Our Drop 10 cardio plan will turn you into a calorie-torching machine. Find your weekly fat-melting schedule below. You can do the routines with any form of cardio you enjoy. Some days, you’ll HIIT it—as in, high intensity interval training; other days, you’ll dial it down. Begin each session with a five-minute warm-up, and end with a cooldown. (Like what you see? Sign up here for the full, free plan.) Fat, you’re on burn notice.
Why it works HIIT, which alternates all-out cardio bursts with active recovery, releases high levels of hormones that target pudge, especially body fat. Proof: Women who did 20 minutes of HIIT three times per week (8-second sprints, followed by 12 seconds of recovery) lost 5.5 pounds over 15 weeks; those who sweated for twice as long at a steady pace put on 1 pound, a study in the International Journal of Obesity finds. What’s more, the HIITers lost 9.5 percent of their tummy fat, whereas the cruisers gained 10.5 percent. Take that, jelly roll!
What to do Below are five weeks’ worth of effective workouts, all mapped out for you by your Drop 10 trainers, Katrina Hodgson and Karena Dawn, the California girls dubbed “the new faces of fitness” by Jane Fonda. You choose which days to HIIT it hard; for every two intense workouts, you’re rewarded with a take-it-easy day—not to mention a hotter-by-the-day bod.
1. Calorie Sizzler Sprint for 8 seconds. On a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is the effort it takes to run water and 10 is the effort it takes to run a race, aim for 8. Recover for 12 seconds at level 5. Repeat for 15 minutes. That’s one workout down.
2. Inches Eraser Take care of business with this 27-minute quickie. Sprint your patootie off at level 8 for 90 seconds. Then back off for 3 minutes at level 4 while you contemplate your awesomeness. Repeat 6 times total before cooling down. Oh, yeah!
3. Downsizing Duet Around a track, on the elliptical, in the mall, wherever the heck you happen to be, move 2 miles at level 6. (One calorie-crushing caveat: If you’re on a bike, which makes it less difficult to cover serious territory, triple the distance.)
1. Belly Slimmer Bust a move at level 10 for 8 seconds. Sure, it’s tough, but you know you can do anything for a mere 8 seconds! Then rest up for 12 seconds at easy-peasy level 4 to catch your breath. Repeat the intervals for 20 minutes.
2. Sexy Sixer Your mission while you sweat for the next 24 minutes: Picture how foxy you’ll look in a two-piece. Got the image? Chase it! Sprint for 60 seconds (level 9); slow down (level 4) for 3 minutes. Repeat 6 times total. Thank us later.
3. Double Play Last week, you knocked out a 2-miler. This week, add a half-mile victory lap to your workout by stretching it to 2.5 miles. Stay at level 6 the entire time to help train your body to burn glucose for energy, rather than store it as fat.
1. Middle Whittler You know those rock-your-socks-off intervals you did in Workout 1 of Week 2? Do ’em again, but add resistance (hit hills, carry small weights, up the incline), so your 8-second sprints are at level 10 and 12-second recoveries are at level 6.
2. Engine Revver On tap today: your longest sprints yet, but you don’t have to push your limits. Do 2 minutes at level 7; recover for 2 minutes at nice-and-easy level 4. Repeat 6 times total. You’ll be done in less time than it takes to watch an episode of 30 Rock.
3. High-Fiver Do a one-woman 5K (3.1 miles). Power-walk, jog, skip, Rollerblade, crawl, waltz, whatever. Even though there won’t be a crowd cheering you across the imaginary finish line, raise both hands over your head and feel victorious.
1. Pound Pounder Do intervals for 20 minutes: 8 seconds at all-out level 10; 12 seconds at moderate level 6. Side-shuffle, pedal backward or stand up in the saddle to mix up your catch-your-breath stretches. Peace out, pudge!
2. Plateau Buster Do intervals for 40 minutes: 3 minutes at level 7; 2 minutes at level 4. Repeat 8 times total. Kick those intervals’ butt, then tweet @SELFmagazine with the #Drop10Diet hashtag so we can digitally fist-bump you.
3. Slow Simmer Cover 5 miles your way today. That’s it. This will be a walk in the park compared with your last interval workout. No, really, it could literally be a walk in the park. Your only mandate: Put the fun in fitness.
1. Fat Fryer Do intervals for 10 minutes: 8 seconds at moderate level 7; 12 seconds at no-sweat level 4. Then up your sprint to level 10 and your recovery to level 6 for 10 sweaty minutes. Push your limits and you’ll have none.
2. Flab Fighter This is your last HIIT workout before you take your final measurements, so make it count. Sprint for 2 minutes at level 8; recover for 2 minutes at level 5. Repeat 10 times total. Now show that tape measure who’s boss.
3. Perfect 10 Do a 10K. (That’s 6.2 miles.) Done your workouts to date? You’re so ready. Keep a steady pace, and as you finish, think about how far you’ve come. Tweet us a picture of your sexy new bod @SELFmagazine #Drop10Diet.
Getting fit is more fun with friends. Visit Facebook.com to start your own Drop 10 group with our cool new tool.
Sign up for the Drop 10 Diet and you could lose 5, 10, 20 pounds or more!