Interval Training Explained

man doing push up

Image courtesy of ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What would you say if I told you there was a workout you could do that increases cardio endurance, builds strength, and does it more effectively than other methods? What if I also told you this workout regimen has been connected to anti-aging? Yes, this magical workout actually exists. It’s called interval training.

If you look at most popular workouts these days: jogging, treadmill, elliptical, aerobics, etc. they are typically long bursts of low to moderate activity. I’ve seen it countless times at the gym: people who spend 30-60 minutes on a machine not going beyond moderate exertion (and barely sweating).

While such workouts are better than nothing, they’re not ideal. The best workouts are interval based and, if you want to get to a high level of fitness, challenge yourself, or get fit quickly you should give it a try. Interval training involves a period of intense activity followed by a break. Then the process is repeated.

For example, you would do an intense workout (like jumping jacks or push-ups) for a minute followed by a fifteen second break (or another variation). The reason interval training is a great workout isn’t completely understood, but we have an idea. It does, however, increase resting metabolic rate for upwards of 24 hours after exercise and creates improved insulin sensitivity and higher level of fat oxidation in the muscles. It also results in significant spikes in growth hormone levels (which aid in fat loss) and catecholamine levels (chemicals your body produces to directly induce fat mobilization). Here is the source with more on the topic.

Two popular interval training programs are Insanity and P90x. They are ideal because they have predetermined moves with demonstrations of how they work, as well as motivation from the instructors. Check out our extensive reviews of Insanity products to determine if this workout is for you. We love them.

However, interval training can be done at home with just a stopwatch (online, phone, etc.), a list of exercises, and your body. Most interval workouts involve simply using your body as resistance. However, you can add bands and dumbbells to create additional resistance and difficulty.

There are several advantages to interval training. First, it can be intense to moderate depending on your ability. Second, it’s been shown to be very effective. Third, it is inexpensive since it only really requires your body. Fourth, if done properly with diversity, it works every muscle group. Finally, depending on your chosen workouts, you can pretty much do it anywhere since it just requires enough space for your body height.

The disadvantages are that the best moves are often challenging for beginners and can be technically difficult (compared to using an elliptical). Along these lines, it will require you to learn multiple moves to get the best workout. They are small issues, but things to think about.

So, check out interval training to jump start your workout or take it to the next level. And, remember to always consult a doctor before starting any fitness regimen.

About Jonathan Bennett

Jonathan Bennett is a writer, speaker, dating expert, and business owner. His articles have been viewed millions of times, and he has been featured in a variety of publications, including the Wall Street Journal.

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  1. […] at least based on some research, accomplish this magic, and it is called Tabata, a specific type of interval training. It sounds exotic, but it is just named after the last name of the Japanese researcher who […]

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