Most people already know how important cardiovascular training is for your overall hearth health and weight loss efforts, but not as many understand the important role Interval Training plays in these efforts. Achieving maximum results requires varying your effort level or intensity on a regular basis. Interval Training can get you there.
Remember this important tip:
If you perform the same activity, in the same way, over and over again, you will receive the same results. In fact, it has been stated by many wise men, “The definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” The same applies to cardiovascular training. After your period of “initial gains” ends, your body will adapt to the effort and stimuli you are giving it, and thus discontinue to progress in benefit. So, you need to alter the effort and stimuli.
Why Interval Training?
Interval training is a fantastic way to challenge your body and reap great rewards! When done correctly, Interval Training can:
- Burn more calories in a smaller amount of time than regular cardiovascular training;
- Work all 3 energy systems (ATP-PC, Glycolitic, and Oxidative);
- Increase muscular endurance in the major muscle groups you are using for that specific cardiovascular activity, thereby increasing your ability to work more efficiently at higher workloads and increasing your overall performance;
- Burn just as many or potentially MORE fat calories as training at any other intensity level for the same period of time.
While a lot of literature states that in order to burn the most “fat” when exercising, you must remain in a lower intensity zone, you can actually burn more calories through interval training at varying intensities.The statement that you burn the most fat through lower intensity zones is referring to the percentage of fat burned compared to carbohydrate (or glycogen); however, the rate at which you burn these calories at a low intensity is still slower. Basically the percentage of fat calories being burned as fuel is higher at low intensities but the overall caloric expenditure is still less than if we trained at a higher intensity. Therefore, many times the benefits of performing high intensity intervals can outweigh the benefits of constant low intensity training by achieving more efficient results.
Calorie Burning Example:
(Note that these are not exact metabolic equivalents):
- A) Training at 55% of your target zone for 45 minutes may burn a total of 600 calories;
- B) Interval training between 55% and 85% of your target zone for 30 minutes may burn a total of 850 calories or more.
- A-1) When training at a steady 55% you may burn 70% of your calories from fat and 30% of your calories from carbohydrate over the course of the workout, equaling 420 fat calories and 180 carbohydrate calories.
- B-1) When training between 55% and 85% of your zone using intervals you may burn 50% of your calories from fat and 50% of your calories from carbohydrate over the course of the workout, equaling 425 fat calories and 425 carbohydrate calories.
As you can see, in the interval training example, you burned 250 more calories in a shorter period of time. Even though your percentage of fat calories burned is lower than the lower intensity session, you still burned more total fat calories. The additional 250 calories burned also contributes to your over all weight loss goal.
Sample Interval Workout: The “Yo-Yo” Session
A good example interval workout may consist of performing a “Yo-Yo” type cardiovascular session. In a Yo-Yo session it is important to pick 2 intensity levels, one high and one low. The amount of difference between levels should vary based on your current level of conditioning. The more conditioned, the farther apart; the less conditioned, the closer together.
After a good warm up, begin performing the Yo-Yos between the 2 set levels of intensity. For example, if running, you may choose a target heart rate of 120 beats per minute as your low end and 165 beats per minute as your high end. The interval consists of increasing your speed and effort rapidly until you reach 165 beats per minute. Your Yo-Yo recovery then consists of slowing down, or perhaps even walking, until your heart rate lowers to 120 beats per minute. Each time you hit the lower threshold, you again rapidly increase speed and effort until 165 BPM is met. Then recover and repeat. Perform this for a set number of repetitions or for a set period of time. The more fit you become, the more times you will be able Yo-Yo within a set period of time.
There are many different methods of performing interval training. The Yo-Yo is just one. Try it for yourself and see how you like it!
As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning a new exercise program and discontinue if you feel discomfort or severe shortness of breath.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me! You can email me here or find me at my website at www.flashreferral.com.
To your vibrant health, Mark.