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Interval Training – Get More With Less

The tendency to go without physical activity and gain weight is the Achilles heel of our society.

You will quite possibly be feeling guilty about some of your excesses over the holidays and the aggressive, clever advertisers will be keen to take advantage of that.

The New Year is the perfect time to start afresh with your fitness regime.

Our  bodies adapt quickly to physical exertion, so we have to trick them into not settling into an exercise routine that they can get comfortable with. A great way to get fit in a short period of time is with one of  the latest trends the fitness world has to offer-Interval Training.

Interval Training involves a series of short bursts of intense “give it everything” exercises followed by recovery phases repeated during one exercise session.

You can achieve more progress in a mere 15 minutes of interval training (done three times a week) than jogging on the treadmill for an hour.

Training at a higher level of intensity (in small tolerable doses) helps your body adapt to a higher level of fitness and stamina.

Intense exercise burns more kilojoules during exercise, and it triggers a greater boost in your metabolic rate afterwards, so you will continue to burn kilojoules at a higher rate well after you’ve finished training.

Researchers from the University of Western Australia found that interval training helps suppress post-workout appetite, further accelerating weight loss.


Increase Oxygen Debt For Maximum After-Burn Effects

When you do a sprint, your body can’t supply oxygen at a rate fast enough to fuel the muscle, resulting in a “debt” of oxygen. The deficit must be repaid when the body returns to rest and the anaerobic system has to kick in to “assist” with providing energy to the muscles.

After the intense effort is completed, your body has to basically repay that “borrowed energy – it owes oxygen to get those muscles back to their normal state. You continue to breathe hard and your heartbeat is raised and your metabolism is revved for hours after you leave the gym to repay the oxygen it borrowed.

The larger the oxygen debt created by your workout the longer it will take to repay it, with the benefit of more calories burned for a longer period of time after you are done exercising.

To create an oxygen debt, the effort has to be intense enough to switch over to anaerobic mode. Sprinting or proper resistance training is the way to accomplish this.


The New Way of Looking at Lactic Acid

High-effort activity that requires glycolysis (breakdown of stored muscle glycogen to produce ATP) results in the formation of lactic acid. Lactic acid is split into lactate and hydrogen.  If there is accumulation of lactic acid, some research evidence shows it may interfere with muscular contractions.

However, recent evidence suggests that lactate production from high effort exercise is a good thing. Lactate is actually a provider of more energy for muscle contraction. Lactate also creates fuel for the brain and heart and can be converted to glucose in the liver.

After an intense effort you accumulate a bit of lactic acid in the muscle and then your body begins to remove it.

You want to perform another intense effort before the body is recovered to assist the body in accumulating more lactic acid in your muscles. With enough intervals you will have a buildup of lactic acid and because of this, your body will be able to burn more calories than normal after your workout is finished.


Interval Training Benefits:

  • Burns more fat and calories
  • Helps you lose weight, not muscle
  • Healthier heart
  • Increased stamina
  • Efficient
  • No equipment necessary and you can do it anywhere
  • Less risk of injuries associated with repetitive overuse
  • Increased training intensity without overtraining or burn-out
  • Stimulates production of Human Growth Hormone and slows down ageing process
Basic Tips before You Start 
Two to three sessions a week should be enough in most cases for general fitness and health, but all variables are really determined by factors such as your present level of fitness, goals, sport or training event.
  • Always warm up and use TheraBand Resistance Bands to stretch well before performing intervals
  • Start slowly with simple walk / jog intervals
  • Increase either interval intensity or duration but not both in one workout
  • Train on a smooth, flat surface to ensure even effort
  • Stop at the first sign of pain
  • In general, interval training is best done 2 or 3 times per week. It is a challenging form of cardio and requires recovery time in between sessions
  • Make your intervals only slightly harder than normal and gradually build up over time
  • To get an accurate account of how hard you are exercising, monitor your heart rate with the Omron Monitor.


Cardio Blaster Interval Training Workout

Warm up for 5-10  minutes.

Run, bike, or row for 3 minutes at 90 to 95 percent of your maximum heart rate (should feel like 8.5 or 9 on a scale of 1 to 10)

Take 3 minutes active recovery (you’re still moving, but at an easy pace) and repeat the 3 on/3 off pattern 3 to 4 more times.

Finish with a 10-minute cooldown.

This workout is like weight training for your heart—it strengthens your cardiovascular system, which improves your overall health


Strengthen Your Muscles With Speedplay

Warm up for 5-10 minutes, adding a few 20-second bursts at the end to prepare for the workout.

Run, bike, or row for 30 seconds at a nearly all-out effort.

Take 3 minutes active recovery and repeat the 30 on/3 off pattern 5 or 6 more times.

Finish with a 10-minute cool-down.

Bonus benefit: Because of its very high intensity, this workout is very short.


V Sit-Ups

Sit with your feet lifted off the floor, knees bent into your chest, hands clasped behind your head.

Lean back and extend both legs straight out, touching your back to the floor but keeping your head and shoulders off the ground.

Sit back up and return to your start position. That’s one rep. Repeat as many times as you can in a row for one minute.

If it’s too tough to do with the legs extended, keep your knees bent as you lower and sit up.


Side- To – Side Lunge Chops

Stand with your feet together, hands clasped, and your arms overhead.

Take a wide step to your right, and bend your right knee, chopping your arms to your right foot.

Push off your right leg and return to standing, reaching arms overhead.

Repeat the movement on your left leg. Do as many reps as you can for one minute, alternating sides each time.

Be sure to track your knee over your toes as you lower into your side lunges.


Interval training is the ideal workout for a busy schedule—whether you want to squeeze in a workout during your lunch break or to get in shape for a fast-approaching event.

Don’t push yourself too hard too soon while introducing interval training. Male sure you have the Emed’s Musculoskeletal Profile done before you start on Interval Training Program and check for any nutritional deficiencies at early stage to effectively prevent injuries.


Further Reading:



Sciencedaily. “High-Intensity Interval Training is Time-Efficient and Effective, Study Suggests.” ScienceDaily. Mar. 12, 2010. (July 3, 2010)http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100311123639.htm


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