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The Secret To Running Your Way To A Toned Body, Trainer Says

Get ready to burn more calories with this tip.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

In order to work your way to a toned body, you first have to nail down the basics: eating a diet high in protein while at a calorie deficit, strength training regularly, and also getting in cardio sessions. Besides lifting weights, building muscle, and burning fat, you can also incorporate running into your routine. The problem is, many people default to jogging when trying to lose weight, and that isn't the best way to get a toned body.

Unless you're training for an endurance event such as a 5k, half marathon, or full marathon, you don't need to be putting in a ton of miles in order to get fit and toned. Instead, the secret to running to get leaner is to incorporate some interval work, or HIIT. Interval work is more efficient than steady-state, lower-intensity cardio sessions because it burns more calories and improves your anaerobic performance in a shorter amount of time.

However, because it's a quicker workout, it's a lot harder, so you don't want to do it more than 2 to 3 times per week—especially if you're a beginner. This is very important!

So, without further ado, below are a few intervals workouts you can add to your training program. But before you start running, be sure to perform a proper warmup, and stretch it out. Read on to learn more, and next, check out The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.

Treadmill Sprints

steady-state incline run
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Start by standing with your legs safely outside of the belt and setting your treadmill on a 10% incline and the speed a little higher than your typical jog pace. Once the incline and speed are set, hop on, and sprint hard for 30 seconds.

Once you've sprinted for 30 seconds, grab the handles on each side, and carefully jump back onto the stable non-moving part of the treadmill. Rest for 30 seconds, and then repeat this workout for 10 rounds.

Related: "Retro Running" Will Be Your New Favorite Way To Run

Stair/Hill Runs

running up stairs outdoors
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Find an area in your neighborhood or city where there's a hill or high set of stairs that you can run up and down. Run your way up to the top, then go back down. Rest for 1 to 1 ½ minutes (if needed) before performing another set. Depending on the length of the hill and stairs, aim for 6 to 8 rounds. It should take you between 15 to 20 minutes.

400m Run

man running on outdoor track

If you have access to a track, this is a very challenging interval run. (Four hundred meters is equivalent to one lap around the track.)

Go ahead and start running at a fast pace around the track. Then, once you've finished, rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Aim for 2 to 4 rounds total once a week.

Related: Doing This One Thing While Running Burns Double The Calories, Trainer Says

Sprint Repeats

woman in workout attire running on cement

If you're a little more anaerobically conditioned and used to doing interval training, you can add in some short distance sprints. Here are a two examples:

  • Sprint for 40 to 50 meters, rest as long as needed, then repeat for 6 to 8 rounds.
  • Sprint for 100 meters, rest as long as needed, then repeat for 4 to 5 rounds.

Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.
Tim Liu, CSCS, is an online fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles Read more about Tim
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