Is your exercise routine getting boring or just not providing the same kind of results as it once did? If so, you might wanna look into interval training.It doesn’t matter what you like to do… running, zamba, swimming, spin classes, etc. All you have to do to incorporate interval training is to push it extremely hard for a few minutes, then slow it down or rest for a few minutes (or maybe seconds).
What’s this do? You’re stressing the heck out of your cardiovascular system, that’s what! Why would you want to do that? Your muscles build up something called lactic acid. This acid improves your stamina, energy and strength. So while you’re on the down swing and easy mode (or rest) your body is actually preparing for the next push.
Professional athletes or at least life-long athletes have been using interval training for years. They know it’s the key to getting quick results and constantly improving your athletic ability. But for the general population, it’s still relatively new. Let’s look at why you should incorporate interval training into your routine…
It’s been shown that if you use interval training to its fullest, you can greatly improve your athletic ability. Your body learns to maximize the use of oxygen to gain energy when you need it – much better than if you always maintained the same level of difficulty in an exercise session. As your body learns to process oxygen better, you get stronger. You get faster. You up your game dramatically.
Are You Ready for Interval Training?
Of course, if you’re a beginner who has just started to exercise routinely then you may need to wait a bit before you try to push yourself too hard in interval training. You need to have a solid base level of physical fitness or you’re very likely going to risk injuries. If you don’t have any health conditions, shoot for 30-40 minutes of exercise several times per week at least. When you’ve been doing that and are comfortable with it, aim to get to a heart rate of 220 minus your age. i.e. if you’re 20, then aim for 200. That’s how you can figure your max heart rate.
Start Interval Training
Ok, you’ve been exercising regularly and you’ve established a healthy, strong fitness base. It’s time to up the ante. But don’t do interval training everyday. Your body needs 24/48 hours to fully recover from such intense exercise. Also keep in mind that with interval training, you’ll burn quite a bit more carbs than before. That means you should feed some extra carbs back into your body to refuel and recover. Don’t go crazy, but get a few hundred grams definitely.
Don’t Crash and Burn
When you start doing intervals you want to make sure that you’ll be able to finish. If you’re running, do a strong fast run during the high-intensity portions, but don’t flat out sprint if that means you won’t be able to finish. By being able to finish, we mean two things: You want to be able to finish the last few seconds high-intensity portions with the same speed and strength as the fist few seconds. You also want the last high-intensity portion to be as strong as the first one of the day. Remember it doesn’t have to be an ‘all or nothing’ type of thing. Some research has shown just as good results with medium-intensity portions as high-intensity. Just make sure you’re getting in those short burst of oomph!