Interval training sends your calorie burn into overdrive, but why not get some additional toning and strength building during your sweat session? The StairMaster is the way to do it. The StairMaster, or the rotating stairs, offers the ability to torch calories in record time, build your endurance, and tone your legs and butt all at the same time.
The intervals will push you to the limit for short spurts, with periods of active rest, allowing your body to recover, but forcing you to work harder than you could for an extended period. Studies show that intervals burn as many calories (or more!) than a long and steady cardio workout, but don't cause the muscle breakdown that those longer workouts do. Therefore, you're burning more calories when you are at rest during the day because you have more muscle mass. Bonus! Try these workouts to get you started.
1. High Low
You will perform 2 minute intervals with this workout. Jump on the StairMaster and warm-up for 5 minutes. Then, raise the level at least 6 levels higher than your usual distance level -- your high interval should be no lower than a level 12, but is probably pretty quick at a 16. This should be a pace that you can maintain for 2 minutes. Drop to your low, recovery interval at your usual distance level, or about 4-6 levels lower than your high intensity. Repeat for at least 10 high intervals, then cool down at a slow pace.
2. Build Up
This intense interval structure will get your body ready to move your levels up, and will likely help you raise your resting pace much quicker. Complete the High Low intervals, but add in an extra intense burst for the last 30 seconds of the high. Raise the level again for the last 30 seconds. These last 30 seconds should be a pretty intense sprint. Hold lightly to the rails to keep from falling!
3. High Intensity Interval Sprints
High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is ultra-intense during the high interval and low for full recovery in the low interval. Get ready to ignore the clock on this one! After your warm-up, crank up the intensity so you are at an extremely quick pace. Hold on lightly to the rails, and climb as long as you can. Your legs should burn for a while before you drop it down. When you do, drop the low intensity so you can fully recover -- while still burning calories -- while not leaning on the rails. After your recovery, which should be about 1 - 1 and 1/2 minutes, complete the high intensity interval again. As you go, the high intensity bursts will likely get shorter. Complete as many high intervals as you can, then continue at a distance pace for the rest of your cardio workout. Even just a few high intervals will get you training and burning additional calories.
Any way you go, training with intervals on the StairMaster will help you increase your endurance and your calorie burn. Make them intense, and you can forgo the extra time that you may spend doing cardio. Quality over quantity is the key!