Speed 10: My go-to interval training cardio workout that I hate to love


If you’ve been living under a rock, interval training is pretty popular (HIIT classes are everywhere!). I’m all for short, intense cardio bursts that spike my heart rate, but speed intervals on a cardio machine…FOR THE LOVE OF PIZZA PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME.

When I am able to trick myself into doing high intensity cardio, there’s one token workout I turn to: Speed 10. Why? It’s over in less than 30 minutes.

My dad introduced me to Speed 10 back in college. It’s an anaerobic interval workout that you can do on a treadmill, bike, elliptical, arc trainer, rowing machine…pretty much any cardio machine where you dictate your speed.

Speed 10 requires you to push yourself to the maximum for 30 seconds, followed by a minute-and-a -half recovery period. After 10, 30-second sprints, you’ll look like a baby giraffe learning how to walk (or is that just me?). This workout is great for various fitness levels since the person is in control of speed and intensity.

The best part? You’ll continue burning calories long after you finish the 25 minutes of hell. You can thank exercise post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC , for that.

Before I go into  more details, here’s the basic outline.

Speed 10

The Breakdown

The above guide is a starting point.  How you choose to use it is up to you. As a general guide, warm ups should be just that: getting your body warm and blood pumping. A slow jog should do the trick.

For the sprints, you want to choose a speed that prevents you from focusing on anything but your body. If you can look around and admire your surroundings, go a little faster.

During the recovery periods you want to catch your breath without letting your heart rate drop too much. Depending on your fitness level, aim for a fast walk or slow jog (similar to the warm up).

When you FINALLY reach the cool down, don’t just stop completely. Stay at your recovery speed for at least a minute and gradually decrease speed.

My advice: don’t do this workout more than three times a week! Your muscles need time to recover.

My Speed 10 

I’ll admit, I don’t do speed intervals often. I despise the during, but oh my goodness the after is AH-MAZE-ING. My cardio machine of choice for this is usually the treadmill — which is what my speeds below are reflected on — but the elliptical is a close second. My incline is set to zero throughout, because I need a Barry’s Bootcamp trainer screaming in my ear to sprint uphill.

Here’s my break down

  • Warm up: 5-5.5 mph
  • Sprints: I gradually increase my speeds with each interval. I’ll start at 8 mph and end somewhere in the 10s depending on the day.
  • Recovery: 5.5-6 mph
  • Cool down: 5 mph with a gradual decrease to 3.5 mph

When you’re short for time and need a quick, effective workout that burns major calories, Speed 10 is the answer. Even if you don’t do it on a treadmill, you’ll still experience an insane runner’s high that will make you feel like you could take on the world.

You don’t need to spend hours at the gym (or on a damn machine) to get a kickass workout.

Cheers to living your best life!


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