What Is Interval Training?

By Susanne Myers

You may have come across the term “Interval Training”, and may be wondering what exactly it is and how you may benefit from this type of exercise. Interval Training has become a popular workout in recent months because of studies that have shown it to be very effective in improving your overall condition and in burning more fat than other types of workouts. Professional athletes have taken advantage of interval training to get them into the best possible shape for years. There is no reason why you can’t take advantage of this training method as well.

The basic principle of interval training is to alternate between periods of moderate exercise and those of working out as hard or fast as you can. Let me illustrate this with an example. Let’s say your exercise of choice is jogging. Start with a slow jog for about 5 minutes to warm up. Then speed up to a run for two minutes. Slow down to a jog for a minute to allow your body to recover. After that minute is over, run fast for two more minutes. Keep alternating the slow jog and running throughout your workout. End with another 5 to 10 minutes of slow jogging to let your body cool down. Congratulations, you’ve just finished your first interval training workout.

Of course you can adopt this type of training to any other cardio workout as well. If you are walking, alternate between slow and fast walking, or make sure you walk up a few step hills. If you are walking or running on a treadmill, pick up the pace, or increase the incline as part of your interval workout. If you are cycling on a stationary bike, pedal faster, or crank it into a higher gear to make yourself work harder during the high intensity periods of your workout.

By now you may be wondering why you should give this type of workout a try. Interval training challenges your entire body. By increasing the intensity of your workout periodically, you increase your heart rate. You will also breath harder and deeper to give your body a sufficient supply of oxygen. This will increase your lung capacity and strengthen your heart. Interval training also gives you a nice boost of your metabolism, a effect that will last long after workout ends. You’ll feel more energized and best of all you will continue to burn fat.