5 to 10

Looking to ditch a few pounds? Use these powerful cardio programs to strip body fat in eight weeks with specific plans for 5- or 10-pound losses.
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On this site you’ll find plenty of weight training, diet and supplement tips to help you build a better physique in 2016. But we understand that this may seem a lofty and perhaps ambiguous goal and that some of you just want to begin the new year by shedding a few pounds and inches … minus the iron. Or maybe you want to acclimate (or reacclimate) to some kind — any kind — of activity in hopes of reducing the risk of injury later. For either objective, your path starts here.

Here you’ll find the tools you need to lose 5 or 10 pounds of fat with a dedicated eight-week cardio program for each. Muscle & Performance enlisted personal trainer and former fitness competitor Laura Mak to design cardio routines that will help you meet either goal, provided your diet and supplement regimens are on point.

Program No. 1: You Want to Lose 5 Pounds

Five pounds doesn’t necessarily seem like a lot of weight, but sometimes those first (or last) 5 pounds are the hardest to lose. For the next eight weeks, do cardio four days per week with a rest day between most workouts.

Cardio Program No. 1

Days 1 and 5

30-Minute Incremental Treadmill Program

Time/Minutes

Speed

Incline

1–5

3.5

0

6–10

3.7

2.5

11–15

3.7

5.0

16–20

3.7

7.5

21–25

4.0

7.5

26–30

3.5

0

Days 3 and 7

30-Minute Steady-State Elliptical Program

Time/Minutes

Speed

1–5

55–65 rpm

6–25

75–85 rpm

26–30

55–65 rpm

Program No. 2: You Want to Lose 10 Pounds

Taking off a 10 note will take a bit of additional dedication. Mak suggests doing cardio five days a week — three workouts use inclines to build intensity while the other two utilize metabolism-surging intervals — for the next eight weeks.

Cardio Program No. 2

Days 1, 3, 5

35-Minute Incremental Treadmill Program

Time/Minutes

Speed

Incline

1–5 (warm-up)

3.5

0

6–10

3.7

2.5

11–15

3.9

5.0

16–25

3.9

7.5

26–30

3.7

10.0

31–35

3.5

0

Days 2 and 4

35-Minute Interval Elliptical Program

Time/Minutes

Speed

1–5 (warm-up)

55–65 rpm

6

80–90 rpm

7–10

65–75 rpm

11

80–90 rpm

12–15

65–75 rpm

16

65–75 rpm

17–20

65–75 rpm

21

80–90 rpm

22–25

65–75 rpm

26

80–90 rpm

27–30

65–75 rpm

31–35

55–65 rpm

No matter which program you choose, do your best to stick to the prescribed schedule for the full eight weeks or until you hit your goal, whichever comes first. In the new year, consistency will be your biggest ally in remaking your body. And when you hit this initial goal, you can find a new quest — hopefully with us — to take on with your lighter, leaner physique.