There has been a lot of talk in the fitness world lately about interval training because of new research that found that it may be one of the best ways to lose weight quickly. Most of the talk centers on the workouts ability to burn a large number calories. But if your not a trainer or an exercise aficionado you may be asking yourself, what exactly is interval training? It’s a workout were you go very hard (80-90% of your maximum effort) for a short period of time (for beginners 10-30 seconds) then actively recover(keep moving but at a much slower pace) for a period of time, then repeat that sequence several times. Interval training is high intensity training and has been primarily used by athletes to improve performance. Interval training has a ton of benefits not the least of which is it’s ability to burn a significant amount of calories in a short period of time and to boost metabolism . But interval training also comes with some serious risks. So is this form of training right for you?
The thing most people don’t understand is just how challenging interval training can be and if you have an underlying heart condition intervals can be deadly. So there are several things you should do before you get started.
Before starting interval training you should get an OK from your physician, the intensity of these workouts can be hard on the heart and you want to make sure your not doing yourself more harm than good.
If you haven’t been working out for a while or this is your first foray into fitness you really want to train to do this training. Start slowly doing a less intense workout for several weeks then slowly work your way into intervals.
Before starting an interval program asses your fitness and health goals as well as what kind of exercise person are you. I can’t stress enough that this form of exercise can be ass kicking. An exercise program is only effective if you do it on a regular basis, if your not the kind of person who likes a physical challenge or enjoys the endorphin rush of a tough workout your likely to give up on this kind of program after a short time. You may be better off doing something else that you will stick with for the long haul.
Always warm up thoroughly before doing intervals. A brisk 15 minute walk or jog, some calisthenics or any movement that gets your entire body warm and produces a light sweat.
Listen to your body and do only what feels good and right for you and your body. Don’t over do your workout, if you start to feel sick stop. if you think you need a little longer recovery time, take it. It’s as important to stay safe as it is to challenge yourself.
Gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. Give your self several weeks before increasing the time or intensity of your intervals this allows your body to adapt to the current levels
Make the workout fun. Interval training can be done on a track, a treadmill a bike, a rowing machine or almost any kind of cardio equipment out there. Heck you can even toss in some strength training if that’s what floats your boat. So make the training fun and mix it up a little.