Do you get on the treadmill, elliptical, or bike everyday and set it for that so-easy-to-read-your-magazine-while-working-out pace? Before you know it, 30 to 45 minutes have gone by and you’ve barely broken a sweat. What gives?
Chances are you’re not working out at an intensity that provides your body with enough of a challenge. Also, if you do the same workout day after day, your body becomes more efficient (trained) at that exercise and burns less calories doing it. It’s almost like your wasting your precious gym time and having no results to show for it.
Well, it’s time to change it up. Have you heard of interval training?
Interval training is including brief bursts of high-intensity exercise to your cardio program. You can do it on your favorite piece of cardio equipment. Warm up for 5 minutes, then do a 1 minute burst of high intensity, followed by 1-2 minutes at your normal pace; alternate for 5 minutes, gradually working up to 20 minutes of intervals. Always take 5 minutes to cool down before getting off the machine. If you don’t belong to a gym and your workout involves walking or jogging, you can still do intervals. Alternate 1 minutes of running with walking or minutes of faster running with your usual jogging pace.
During these “sprints,” your heart pumps faster and harder, increasing your heart rate. Not only does it strengthen your heart, it burns a lot more calories. It’s a pretty intense workout, so don’t do it everyday – aim for doing intervals twice a week (on non-consecutive days).
Researchers have found that 20 minutes of interval training is just as effective at strengthening your heart as one hour of moderate exercise.
So, when you’re crunched for time, intervals are your answer for a kick-ass workout!