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How Can Interval Training Make You Lose Weight Fast?

Interval TrainingInterval training workouts are all the rage nowadays because of their fat burning ability in less time invested exercising. High intensity interval training is any exercise that alternates between short bursts of all out exertion, interspersed with a lower intensity phase. Experts say real, everyday living is more like what you subject your body to during interval training workouts. Take for instance walking up a flight of stairs (which would be a high intensity activity), and then walking on a flat surface (this would be the low intensity phase). The benefits of interval training are that it impacts everyday activities more effectively because it mimics the cardiovascular efforts for practical daily things.

The key to interval training workouts is you should get your heart rate up to 90 to 95 % of your maximum heart rate during the high intensity phase or interval. After that comes the recovery phase where you should be able to get your heart rate to about 60 to 70% of your maximum heart rate. Do these two alternating phases for about 6 to 8 times to complete an interval training workout. Here is a scientific explanation of the physiological effects of high intensity interval training from sportsmedicine.about.com.

“Interval training works both the aerobic and the anaerobic system. During the high intensity efforts, the anaerobic system uses the energy stored in the muscles (glycogen) for short bursts of activity. Anaerobic metabolism works without oxygen, but the by-product is lactic acid. As lactic acid builds, the athlete enters oxygen debt, and it is during the recovery phase that the heart and lungs work together to “pay back” this oxygen debt and break down the lactic acid. It is in this phase that the aerobic system is using oxygen to convert stored carbohydrates into energy.

It’s thought that by performing high intensity intervals that produce lactic acid during practice, the body adapts and burns lactic acid more efficiently during exercise. This means athletes can exercise at a higher intensity for a longer period of time before fatigue or pain slows them down.”

Interval training is also beneficial because you spend less time in the gym. Most experts would recommend no more than 30 to 40 minutes of exercise. This is because although you have left the gym, your elevated metabolism will continue to burn fat, even when have ceased working out. Again the key is to hit that 90 – 95% of maximum heart rate during the intense intervals to achieve this advantage. Since you spend less time in the gym, you also get to spare your muscles from being tapped as fuel.

These long bouts in the gym lead to being catabolic. One analogy often pointed at is the difference between a marathon and sprint runner. The marathon runner is skinny and reed thin. As we all know, marathons are long bouts of low to medium exertion. The sprint runner on the other hand is ripped with fuller muscular development. Sprints as we all know are short, all out, intense bursts of energy. We can expect the same muscle sparing benefits from high intensity interval training.

Here are more benefits outlined from the mayoclinic.com for why you should take up interval training workouts.

• You’ll burn more calories. The more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you’ll burn — even if you increase intensity for just a few minutes at a time.

• You’ll improve your aerobic capacity. As your cardiovascular fitness improves, you’ll be able to exercise longer or with more intensity. Imagine finishing your 60-minute walk in 45 minutes — or the additional calories you’ll burn by keeping up the pace for the full 60 minutes.

• You’ll keep boredom at bay. Turning up your intensity in short intervals can add variety to your exercise routine.

• You don’t need special equipment. You can simply modify your current routine.

Interval training workouts can be anything. While running and biking are popular choices, even weight lifting sessions can become interval training workouts, so long as you maintain the high intensity and recovery phases with little or no rest in between, akin to a circuit type routine. Here is a sample build and taper breakdown you can apply to any excises to achieve the fat loss benefits of intervals from Shape.

Build and taper the workout like this:

30 seconds sprint/30 seconds recover
1 minute sprint/1 minute recover
2 minutes sprint/2 minutes recover
4 minutes sprint/4 minutes recover
2 minutes sprint/2 minutes recover
1 minute sprint/1 minute recover
30 seconds sprint/30 seconds recover

To get you started, let’s use the treadmill as the basis for building a beginner’s interval workout. Interval training on treadmill workouts is extremely popular since you can do this in the convenience of your home or at the gym. It is also a weather proof routine given that you are always indoors regardless of the season. Running or walking is also the most natural movement we are habituated to, so there is nothing really to learn. Just suit up properly, wearing running appropriate apparel and shoes. Here is a routine for those beginning intervals on a treadmill.

Treadmill Workouts for Beginners from Workout Designs.

“One of the best treadmill workouts is this one. If you don’t mind the amount it time it takes to perform then this is one of the greatest cardio treadmill workouts. (This exercise generally takes up to 40 minutes)

Start the treadmill speed at 3.0 for five minutes.
Then increase the speed to 3.5 after the first five minutes.
After ten minutes has past increase the speed to 5.5.
At twelve minutes drop the speed back down to 3.5.
Then repeat that exercise one or two more times.

This exercise is similar to the interval workouts about because it is in intervals, but this exercise is designed for beginners. So you go from 3.0 to 3.5 to 5.5 and then back to 3.5.”

For those of you already into a workout routine, you can also check out this weight resistance based interval workout so you can incorporate lifting and aerobic sessions into one routine. That would mean burning fat, while at the same time preserving or building muscle. Again, keep the principles of intervals in mind, (an intense all out phase, followed by a recovery phase. Check out two examples here and here from exercise4weightloss.com.

Category: Body Workout

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