Interval training is one of the most effective ways of burning fat and increasing your fitness levels, and is popular as it takes less time than regular cardiovascular activities. Exercises such as treadmills or stationary cycling require a steady pace for a relatively long period of time in order to bring your heart rate up to around 60 to 80 percent of your maximum. Interval training, however, requires you to work harder for a shorter period in order to bring your heart rate up to around 80 to 90 percent of your maximum. This is then followed by low intensity exercises until your heart rate returns to around 60 percent.
When your body is exerting itself, it pulls energy from the sugar in your bloodstream. Once the sugar has been used, which will happen quickly during intense bursts of physical activity, your body will then move on to the next energy store – fat. Interval training pushes your muscles to the limit so, even after your workout, your body will require energy to recover – this means you will still be burning calories even when resting.
Your current fitness level will determine how interval training will work best for you. If you already do some variety of cardiovascular activity three or more times a week, for at least 30 minutes each time, then you would be fine to begin integrating interval training into your exercise regime. If not, then you’d be best to begin slowly and work up to adding short sessions of training to your routine. Interval training is an intensive workout so, due to the muscle soreness you may feel, it’s advised that you only replace one cardiovascular session each week. No matter what level of fitness you are at, begin each workout with a five minute warm-up of light to moderate intensity, building the power of the exercise for thirty seconds then bringing it back down for a minute and a half before moving on to the next interval. You need to do five of these for the first session and then build up from there.
Interval training is a great form of exercise for runners or cyclists who want to increase their stamina and speed, as it can keep your exercise regime interesting and improve motivation. Simply remember to involve this method into your routine slowly and you’ll soon see the benefits.