Interval training gets results.
One of the best ways to run for fat loss is by interval training. If you are a novice or are not very aware of the term interval training it might seem a little complex or difficult.
You might have an image of a personal trainer with charts and a stopwatch as he monitors the stats of a highly trained athlete pushing themselves to the limits.
It is true that interval training is a valued part of the program for many professional athletes. Trainers, coaches, athletes and sports scientists have discovered that interval training has huge benefits over other types of training.
What is interval training?
It is quite simple really, there is a burst of high intensity activity followed by a period of low intensity, followed again by a burst of high intensity. Programs vary, but you might sprint on the running machine for a minute, then walk fast for 2 minutes, then sprint again for another minute and so on for 15 to 30 minutes.
The idea is that the high-intensity sprint pushes your cardiovascular system to the limits, then the slower pace allows some recovery ready for the next burst of high intensity sprinting.
This way of exercising is more in line with our physiology and genetics, after all, throughout history how many people would have run for a few hours at low intensity?
Our ancestors would have walked most of the time, but sprinted as fast as [possible for short distances to hunt or run away from danger.
So, for the same logic that the Paleo diet works, so does intensity training. It is a natural way for our bodies to train, we can sprint hard, without collapsing because we interject recovery periods.
So, does the idea of sprinting put you off? It seems like a lot of effort if you are unfit, doesn’t it?
You know what?
You have probably already used interval training without realizing it…
Perhaps on the school cross country run where you stopped running when the teacher wasn’t looking and walked for a bit, maybe uphill, then you started to run again from the top?
Or maybe when you have played racket sports with a friend and then got so exhausted you agreed to slow the pace down a little? This way you could complete your complete one-hour court rental?
So, for a beginner, or a person of average fitness who is trying to take their training to the next level, incorporate the principles of interval training into your routines without the concern for stats, coaches or stopwatches.
It is tempting to “pace yourself” on a cardio machine in the gym, then complete your session whilst staying in your comfort zone and not really pushing yourself.
Start to incorporate some interval training into whatever you are doing. If you are on the running machine or cycling machine and are getting to the 30 minute mark without mush fatigue, try a few 1 minute sprints. If you are resistance training why not try to move from machine to machine without the 1 minute rest period? Do this for 2 or 3 machines in a row to really get your heart rate up, then take a rest period.
You need periods of high intensity in your training to increase your fitness levels and get out of your comfort zone a little. This is how we keep growing and get past the plateaus.