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I just bought a $2.99 Kindle book called Burst Workouts which recommends very short workouts at high intensities. His main program recommends timed interval training using bodyweight exercises of 30 seconds of an exercise, then 30 seconds of rest, then another 30 seconds of exercise, then another 30 seconds of rest, and so on. You choose a push exercise, a push exercise, and leg or "heart rate" exercise, and you circuit through them in the above fashion. You go through the circuit five times, so that the workout should only take between 10 and 15 minutes.

The book seems to focus on weight loss, which is keen to my goals. I know I need to reduce the calories I consume, and he addresses that. But as for exercises, he prefers these burst workouts over cardio. As a new dad without a lot of time on his hands, are these short workouts an effective program for weight loss? I'm asking because after looking at his website I'm worried that I've only stumbled onto another fad.

Let me know if you need to know any more of the details of the program or about what I'm asking.

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The second link goes out to a blog site. It's probably intended to link to a specific article instead of just the latest one. Anybody able to identify the correct article? –  Jens Schauder Sep 20 '13 at 5:21
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2 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

What the author refers to as Burst Workouts most other people will call HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training. The reason this is highly effective, compared to say slow-poking it on an elliptical for 60 minutes, is that it generates an "afterburn" effect that lasts up to 24h after your workout. Multiple studies shows this and a quick search on Google Scholar will reveal this but as an example I will point to this one: High-intensity interval training for health and fitness: can less be more?

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"Burst" workouts, or high intensity interval training, can't be better than cardio. They are cardio! They're just stop-and-go or do-this-do-that-rest-do-this-again or do-this-now-faster-now-slow-down-now-faster-again cardio instead of "steady state" do-this-one-thing-at-a-constant-speed cardio.

Interval cardio is definitely efficient for improving athleticism and getting work done. Paired, as any exercise modality must be, with proper diet, it is an effective method for weight loss through exercise.

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