Get In Shape The Smart Way
Interval Training is a period of work followed by a period of rest. For example I get some of my clients to go flat out on a cross trainer or spinning bike for 45 seconds and then go as easy as they like for 45 seconds. This would be classed as one interval. It’s that simple! There are a few key things you need to know to get the most out of this great method of exercise :-
1) Correct intensity is crucial to get results
The whole point of interval training for weight loss and fitness is to push each interval with a maximum effort. When you push your body to exhaustion many times over an exercise session their is an “oxygen debt” created. This “oxygen debt” has to be paid back by the body and this requires energy. Over the 24 hours after your exercise session the body gets this energy from the excess fat stored on your body – as trainers we often refer to this as the “after burn”.
Put simply you need to feel like you physically can not continue by the end of your interval. You can measure this by a simple talk test. If you can only say one word back to yourself by the end of the interval without taking a breath then your working at the right level. If you can talk back complete sentences then you need to work harder!
Unfortunately most exercise classes do not have the structure to push people to the levels high enough to get the benefits of interval training. Doing squats, lunges, sit ups and press ups is not going to get you to the levels needed for a good long ‘after-burn’. If you want to burn serious body fat off your body for up to 24 hours after your exercise session then you will need to run, get on a bike, cross trainer, swim or even box.
The reason why personal trainers like myself get the best results with their clients is because we use interval training as the primary method to lose fat off our clients bodies. We know the levels that our clients MUST get to in order to burn fat after their session and we motivate them to ensure every interval is done at the right level.
2) Start at the right level for your current fitness level
If you currently exercise then usually it’s fine to get stuck straight in and go for 16, 45 second all out intervals over a 1 hour gym session and these can be broken down into sets of 4 at a time (any time left over can be used for strength and core training).
If you are a complete beginner then interval training is going to be a big shock to your body! This does not mean you can’t do it, it just be sensible. For example if I have a new client who is a beginner I typically only do 30 seconds per interval. I will then give them approximatly 90 seconds between each interval and we will do 4 in total per set. After a set of 4 intervals we might then do some light strength work for several minutes and then maybe do another set of intervals on the cross trainer, bike or boxing pads depending on how the client is feeling. A complete beginner will typically manage 2 sets of 4 intervals on their first session, as well as some light strength work, core and flexibility.
The key is to build it up each week, for example if you managed 2 sets your first week, aim to start the third set the following week, in only a couple of months you will be up to 16 intervals and then is the time to up your interval time. For example if you were going for 30 seconds try to up this to 45 seconds per interval and work on cutting your recovery time to being the same as your hard interval time.
3) Don’t go too long
Typically the body can go “all out” for up to 120 seconds, if your able to go beyond that then your typically not exercising hard enough during your interval. I have found that once a client has been with me for a month that 45-60 seconds is the perfect interval time. This is the perfect balance between getting results from your training and being psychologically achievable. I mention psychologically as properly executed interval training is not only tough on the body but on the mind to. Taking your body to all out exhaustion many times over an hour is tough mentally and I see most people cope best with 45-60 second intervals.
4) Don’t do too much
In most cases you only need to do interval training twice a week and maybe this can progress to 3 times a week after 3 months. The body is actually recovering the day after an interval training session so doing back to back sessions is a big no no. Your risk of injury goes up over time if you do back to back interval training sessions and your immune system can also be affected. Trust me, if your doing interval training at the correct intensity you will only want to do it twice a week. To put it in perspective, most of my personal training clients train with me twice a week and do nothing on their own. The vast majority all get to their goal weight and recently I lost a client over 3 stone in just 3 months of interval training, twice a week.
5) Check with your doctor before you start
Interval training is not for everybody. Some people with high blood pressure, raised cholesterol or heart conditions for example are best checking with their doctor first. I train 100’s of people every year with this method, but always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.
6) Get out there and try it
It’s all well and good reading this blog and then never acting upon it! After a good 5 minute warm up you can be ready to start your first interval training session. I am a strong advocator of just getting started, once you do that first session then you are on the road to success.
If you need a push in the right direction then why not try personal training with me? I have a private studio in Bedford, Bedfordshire or I can visit you at your home and even local park. I will show you exactly how to get the most out of your interval training and get you to your goal fast and safely. You can see more about me and what I can offer you by going to my home page or why not use the contact form below and send me a message today!
For a more technical look at what happens to the body with interval training please of to – http://healthyliving.azcentral.com/interval-training-burn-fat-4600.html[raw][contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"][/raw]