Interval Training for Weight Loss

Interval training is an extremely useful form of exercise for weight loss, especially when pursued as part of with a regular exercise routine. It livens up boring workout plans, and helps slimmers get through the tough spells when their weight loss levels out. In essence, interval training reinforces physical endurance while significantly increasing the fat burning process.

Benefits of Interval Training

  • Overcome a plateau. If you have a regular exercise plan and it’s not delivering the results it brought initially, spice it up with interval sessions a couple of times a week and you’ll quickly smash through the barrier.
  • Avoid boredom. This is an exciting brand of exercise, adding freshness and variety to the dull monotony which can envelop your regular workout routine.
  • It’s quick. In about half an hour you’ll have blasted through the entire routine.
  • It’s simple. You don’t need fancy kit or machines to benefit from interval training, and virtually anyone can do it.
  • Build lean muscle. As you put on more lean muscle mass, the speed of your metabolism will rise.

The Routine

Just like any other exercise routine, you’ll need to begin slowly and gradually increase your heart rate with a warm-up. Once you’ve entered your target heart rate zone you can progress to the next phase, which should last for no longer than five minutes. Use the target heart rate calculator if you haven’t already got a clear idea of your target zone. After you have reached the target, you can move to high-intensity exercise. This phase should last for approximately 60 seconds. After the high intensity stage, return the more gentle level for another 4 to 5 minutes. Continue to alternate the two phases for 30 minutes.

If you begin at a brisk walk for the low intensity phase, for the high intensity you should move over to jogging. If you begin with jogging, the second phase should move up to a sprint – simple!

Because this type of routine involves both anaerobic (without oxygen) and aerobic disciplines, you need to take certain safety steps. The high-intensity sections should last for only 25 or 50% of the time you spend in low-intensity training, depending on your state of fitness. Don’t push yourself too far, or you run the risk of injury.

High intensity exercises are not meant to last prolonged stretches of time. Your muscles are working far harder, and they will cramp up much more quickly. During this stage of the routine, oxygen is not available for energy and lactic acid is created, leading directly to muscle fatigue. When you feel a burn in the muscles, you should definitely return to the lower-intensity level; as you decrease the intensity the lactic acid dissipates.

Low intensity exercises have a more effective carbon dioxide and oxygen exchange, and the burning sensation will disappear. Don’t slow down too much though; if your pulse drops too far, you ruin the benefits of interval training.

The interval cycle is complete when a high intensity stage is followed by a low intensity phase. In 30 minutes you’ll be able to complete a five-minute warm-up and around five complete cycles. As you improve your endurance, you can even elongate the training session beyond 30 minutes. Be sure to stretch your muscles after the entire sequence is finished, to soften any soreness you might feel once the exercise is over.

Beginners should start out with just one interval training session each week, and gradually ramp it up. Those at a higher grade of fitness would benefit from two or three sessions a week. You can also carry out interval training on a stationary bike, stair stepper or elliptical trainer.

When you introduce an interval training routine with a regular exercise plan, and pursue the right slimming tips, the results can be extremely impressive!