A great personal trainer can be invaluable: Plenty of us wouldn't get to the gym without a guy there rooting for us, and we often depend on trainers to demonstrate good exercise form. The reality for most men, though, is that they can't justify the expense or commit to showing up at a certain time and place several times a week. But that doesn't mean you can't get the same kind of workout: It's easier than you might think to build your own professional training program. Although the lifting and running that a trainer puts you through may seem like a mysterious science, it's not. In fact, most trainers stick to simple formulas to help you build strength and endurance. We tapped some of the best trainers in the country and researched the best fitness books you should have on your shelf to uncover the secrets to getting a proper workout – all by yourself.
Don't run, sprint.
Numerous studies have shown that short, ferociously intense interval work leads to greater fat loss than long, slow cardio; they've also shown that it builds endurance equally well, and without destroying strength gains, which is a known side effect of longer low-intensity aerobic exercise. The all-time classic is the Tabata interval: eight rounds of 20 seconds of all-out work broken by 10-second rest intervals. Ideally, trainers like their clients to do two full Tabata cycles in a single workout, twice a week, in addition to strength training. This can be done on a bike, on a rowing machine, or by running sprints – but getting the maximum benefit out of interval training requires going full speed.
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