Interval training is the best option for those who lead extremely busy lives and still want to stay fit or shed some extra pounds. This type of training allows you the same benefits including weight loss and building muscle, but doesn’t require you to spend a long time at the gym. The best part about interval training is that it works for everyone. Whether you’re an athlete or someone who is just beginning to focus on more of a fit lifestyle, interval training will produce the results you’re looking for!
How it Works
Interval training alternates periods of light, restful exercises with activities performed at a higher intensity. Whether you prefer swimming, running, cycling or doing kettlebell moves, the main goal is to increase your heart rate and then allow it to decrease during the low-intensity cycle of the interval training.
The short bursts of intense activity mixed with the lighter exercises allow the body to burn more fat in a smaller amount of time. In a study by the Human Kinetics Journal comparing the effects of sprint interval training (SIT) and continuous endurance training (CET), the SIT could experienced significant decreases in waist circumference, the waist-to-hip ratio and body fat. A total of 8.45 hours (only 52.30 min actively) was spent in the SIT modality, whereas a total of 14 hours was spent in CET during the seven-week training period. The study demonstrated that seven weeks of SIT improved body composition, aerobic and anaerobic capacity to an extent that was statistically similar to the corresponding results of CET that took more time out of the individual’s day. Say goodbye to the “I don’t have enough time to exercise to reach my fitness goals” excuse!
Watch the Clock and Your Intensity
Interval training can be tricky if you’re not timing your exercises properly. To maximize the benefits throughout the duration of the workout, you need to switch back and forth between restful or light exercises and high intensity exercises, rather than simply doing a steady jog or cycling for half an hour straight.
According to the American Council of Exercise (ACE), endurance workouts are performed at moderate intensity on an exertion level of 5-6 on a scale of 0-10, and high-intensity intervals are performed at an exertion level of 7 or higher. High-intensity intervals should typically last from 30 seconds and no longer than 3 minutes, although the higher the intensity, the shorter the interval should be. High-intensity intervals should then be followed by recovery intervals that are equal to or longer than the high-intensity interval. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is done at around 80 percent to 95 percent of maximal aerobic capacity. While structuring intervals can vary depending on your fitness level, you should experiment with shorter and longer intervals to see what works best for you. Once you’ve established your starting point, work your way up to 8-10 speed intervals.
Monitor Your Heart Rate
Research has suggested that when it comes to interval training, the intensity level in fact, does not affect the level of exercise-induced fat oxidation when comparing moderate-intensity interval training (MIIT) and HIIT. The important factor to remember with interval training is to achieve a high heart rate in the zone of 80 percent to 95 percent of your estimated maximum heart rate, followed by a period that will bring your heart rate down to about 50 percent to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate in order to blast that fat!
How You'll Burn Fat Long After Your Workout
Since HIIT requires hard work with shorter recovery periods and thereby acquiring oxygen debt, you'll still be incinerating fat after your workout thanks to a process called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). Since your body doesn’t have the ability to bring in enough oxygen throughout the workout, your metabolism will be charged long after you’ve hit the gym until the amount of oxygen in your body is restored and back to normal. HIIT is the best way to activate EPOC and is enhanced with the intensity level
So hit it hard and start getting the most out of your workout with interval training. Your summer body is waiting!