Can’t Lose Weight? These Speed Workouts Can Help

by | Updated: December 4th, 2016 | Read time: 3 minutes

Numbers don’t lie. If you haven’t seen the scale budge, it’s time to make a change. An hour, steady-paced cardio workout may be great for your heart and overall wellbeing, but it’s not helping you shed pounds. You would think a long session on the elliptical would be the better calorie burner. However, over time, your body adapts to this workout and begins to use less and less energy. To really see your body change, you’re going to have to pick up the pace.

Replacing long cardio days with speed training workouts can boost your metabolism, help you push through plateaus, increase your endurance, initiate fat burning and aid in muscle building. You may also experience less boredom and a marked improvement in mental toughness. Speed work requires you to push outside your comfort zone, which means you’ll be calling on all the motivational mantras, music and willpower to get to the end. Because these types of workouts are a different breed of challenging, you may feel a bit sluggish at first. But that’s nothing a little pre-workout can’t handle.

Speed Training Workouts for Weight Loss

Not sure where to start? These exercises will help you turn up the fat-burning notch, so you may finally drop those pesky pounds.


A moderate walk on a flat surface is for beginners. If you’re not new to exercise, it’s time to add a little incline. Hills are not only great for building leg muscles but can also increase your speed and power, while improving stamina. Make sure you gradually add speed to the incline. Don’t jump on a treadmill thinking you can do your usual pace at a 5.0 incline. Choose a speed that allows you to walk fast, raise the incline (or find a hill outside) and see how you feel. Got more in the tank? Increase the speed before dialing up the intensity of the climb. Once you’re comfortable at that pace, turn up the incline slightly. Keep going back and forth, slowly adding to your speed and incline.

The workout:

Start with a 10-minute warmup. Then you can either choose a programmed hill workout or make up your own.  Alternate walking or running for 1 minute at about a 2-3 percent grade then lower to no incline recovery walk or jog for 1 minute.  Work your way up to repeating this combo 8-10 times.  End workout with a 10 minutes cool down.  Increase the incline and speed as you get stronger.


This workout can be done outside or on an indoor spin bike. It’s an efficient workout that can have you burning over 350 calories in just 35 minutes. I recommend listening to upbeat music to help keep your heart rate up and motivation even higher.

The workout:

*Note: Adjust tension to suit your needs and abilities.

  • Warm up for 15 minutes, moderate effort.
  • Pedal hard for 10 seconds, seated.
  • Recover for 1 minute.
  • Pedal hard for 20 seconds, seated.
  • Recover for 1 minute.
  • Pedal hard for 30 seconds, seated.
  • Recover for 2 minutes.
  • Pedal hard for 10 seconds, standing up.
  • Sit back down and recover for 1 minute.
  • Pedal hard for 15 seconds, standing up.
  • Sit back down and recover for 1 minute.
  • Pedal hard for 20 seconds, standing up.
  • Sit back down and recover for 2 minutes.
  • Ride 5 minutes at moderate pace, and then cool down for 5 minutes.

Total time in the saddle = 35 minutes


Tabata is a high-intensity workout done in a very short period of time. An example would be to sprint for 20 seconds, and then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this for a TOTAL of 4 minutes – that’s it! This type of workout raises your heart rate and metabolism almost instantly. Start out with basic exercises. You can do Tabata with ANY exercise – running, biking, push-ups, pull-ups, squats…anything. As you get stronger, you can add more challenging exercises or increase the interval times.

The workout:

  • Warm up for 5 minutes (light walk or jog). And then…
  • Push-ups for 20 seconds
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • Jumping jacks for 20 seconds
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • Squats for 20 seconds
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • Jump rope for 20 seconds then rest 10 seconds.

Repeat for a total of 8 rounds

Trainer tip: The great thing about all three of these workouts is you can do them during the week and you don’t have to pick just one. Do them all, so you really keep your body guessing. Plus, any of these workouts can be done at home, while traveling or at the gym – it’s doesn’t get any more convenient than that!