What Is Interval Training?

Interval training is one of the most effective ways for you to exercise. Interval training comes in two basic forms: a workout in which you vary the speeds or levels of your cardio activity or a workout where you combine strength training and cardiovascular activity. Whichever form you choose, interval training ensures that you’re making the most efficient use of the minutes you put into your exercise routine. In essence, you don’t waste time when you do an interval workout. Read on to learn more.

About Cardiovascular Interval Training

You see a lot of people at the gym working hard on the elliptical trainer or treadmill for a good thirty minutes or more–at a steady level five or six the entire time. While working out that way isn’t bad (any form of cardiovascular exercise is beneficial), it’s definitely not working out “smart.” A smart workout is one where you make ever minute count. Holding steady at the same level for thirty minutes isn’t necessarily challenging your body. If you want to stick to a strictly cardio workout during a single session, opt for cardio interval training, often times referred to as high intensity interval training (HIIT).

All cardio interval training consists of is working out at various speeds and levels for different intervals of time. For instance, you’ll begin with a short warm up period before launching into a two minute interval at a level six (or whichever level you choose). From there, you’ll switch into a thirty to sixty second intensity mode: go as hard and as fast as you can to get your heart rate up before returning to another two minute interval at a lower level. Repeat for the duration of your workout. The levels and interval lengths are completely up to you, however, you’ll want to keep the intense intervals to under a minute and the lower level intervals longer.

This kind of cardio workout works because you get your heart rate up faster and work you body to maximum efficiency. The best part is that you only need to do this for twenty to thirty minutes to get a great workout. No more hour sessions at the gym!

About Basic Interval Training

Interval training can also be a combination workout that mixes intervals of strength training with cardiovascular activity. If you have limited time each week to workout, this may be the routine for you. Many people switch from doing a minute or two of activity that really elevates the heart rate (think jumping jacks, jumping rope, running in place, etc) with three minutes or so of weight lifting (bicep curls, chest presses, etc). Since the workout is variable, you’ll never become bored. You’ll keep your heart rate up the entire time. Therefore, you don’t need to spend as long in the gym. A quick thirty to sixty minute workout and you’re done. If you need a little guidance when you begin, look for interval classes at your gym or find an at-home video that focuses on interval workouts, like Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred.

Begin doing interval workouts and you can say goodbye to wasted time at the gym.


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