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1 Going crazy with cardio

There’s no question that getting sufficient cardio is key to looking great and burning fat, but it’s important to be mindful of how you perform cardio in terms of type and duration. Grinding on the treadmill for 30 minutes is going to have limited effectiveness in the long term. Yes, it burns calories during the session, but the aftereffect is quite minimal, and it can get stale fast.

“It’s important to mix it up in the gym and make sure you have a well-rounded fitness regimen,” says Hilgenberg, who often sees women doing too much steady-state cardio, spending hours on the StepMill to no avail. “Being a cardio-machine bunny can jeopardize your muscle gains and burn you out.”

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Instead, Hilgenberg recommends a healthy mix of 1-3 steady-state sessions per week alongside two high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions. Not only is HIIT more efficient, allowing you to get in a heart-racing, sweat-pouring training session in a mere 15 minutes, but it also burns more calories post-workout and lessens the chance of tapping into your hard-earned muscle along with fat.

Just make sure to wind down after your intense cardio sessions by walking and stretching. Hilgenberg suggests you attend a yoga class to help your muscles relax and your body unwind. Remember, recovery is a two-way street. “Taking care of your body will allow it to work hard for you which, in turn, will help keep you motivated,” she says.

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