Hopefully, this post will help you understand the concept of interval training and how to approach it to help you with your goals. I'm even going to throw in a couple of interval workouts to try.
One quick note on "steady-state" cardio... It's not that I hate steady-state cardio. I'm a runner myself (not a fast one, except when people are chasing me, like cops on Friday nights) and I enjoy it. I find it a good way to stay active. But when I'm trying to get lean, I prioritize intervals at the top before any steady-state cardio. So if you are a runner, walker, etc., etc., certainly don't stop if you enjoy it. But if you hate it, then intervals is really good news for you.
Hey dude, what are intervals?
Intervals are periods of high intensity work (hard), followed by a recovery period (easy). Some people don't do the intervals hard enough, and some people don't recover "easily" enough, not allowing them to do the intervals at the necessary intensity.
Alright, here's the deal.
- The #1 rule before doing intervals (especially for running) is that you MUST warm-up before doing intervals. This is to prepare the body for the intervals, as well as prevent injury. It's for your own good, so don't give me that look.
- You must cool-down after intervals
For the following example, let's use a 3/10 intensity for your recovery, and a 9/10 for your intervals. That means your recovery period should be a comfortable pace (about a warm-up pace).
20 seconds (9/10) interval
40 seconds (3/10) recovery
Do the above interval and recovery periods 6 - 8 times. That means this interval workout will only last around 16-18 minutes including a warm-up and cool-down. Pretty cool, huh? What's not cool is if I messed up the math and my wife sees this and gets upset because she's a math teacher.
Let's say you want to change things up and running, biking, and using an elliptical is not your thing. That's cool. You can do intervals with body-weight movements, too. Here is an example:
30 seconds of Mountain Climbers, followed by 30 seconds of rest
Do the above 6-8 times.
Try some interval training after your next strength workout. Put them in your fat loss tool kit.
To your fitness success,