Its nothing new, but interval training is an often overlooked way of maximizing the effectiveness of your work out. By mixing bouts of high intensity cardio, with low intensity recovery periods, you work both the anaerobic and aerobic systems at the same time. This allows the body to benefit from both aspects of training simultanously, burning fat and building muscle.
What exercises you perform are up to you, but the general pattern is as follows. For example, if on a treadmill, start slow. Walk or jog lightly until your body has warmed up, and your heart rate gradually increases. Next comes the high intensity. Break into a sprint or fast jog (depending on your ability), and you begin to feel the burn. You will not be able to maintain such a level of intensity for too long.
When you have exhausted your muscles, decrease intensity to a level you feel comfortable maintaining. However, be careful not to allow the intensity dip too low, or you lose aerobic effectiveness. Your heart rate should lower, and the burn gradually disappear. Congratulations, you have completed one cycle of interval training!
Initially, you can expect the periods of recovery to be longer than the high intensity activity. As your fitness levels increase, and your body adapts to interval training, typically spend longer at a high level of intensity, and survivor recovery periods.
High Intensity Interval Training is a great way of shaking up your exercise routine. We all hit plateaus in our training territory, where we feel that we are no longer progressing. Interval training tests your body in different ways, and can be the perfect method of overcoming such plateaus. Additionally, due to the mixing up of exercise intensities, your time can become less monotonous, and lets face it, we all get bored of the gym sometimes. More importantly, its a great way of using your time effectively, as its a proven fat buster and muscle builder. We are all conscious of having less time to spend on activities outside of work, so if you make the effort to exercise, make sure its as worthwhile as possible.
However, due to the high intensity of these workouts, it is of utmost importance to allow the body to recover between sessions of interval training. It is recommended that you do not perform interval training on consecutive days. In fact, when introducing interval training into your territory, you might be wise to start slowly, sometimes once a week initially, before increasing to maximum three times a week. Used as part of your regular period, twice weekly should be sufficient to allow you to see results.