Many women have heard about interval training but don’t understand how it works and why it’s so effective. Interval training can be applied to any workout routine and is the best way to kick start your metabolism, burn calories, and give you a slimmer figure in no time!
If you’ve ever worked with a personal trainer or have done any research lately about working out and weight loss, you may have heard about interval training. Most personal trainers and programs include interval training as part of their recommendation for losing weight, toning up, and staying healthy. Some of the most successful programs sold today such as P90X and Insanity are forms of interval training.
What is interval training and why is it so effective? Is this just another weight loss gimmick or does it really work to help you lose weight quickly?
What is interval training?
Simply put, interval training involves working out in short intervals, or mixing up your routine every few minutes. There are many different ways to do this and interval training can be adjusted according to anyone’s fitness level. Many professional athletes and Hollywood stars use interval training to stay in tiptop shape, and it can work for weight loss as well as toning and firming.
To better understand how interval training is structured, consider a few examples of how it works. Rather than jogging for 30 minutes, you might walk quickly for 5 minutes to warm up, then jog for 3 minutes, then sprint as fast as you can for 2 full minutes, then walk quickly for 5 minutes, then sprint again for 2 minutes, then jog for 3 minutes, then sprint again for 2 minutes, then jog for 3 minutes, then walk quickly for 5 minutes.
Interval training is also used for more advanced routines. For example, a person might warm-up, then jump rope, then climb a rope, then do squats, then go back to jump roping, and so on. During an advanced routine they take no breaks between each set but move quickly from one to the other.
Why it works?
What is the point of interval training and why does it work so effectively? When you use interval training, your muscles are constantly being challenged so you avoid that dreaded weight loss plateau. By way of contrast, if you just jog, your muscles get trained to a certain point so that they’re not working so hard to move you along. Your heart isn’t beating as fast and you’re not breathing as hard once you reach a level that your body can accommodate. In turn, you’re not burning calories or toning up.
With interval training, you switch constantly from one muscle group to the other, so no group of muscles reach that peak. Your body doesn’t know what’s coming next so your heart is always pumping and your lungs are always working overtime!
An effective interval training session will involve at least some segment of pushing yourself to the max, such as doing those sprints while jogging. This too is why it’s so effective; jogging continuously doesn’t really push your cardiovascular system, but adding sprints for those few minutes will rev up your metabolism and put your calorie burning into high gear.
Interval training also keeps your workout routine from getting dull, so you’re more likely to stick with it. Just jogging or biking can be fun and effective and if it works for you, there’s no reason to abandon it, but for those who get bored with doing the same routine over and over, interval training can be the best. Every few minutes you change what you’re doing or what equipment you’re using, so there’s no chance of getting bored!
How to add interval training to your routine?
When using interval training, you always want to remember your safety and take into consideration your level of fitness, never pushing yourself or trying anything that puts you in danger. That being said, you also want to ensure you choose interval segments that really get your heart pumping and that fully challenge your muscles!
If you don’t work with a personal trainer and want to add interval training to your own routine, consider how you can mix up your current workout. You might try the jogging routine mentioned above for starters; adjust the minutes according to your own fitness level. For instance, if you can only sprint for 30 seconds, do that, but increase the minutes you jog versus walk.
Another important consideration is that effective interval training includes working different muscle groups, so you may want to get inside and mix it up at the gym. Hop on an exercise bike for 5 minutes, then quickly move to pushups, then do lunges, then jump rope, then back to the bike. Each of these intervals should last no more than 5 minutes each, and you don’t want to take a break between them. If you rest, your heart rate slows and you’re not challenging yourself.
Using interval training programs like P90X or Insanity can also be a safe way to incorporate this into your routine. Try to keep up as much as possible but if you need to slow down the pace when you first start out, just be sure to challenge yourself as much as possible. The key to interval training is switching up the segments and pushing yourself during your routine.
Have you tried interval training and have you found it to be effective? How are you going to add some interval segments to your routine in the upcoming new year?