Interval training is a terrific fat burner and fitness builder that will help you make rapid progress.
Many people mistakenly believe the best way to lose weight through exercise is to train at a very slow pace for a long time. This notion came from Scandinavian studies conducted in the 1960s that showed the body used more fat when exercising very slowly than when training more intensely. Some people interpreted these results to mean that low-intensity exercise is better for losing fat.
This notion is nonsense! You lose fat by burning more calories than you take in. You will burn many more calories training intensely than exercising slowly. The body does not metabolize fats by themselves. Rather, fat use is integrated with carbohydrate and protein metabolism. Even if you used more fat during exercise, fuel storage balances itself out according to energy balance – calories in versus calories out. Intense exercise causes you to burn more calories and fat after the exercise is over. So, when trying to lose fat, work harder and burn more calories.
What Is Interval Training?
If you’re exercising to lose weight, adding interval training to your program will help you burn more calories. Interval training refers to bouts of higher intensity exercise interspersed with periods of lower intensity exercise or rest. Let’s say your current workout is a steady 45-minute cardio class in which you’re working at about 70 to 85 percent of maximum heart rate. If you introduce short periods of higher intensity sprints (at 80 to 100 percent of max) into the mix, you’ll do more work and burn more calories in the same amount of time. Also, you’ll rev up your metabolism so you continue burning calories even after you stop exercising. You can use interval training for all your favorite cardio exercises, including ground or treadmill running, stair climbers, elliptical trainers, swimming, or cycling.
Interval training also builds muscle power that will carry over to your weight-training workouts. The stronger muscles you build doing intervals will make it easier to do leg exercises such as lunges and squats and give you greater stamina that will help you better cope with your busy schedule. Intervals will also develop lower body muscles faster and better than almost any other type of exercise.
Intervals can be a real time-saver, too. You know you need to run, work on the elliptical trainer, or ride a bike to cut fat, but you just can’t face the boredom of slogging along on the roads or looking at a blank wall for a half-hour – or, you just don’t have the time. Interval training not only makes you run faster, but also enhances cell enzymes that improve fuel use at rest and during exercise. Previously, scientists thought you needed to run for 45 minutes or more per workout to get these cellular effects. If you train intensely in short bouts, you can get more benefits in less time. An added benefit is that interval training turns up your metabolic furnace so you continue to burn more calories than normal all day long.