metabolism stays elevated and will continue to burn fat for the next 24–48 hours!

Also, chemicals called catecholamines are produced, which allow more fat to be burned — this causes increased fat oxidation and drives greater weight loss. The women from the study lost the most weight off their legs and buttocks.

Another study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, April 2007, researched eight different women in their early 20s. They were told to cycle for 10 sets of four minutes of hard riding, followed by two minutes of rest. (4)

After two weeks, the amount of fat burned increased by 36 percent, and their cardiovascular fitness improved by 13 percent.

What Is Burst Training?

1. Strength/Resistance Training


The primary hormone response invoked by strength and resistance training is elevated levels of human growth hormone. This hormone is essential for fat mobilization. It also signals fat burning enzymes and aids in muscle mass development. HGH levels are raised most during sleep, in direct proportion to exercise intensity during your workout.

Strength training will improve your glucose tolerance and increase insulin receptor sensitivity. This will help your body become a fat burner, rather than a sugar burner. This type of exercise also creates a bigger metabolic afterburn than aerobic training, while also increasing fat-free muscle, bone density and metabolism.

2. Cardio/Aerobic Training

There are many benefits associated with cardio and aerobic training, but also many negatives. Cardio training will lower your resting heart rate, lower blood pressure, keep your brain young by increasing circulation to the brain and aids in detoxification by stimulating the lymphatic system.

But long distance cardio training decreases testosterone levels, decreases the immune system post exercise, and raises stress hormone levels (cortisol). Increased levels of cortisol stimulate the appetite, will increase fat storing and slow down or inhibit exercise recovery.

So how do we get the benefits without the negatives? Burst train to burn fat.

*Results not typical, as regular exercise and proper nutrition are essential to achieving and maintaining your desired physique. Even using the same exact program of diet and exercise, be aware that individual results will vary.

Read Next: 7 Ideas for Burst Training at Home

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