Cardio workouts are a powerful tool for achieving weight loss and greater fitness. When you hit a plateau with your cardio, though, it can be discouraging, especially if you're still working hard but not seeing the kind of results you want. When this happens, you can step your cardio workout up a notch--or several notches--by adding interval training.
What is Interval Training?
Put simply, interval training involves alternating intense periods of exercise with less intense periods. Any workout can be easily modified by simply upping intensity for a short period at three or four intervals during the full workout. A walking workout can be stepped up with short jogging sessions, or a jogging workout phased up to a run for short intervals. For a treadmill, increase the speed or the incline for a minute or two, then go back to the original settings for three or four minutes before shifting again.
The benefits of interval training are many, and stepping up your workout in this way can bring rapid, dramatic results. In addition, interval training:
- Increases endurance and stamina
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Varies your workout to prevent boredom
- Does not require additional equipment
- Can be applied to any workout type, or adapted to function as training for any sport
For a great step forward in your aerobic routine, interval training might be just the answer to get you over a plateau or help you get tuned back into a routine that's gotten to be, well, routine.
Another workout approach that can step up the intensity an everyday workout is circuit training. Circuit training involves a series of different exercises, usually focusing on cardio, strength training and endurance training alternately. A "circuit" consists of repetitions of several sets of exercises. Once one full set of the circuit exercises is completed, another set begins. The number of individual exercises and the number of circuits performed depends on the desired results.
Circuit training is commonly used in personal training regimens, and is a great way to build up for various sports or endurance activities. The specific exercises used in a circuit can be customized for specific kinds of training, such as boxing, cycling or circuits to increase endurance for an upcoming marathon.
Like interval training, circuit training can often be accomplished efficiently without expensive equipment, and can also be adapted to fit in a small space if necessary. Overall, circuit training is a very flexible approach to exercise that also provides impressive results.
Many fitness experts feel that circuit training is the most effective approach for those wishing to burn fat and lose weight. In fact, studies have shown that women in particular who use circuit training as their regular routine are able to lose more weight and keep it off than with other exercise approaches.
Whether you decide to try regular interval training or set up a circuit training routine for yourself, either of these approaches will help spruce up your exercise regimen, bring better weight loss results, and keep your workout fresh and new. Best of all, interval training can help get you over that latest plateau and get you motivated again.