You’re no stranger to the gym. You’ve been working out for years and have built up not only an excellent level of cardiovascular fitness, but also have a good muscle base behind you as well.
All in all, you’re proud of what your body has become. That said, you’re always looking for more. What’s the next step in keeping yourself in top shape well into your later years?
If you have not yet taken to interval training, now is the time to do so. Interval training is the best way to help boost your fitness level and see faster results – not to mention cure workout boredom. Let’s go over what you need to know about this highly effective form of conditioning.
First let’s talk about how interval training is designed. To execute this workout, you will perform brief, high intensity intervals, lasting just 30-60 seconds in total duration. After each interval is finished, you then go on to perform an active rest interval for about twice as long. If you were doing 30 second sprint intervals, do your active rest for 60 seconds. If you were doing 60 second intervals, your active rest would now be 120 seconds, or two minutes long.
This process – work alternated with rest – is then repeated 5-10 times, making for a 15-20 minute workout session. Add to this a five minute warm-up and 5 minute cool-down and you have the entire workout.
So why do this form of workout? What does this workout offer that others don’t? First, interval training earns top marks for helping you burn calories not only during the session, but for hours after it’s completed as well. Doing interval training, you can easily torch calories faster, hour by hour, for up to 48 hours after each session you do.
The fat burning effects of this form of exercise were noted in a study published in the International Journal of Obesity where researchers had subjects perform high intensity interval exercise three times per week for 15 weeks or perform the same amount of steady state training. At the end of the study, those doing the interval
training lost significantly more total body fat loss as well as subcutaneous leg and trunk fat as well.
In addition to this, interval training will really crank up the results on your fitness level. No other form of cardio training has the capacity to help you reach peak cardiovascular shape. These workouts will trump your hour-long steady state workouts any day of the week. They’re also better for helping to preserve your lean muscle mass tissue and may even help elevate your natural testosterone release as well – a key hormone for keeping you feeling your best as a man.
Adding It To Your Workout Routine
So now that you can see what interval training is and why you should be doing, how do you go about adding it to your routine?
The very first thing to note is that you should not be doing this form of workout daily. As it is so very intense, you need to be careful about how frequently you add it and when you add it along with your usual weight lifting workouts. If you’re doing it too frequently, you’ll quickly over-train your central nervous system and performance on all workouts will start to decrease. Ideally, you should have no more than four very intense workouts per week. This
could be two interval workouts, one intense lower body workout, and one intense upper body workout. Then you could add two lower intensity lower and upper body workouts to this.
Or, perhaps you are doing a full body workout, three times per week. As full body
sessions are intense by nature, you could then add one interval training workout each week. Balance is key with this form of training to ensure that you see progress and feel your best while doing it. Also make sure to fuel your body well before and after each interval workout as well. You should treat it just as you would a weight lifting
workout session, making sure to eat a good source of carbohydrate and protein immediately before and after.
So if you’re ready for a challenge, make sure that you consider giving interval training a try. You can do this on any of your favorite forms of cardio as long as you are able to accelerate quickly to reach that top level intensity in mere seconds.