Interval training does what it says on the tin, and the activity you choose to do in the intervals is entirely up to you, as is the intensity of them. In saying that, you’ll know from previous articles, that I always caution against going too hard, too fast. But intervals which are appropriate to your fitness level can work spectacularly well, and have a dramatic effect on your overall strength, stamina and fat loss……fast.
Because interval training involves short bouts of intense effort followed by short bouts of moderate to low effort, it can be applied to a wide range of fitness activities. An example I use in my own training is sprinting, jogging, and kettlebell work, but really the permutations are endless.
Here are 5 good reasons for adding some intervals into your training mix :
- Time – You can get a heck of a lot done in a short amount of time, and at any time of the day. The key is to get your heart rate up, and keep it fluctuating. See my article on skipping which is great example of really effective intervals when you’re short on time. http://www.tempuspersonaltraining.co.uk/go-old-school-skipping/
- Fat Burning – Better than any fat burning pill – Short, and appropriately intense, intervals really work. It’s possible to get a better aerobic workout in 30 minutes using intervals than a slower, steadier pace for an hour.
- Minimal Equipment – In the same way as interval training is time efficient, it can also be effective with little or no equipment required – For example, running up and down the stairs at home or in the office
- Heart Health – The combination of high and low intensity, short intervals will ensure that your heart rate is constantly undulating, and your fitness level is likely to improve faster than by using moderate and continuous activities. (In saying that, I always advocate the use of a range of training styles, again depending on fitness levels and goal)
- EPOC – Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (aka the ‘after burn’) – Short and intense intervals can provide a significant boost to your metabolic rate for a whole day.
So definitely think about including some interval training in your exercise programme – they will add interest and variety as well as tangible fitness gains. My only word of caution is that the intensity should always be appropriate to your fitness level in order to avoid injury……….“Fast and Furious” can be fun