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The Best Cardio Workout for People Who Hate Cardio

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This article was written by Alex Zakrzewski and provided by our partners at Men’s Health.

Cardio haters, rejoice. The four-minute calorie-torching wonder known as the Tabata protocol lives up to the hype, according to an Auburn University study.

Participants performed eight 20-second rounds of jump squats separated by only 10 seconds of rest. Each round was done at an all-out pace with the participants working as hard as possible from start to finish. While they burned an average of 13.4 calories per minute during the workout, they also doubled their post-exercise metabolic rate for at least 30 minutes afterward. 

“You would have to do five times the amount of moderate-intensity exercise—like power walking or light jogging—to burn the same amount of calories as you did in just four minutes,” says study author Michele Olson, Ph.D. “Even more if you want to achieve the after-burn benefits, too.”

Since it requires energy to help the body recover post-workout, the higher the intensity of your sweat session, the longer your metabolism stays elevated afterward, says Olson. In this case, the participants worked up to 95 percent of their maximum capacity (read: as hard as they could go), so it took a long time for their bodies to return to normal, even though they were resting.

Want to try a Tabata-style workout for yourself? Check out the Bodyweight Cardio Burners—a high-intensity fitness DVD that will give you the workout of your life in just 20 minutes. 

 

More from Men’s Health:
Make Your Workouts Fun Again
The 2-Minute Body-Fat Detonator
You Could Be an Olympic Champion, If You Have the Right Birthday

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