I’ve always found interval training exercises an awesome way to build on my fitness. These workouts have a few really good benefits that make them almost a must in my overall fitness routine. There’s the amazing fat burning effects. Research has shown that interval training burns fat at an elevated rate, and super charges the metabolism for at least 24 hours after your workout, burning even more calories.
And then there’s the aerobic capacity (VO2 Max) benefits. Research has also shown that the aerobic benefits are on par with traditional long endurance training!
But all that aside, I just find intervals fantastic for my fitness motivation. The importance of motivation on achieving our ultimate goals can’t be underestimated. It’s far too neglected . . . without taking it seriously, we are many more times likely to fail.
Intervals are good for your fitness motivation for a number of reasons . . .
Interval sessions tend to be shorter. For me, who doesn’t really enjoy long endurance sessions, this is fantastic! Depending on the type on intervals you do, you could be finished in as little as 4 minutes!
Imagine you worked your butt off for 4 weeks, then jumped on the scales and realised you had only lost half a pound. You would be de-motivated, right? With interval training, you see results quickly. There’s nothing more motivating than heading towards your ultimate goal at warp speed.
The Forms of Interval Training Exercises
There are different types of interval training. For example, there’s HIIT training, Tabata training, and Fartlek training to name the main intervals.
If you were an athlete your coach would design a specific interval session that would suit your specific sport or event.
But for general fitness, you can do all of them! Mixing things around is only good for you. You get an all over body workout keeping your muscles balanced, which helps minimise the risk of injury.
The basic principle of HIIT Training is that you perform 6 to 8 intervals of around 1 minute duration at about 90% of your maximum effort. In between intervals you recover for 1 minute by working at around 50% of maximum. These sessions last between 15 and 20 minutes.
Tabata Training is similar to HIIT training except you work at absolute maximum effort for a duration of 20 seconds. Your rest periods however are only 10 seconds! In total you perform 8 intervals, so your workouts are only 4 minutes long! Farlek Training is much more varied. Intervals can last from long 10 minute endurance intervals, to short 20 second sprints. These sessions tend to last longer than the other interval types, around 45 minutes or more.
The real good thing about these interval training exercises is that they are not limit to running. You can perform these swimming, rowing, cross-training, cycling, and so on.
For a list or actual interval workouts, take a look at the growing list of workout routines. Sift through and you’re bound to find something to suit your ultimate goal. Take them and modify them as you wish.