The holiday season always has a habit of sneaking up on us. With it quickly approaching, you may find yourself having to deal with a shortage of time. If your fitness routine is the first thing in danger of being trimmed, you may want to think about interval training. It’s a great way to change up your workout while burning more calories, without spending more time.
What is interval training? That’s when you alternate between periods of high-intensity exercise and low-intensity recovery periods. You repeat short bursts of speed, followed by slow phases that allow you to recover. Research has shown this to be more effective at burning calories than completing your workout at the same pace for the entire time.
What does that mean for your workout? Let’s look at walking, for example. If you’re used to walking at a set pace for a specific length of time, you would add short periods of jogging and then slow it down to an easier walk as you recover. You can follow a similar pattern of increasing your speed and slowing it down while jogging, biking, or rowing.
What are the benefits of interval training? Burning more calories is one of the biggest advantages. Increasing intensity, even for just a short time, burns more calories. You’ll also build your endurance and improve your overall physical fitness. You’ll accomplish more during your session, or you’ll be able to shave off some time and burn the same amount of calories that you were before you started training this way. In addition, the variation will add excitement. You’ll experience less boredom than if you were doing any cardio activity at the same pace for an hour or so.
Since interval training involves higher intensity movement, it can be tough. This is great for seasoned athletes who need to kick their workout up a notch. Even if you’re a beginner, you can still make adjustments. Instead of a burst of jogging, simply try a brisker pace of walking. It’s also a good idea to start with shorter, high intensity bursts. Try just 30 seconds until you are able to work up to a longer time. This kind of training will definitely help you progress.
Whether you’re a novice or an elite athlete, there are a few things to remember. Set training goals that meet your needs and match your ability. Be sure to warm up before beginning intervals. Start slowly and progress over time. In general, longer intervals will yield the best results. The length of the intervals can vary, but an average athlete can expect to alternate between high and low intensity periods that last about 2 minutes each. To see improvement, increase intensity or duration, but do not to both at the same time. Take it slow as you make changes over time and build to doing more interval repetitions.
Interval training will give your workout the boost it needs, help you burn more calories, and improve your level of fitness!