As you go about putting together your workout routine, one form of cardio training that you might hear quite a bit about is that of interval training.
Interval training has been touted as the best form of cardio workout for rapid fat loss results as it will not only burn more calories while you’re completing it, but will cause your body to continue to burn calories in the hours after you’re finished through a process commonly referred to as EPOC.
In fact, in one study researchers noted that comparing groups who performed either short-duration, high intensity exercise, short duration, low intensity exercise, or long duration, low intensity exercise, the short duration high intensity exercise was the form to produce significantly more net total calorie expenditure, therefore proving to be valuable for long-term weight control.
And not only is this workout great for helping to rev your metabolic rate, but it’s also going to dramatically increase your fitness level, increasing your ability to work hard without fatigue.
But before you jump on the interval training bandwagon, there are a few things that you must know first so you can implement it into your workout program properly.
Let’s take a look at the key things that you must remember at all times.
Build Up A Cardio Base First
First things first, before you go adding interval training to your workout program, you need to be at the fitness level to do it. If you’re new to working out, you should first work on building up a base fitness level so that you can perform 30 minutes of continuous moderate paced cardio activity with ease.
Once you’re at that level, then you know your body is ready to step it up a notch and start doing interval training.
Choose Your Interval Style
Next, you need to choose which style of interval training to do. You can either adopt the longer interval style where you’ll perform intervals at a slightly longer length of 45 to 60 seconds, or adopt the full-out sprint style, where you keep the intervals shorter to 15-30 seconds.
If you adopt the longer style, your rest periods should be just as long as the intervals using a 1:1 ratio, while if you adopt the sprint style, you’ll need slightly longer rest intervals in comparison since you’re pushing your body to the max, so should keep them at a 1:3 ratio (so 45-90 seconds long).
This will ensure that you are taking the appropriate amount of rest based around how hard you’re working so that you can see optimal results.
Once you’ve decided upon the length of the work and rest intervals, you’ll want to repeat them 6 to 10 times depending on your current fitness level, making sure to add a five minute warm-up and cool-down at the beginning and the end.
Incorporating It Into Your Overall Workout Scheme
Now that you know the structure of the interval set-up, it’s time to look at how you’ll go about incorporating it into your overall fitness routine.
The important thing to remember is that this form of interval is a lot more taxing than moderate paced cardio sessions are, therefore you can’t do it quite as often throughout the week.
Plus, if you’re also doing resistance training workouts which are equally as taxing on the body, there needs to be a good balance between those and your intervals.
You should aim to have no more than five hard workout sessions per week, so this can be a mix of both strength training and interval training.
This will allow for at least one full day off for rest and recovery and then at least one other day where exercise should be kept much lighter.
Also take note that you should never perform interval training right before or after your weight lifting as this will be a little too much for the body to handle in a single workout session.
So there you have everything you need to know about incorporating interval training into your workout routine. If you are looking for a way to step up your progress, you will definitely not be disappointed with what this workout style has to offer.
Fissinger, J.A. (1989). Effect of exercise intensity and duration on post-exercise energy expenditure. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Vol. 21; Issue 6.