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Save Time and Accelerate Your Fat Loss with Cardioacceleration

This high-intensity cardio strategy will maximize fat-burning during every workout.

Save Time and Accelerate Your Fat Loss with Cardioacceleration

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“Cardio dread” is real. You know what I’m talking about: You’re going through your resistance-training workout, all the while dreading the 30-45 minutes of cardio you still have to do at the end. And what happens? You either half-ass the cardio or skip it altogether… and there goes your fat loss.

I have the perfect solution to cardio dread: cardioacceleration. With this science-backed method, your fat-burning cardio is strategically integrated into your lifting sessions rather than saved till the end. And here's the best part: It doesn't add any more time to your workout, since it's simply taking the place of rest periods. When your last lifting exercise is complete, so is your cardio. Enjoy the rest of your day!

Multitask Your Lifting and Cardio for More Fat Loss

Cardioacceleration involves integrating short bursts of cardio, ranging from 30 to 90 seconds, in between weight-lifting sets. For instance, during a back workout, rather than resting after a set of lat pulldowns or pull-ups, you engage in a high-intensity cardio session for 30 to 90 seconds before continuing with the next set. This pattern is repeated throughout the workout.

By incorporating cardio between each set, the time adds up quickly. Consider a workout involving, say, chest, shoulders, and triceps, with 30 total sets across these muscle groups. Performing one minute of cardio between each set equates to 30 minutes of vigorous cardio incorporated seamlessly into your strength-training session. This efficient approach allows you to complete both cardio and strength training in one session, saving additional time and effort.

Research from the University of California-Santa Cruz, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, shows that participants who performed 30 to 60 seconds of cardio between lifting sets over a two-month span had improved recovery compared to those who took standard rest breaks. This method not only helps in quicker recovery post-workout; it also enhances inter-set recovery.

The effectiveness of cardioacceleration is remarkable, helping many individuals achieve personal bests and leaner physiques. Despite concerns that it might weaken strength during lifting exercises, adaptation to the routine typically results in enhanced strength and recovery.

An additional benefit of cardioacceleration is its flexibility in terms of equipment. You can perform the cardio intervals using rudimentary bodyweight exercises at your training station, such as bench step-ups during a bench press session, dumbbell cleans between sets of dumbbell triceps extensions, or jumping jacks with squats or lunges. This convenience ensures you maintain your spot in a busy gym, maximizing both time and space efficiency.

Why HIIT is the Best Fat-Burning Cardio

Cardioacceleration is a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and research has consistently demonstrated the superiority of HIIT over traditional, moderate-intensity cardio for fat burning. A notable Australian study revealed that participants who engaged in a 20-minute HIIT regimen lost approximately six times more body fat than those who performed 40 minutes of steady cardio at about 60% of their maximum heart rate. HIIT's effectiveness in reducing body fat primarily stems from its ability to maintain an elevated post-workout calorie burn (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC).

A study from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston found that individuals who performed a HIIT session on a stationary bike burned significantly more calories in the 24 hours post-workout compared to those who biked at a moderate, consistent pace.

Intermittent HIIT for Higher Intensity

The nature of cardioacceleration — where cardio intervals are interspersed between exercises targeting different body parts — enables more vigorous effort in each interval than would be possible in a single, continuous cardio session. One study conducted at the University of Missouri, Columbia, highlighted that subjects found intermittent exercise easier and even burned slightly more body fat compared to a continuous workout of similar duration.

Further research supports that intermittent cardio raises EPOC more than continuous exercise of the same length. Findings from the University of Kansas showed that two 15-minute sessions increased EPOC by 40% more than a single 30-minute session, and research from Northeastern Illinois University found that two 25-minute sessions raised EPOC by 120% more than a 50-minute session.

Cardioacceleration can be performed with any number of exercises, including typical cardio activities, calisthenics, or even light-weight full-body lifting exercises. These exercises and more are all fair game for cardioacceleration:

  • Run in Place
  • Jump Rope
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Jump Squat (body weight)
  • Dumbbell Clean
  • One-Arm Kettlebell Snatch
  • One-Arm Kettlebell Clean and Jerk
  • Kettlebell Swing
  • Medicine Ball Overhead Throw
  • Medicine Ball Underhand Throw
  • Medicine Ball Slam
  • Burpees
  • Bench Step-Ups

Work cardioacceleration into your workout immediately by simply substituting a cardio activity for your normal rest periods. Start easy by doing 30 seconds of cardio followed by 30 seconds of full rest between sets. Over time, work up to 45 seconds of cardio and 15 seconds of rest, and eventually progress to the point where the entire 60 seconds between sets is cardio.

Pick whatever cardio activities you want — the more variety, the better. Cardioacceleration is perfect for those who train at home, since most cardio activities require no equipment or very inexpensive tools like a jump rope.

Once you adopt the cardioacceleration strategy, you'll never dread cardio again!



Corder, K. P., et al.  Effects of active and passive recovery conditions on blood lactate, rating of perceived exertion, and performance during resistance exercise. J Strength Cond Res 14: 151-156, 2000.

Davis, W. J., et al. Elimination of delayed-onset muscle soreness by pre-resistance cardioacceleration before each set. J Strength Cond Res. 2008 Jan;22(1):212-25.

Gupta, S., et al. Comparative study of lactate removal in short time term massage of extremities, active recovery and a passive recovery period after supramaximal exercises sessions. Int J Sports Med 17: 106-110, 1996.

Lopes, F. A. S., et al. The effect of active recovery on power performance during the bench press exercise. Journal of Human Kinetics 40:161-169, 2014.

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