What if I were to tell you that I had a way to burn fat more effectively while working a shorter amount of time? No, I’m not trying to sell you anything. I’m talking about interval training. What’s that, you ask? The easy explanation is that it’s a type of training that alternates very high intensity work with very low intensity work. For example, a 15 second sprint followed by 30 seconds of a slow walk. This might not sound like much, but the key to this type of training is intensity. It would be easy to lollygag through a session and not get anything from it, but when you approach interval training with full intensity, the results can be unbelievable!
Now, you might realize that five 20 second sprint/40 second rest intervals takes 5 minutes and you might be wondering why doing 5 minutes of work may be better than doing 20 minutes of regular steady-state cardio. Well, the reason is something called EPOC. That stands for Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption.
What that means is that when you exercise at a high level of intensity, your body has a harder time recovering so it consumes more oxygen than usual. Some studies have shown that this elevates your metabolism for up to two days depending on your training. That can mean a lot of extra burned off calories.
The variations you can do with intervals are endless. The only rule you have to observe is following very high intensity work with low intensity work. I’ll talk about one way to use this set-up. I want to say this first, though. For some, this may not be the best way to get started. This needs to be done at a very high level of intensity and some people are not yet ready for that kind of work. So, if you don’t know if you’re physically ready to try this, I would probably recommend not doing it right now. You can always drop me a line to talk about what the best approach is for you.
Now, let’s give this a try. After a good warm-up I want you to run in place as fast as you can, bringing your knees as high as possible with each step. Do this for 20 seconds then take a 40 second rest. Do a total of three rounds. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
How did that feel? If you used the proper intensity you should be pretty winded.
As I’ve said before it’s a very high intensity style of training and that has to be accounted for. It’s not something you can do every day and for some, once or twice a week may be enough. If you want to talk about how to apply this kind of training to your goals please drop me a line and don’t forget to talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
– from the Castro Valley Forum, December 23rd 2009
Mitchell Rothbardt MitchRothbardtTraining@yahoo.com 510-757-7113 Discover Your Strength!