Day: February 29, 2012

No Time to Exercise? No Problem! The Key is High Intensity Interval Training.

Are you sick of spending hours in the cardio room? Do you sometimes skip your workout because you do not have a full hour in your schedule to get to the gym? Do you find your cardio mundane and boring? Then it may be time to break out of the normal routine and push your body to new levels. Research has shown that you can achieve great results from high intensity interval training as a substitute or addition to traditional cardiovascular training.

Here is an example:
Instead of doing a flat 60 minutes on the stationary bike you can perform an interval circuit of 30 seconds as fast as you can go with 90 seconds of recovery. The recovery pace is the same speed you use for your warm-up. You repeat this cycle for 20 minutes with 5 minutes for a warm-up and 5 minutes for a cool-down.

The idea is that you will put more effort into the 30 second interval knowing you will have 90 seconds of rest. The approach trains your body, and more specifically your heart, to recovery faster to prepare for the next intense burst.

In addition to cardiovascular health, interval training has also been proven to increase the body’s ability to burn fat. In a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology eight women in their early 20s cycled for 10 sets of four minutes of hard riding, followed by two minutes of rest. Over two weeks, they completed seven interval workouts. After interval training, the amount of fat burned in an hour of continuous moderate cycling increased by 36 percent. They also found that it did not matter how much the person was already training. Even if they were frequently visiting the gym they still found improvements to endurance.

Interval training does not need to be limited strictly to pieces of cardio equipment. In several training classes here at the gym (Body Pump, Boot Camp, Winter Sports Prep, etc.) interval training is utilized by pushing your body for a specific amount of time and limiting the amount of recovery. This is done using a wide variety of total body exercises.

So the next time you are in a rut in the cardio room and you want to spice it up, try throwing in some sprints, always warming up first. You can start as simple as 15 seconds of sprinting with 90 seconds of recovery. As you start to get stronger you can increase the sprint time and decrease the recovery.

If math isn’t your strong suit, come join a Boot Camp class or jump in the Winter Sports Prep and Play program and let the trainers do the counting for you!