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Interval Training: How and Why

Interval training is, in my opinion, the best way to get the most out of your workout. Most of us are too busy to spend more than an hour a day working out when we have obligations to work, kids, social life, and so on and interval training is a great way to get a lot out of a workout in a minimal amount of time.

Interval training is working for short periods of time at a high intensity, followed by recovery periods that usually constitute simply resting. One of the main benefits of interval training is that you’ll burn a lot more calories in a small amount of time. Multiple studies indicate that steady state exercise (such as jogging) at a moderate pace (at about 65% max) for 40-60 minutes and interval training (near 95-100% max) favor the group that does interval training for 15-minutes when it comes to calorie expenditure. Not only can you burn more calories much faster, but interval training has the effect of burning calories two hours after you exercise. Exercise post oxygen consumption (EPOC), is the amount of oxygen required to return your body back to a resting level of function. EPOC has been shown to add 6-15% calorie expenditure to a workout for about two hours after a session (McCall, 2014).  So if you burn 500 calories in a short 10-30 minute interval training session, it is possible that you burn an additional 30-75 calories during the next 2-hour period, even if that means you’re lying on the couch.

Another benefit, in my opinion, is that interval training is more fun and something you’re more likely to stick to. I’ve always hated the long, tedious runs on the treadmill or out on the bike path, and prefer to get after it for a short period of time and feel like I’ve really taxed my body. And for the runners that are ready to come in and tell me how enjoyable a 20-mile run is, which you will never be able to convince me of, there is a benefit to you as well. Interval training has proved to help boost endurance too, as it increases your oxidative capacity VO2max, which is a measure of how much oxygen gets to the muscle during aerobic exercise. So if you want to perform better in your next long, boring (just kidding…kind of) triathlon, mix in a day or two of interval training to your regimen. I could continue on with the many benefits of interval training (heart health, insulin sensitivity, hormone production) but I’ll continue on to offer some progressive programs for you to try out on your own.

Again, as I know that a lot of you reading this are members of The PIT or prospective members, I’ll relate this to how you could program out a 5-day period of workouts. Most people attend group fitness classes either in The PIT or at other facilities 2-3 times per week. Let’s say you attend Monday, Wednesday, and Friday but think that you could sneak in 10-30 minutes on at least one other day a week (everyone can). Tuesday and/or Thursday would be ideal for interval training. Pick an exercise you like, such as sprinting, Airdyne Bike, rowing machine, burpees, kettlebell swings, battle rope, or anything else you can think of that makes you gasp for breath in a short period of time. Can’t get into the gym? You could still do burpees, mountain climber, jump rope, or even treadmill sprints in the comfort of your own home. Looking at the first week we have a very manageable 11-minute workout. As the weeks go on the workouts get slightly harder, with either less rest, longer duration, or both. If you decide to go through the entire 30 weeks, you would still only be training for 24-minutes at the most. For those that feel that they are more advanced, I would recommend starting at week four or later, or starting at the beginning with 3-week splits of 10,12, and 15 instead of the 8,10,12 repetition pattern that you see. Remember, the absolute key to this is that you perform at near 100% effort. If you decide to use sprint intervals, SPRINT!  If this seems too hard at first, go as hard as you can for as many repetitions as possible with the goal of doing 1 or 2 repetitions more the following week. For those of you that hate doing one thing continuously, I have also included a body weight circuit that you can do in your home and is set up in a continuous progressive manner. It wouldn’t be bad to do one day of the body weight circuit, one day of the interval training, and 2-3 days of your group fitness class to reach maximum results.

Also, remember members, that if you are signed up for the three days/week package, you are limitless! So you can make your three days/week of traditional sessions and come to our MyZone classes up to three other days during the week. The MyZone classes are based on the interval training principles we have discussed and they are only 45-minutes long. Hope this article was helpful and I urge you to try to get at least one day of intense interval training in each week.

Thanks,

Nick Nundahl C.S.C.S.
PIT Coach and Personal Trainer
Four Seasons Health Club
Nick Photo PIT


For a printable version of the interval workouts provided below, click here


WEEKS 1-3

WEEK 1 WORK 20 SECS: REST 1 MIN (REPEAT 8 TIMES)

WEEK 2 WORK 20 SECS: REST 1 MIN (REPEAT 10 TIMES)

WEEK 3 WORK 20 SECS: REST 1 MIN (REPEAT 12 TIMES)

WEEKS 4-6

WEEK 4 WORK 30 SECS: REST 1 MIN (REPEAT 8 TIMES)

WEEK 5 WORK 30 SECS: REST 1 MIN (REPEAT 10 TIMES)

WEEK 6 WORK 30 SECS: REST 1 MIN (REPEAT 12 TIMES)

WEEKS 7-9

WEEK 7 WORK 30 SECS: REST 45 SECS (REPEAT 8 TIMES)

WEEK 8 WORK 30 SECS: REST 45 SECS (REPEAT 10 TIMES)

WEEK 9 WORK 30 SECS: REST 45 SECS (REPEAT 12 TIMES)

WEEKS 10-12

WEEK 10 WORK 30 SECS: REST 30 SECS (REPEAT 8 TIMES)

WEEK 11 WORK 30 SECS: REST 30 SECS (REPEAT 10 TIMES)

WEEK 12 WORK 30 SECS: REST 30 SECS (REPEAT 12 TIMES)

WEEKS 13-15

WEEK 13 WORK 45 SECS: REST 1 MIN 30 SECS (REPEAT 8 TIMES)

WEEK 14 WORK 45 SECS: REST 1 MIN 30 SECS (REPEAT 10 TIMES)

WEEK 15 WORK 45 SECS: REST 1 MIN 30 SECS (REPEAT 12 TIMES)

WEEKS 16-18

WEEK 16 WORK 45 SECS: REST 1 MIN (REPEAT 8 TIMES)

WEEK 17 WORK 45 SECS: REST 1 MIN (REPEAT 10 TIMES)

WEEK 18 WORK 45 SECS: REST 1 MIN (REPEAT 12 TIMES)

WEEKS 19-21

WEEK 19 WORK 45 SECS: REST 45 SECS (REPEAT 8 TIMES)

WEEK 20 WORK 45 SECS: REST 45 SECS (REPEAT 10 TIMES)

WEEK 21 WORK 45 SECS: REST 45 SECS (REPEAT 12 TIMES)

WEEKS 22-24

WEEK 22 WORK 1 MIN: REST 2 MIN (REPEAT 8 TIMES)

WEEK 23 WORK 1 MIN: REST 2 MIN (REPEAT 10 TIMES)

WEEK 24 WORK 1 MIN: REST 2 MIN (REPEAT 12 TIMES)

WEEKS 25-27

WEEK 25 WORK 1 MIN: REST 1 MIN 30 SECS (REPEAT 8 TIMES)

WEEK 26 WORK 1 MIN: REST 1 MIN 30 SECS (REPEAT 10 TIMES)

WEEK 27 WORK 1 MIN: REST 1 MIN 30 SECS (REPEAT 12 TIMES)

WEEKS 28-30

WEEK 28 WORK 1 MIN: REST 1 MIN (REPEAT 8 TIMES)

WEEK 29 WORK 1 MIN: REST 1 MIN (REPEAT 10 TIMES)

WEEK 30 WORK 1 MIN: REST 1 MIN (REPEAT 12 TIMES)

BODY WEIGHT CIRCUIT

WEEK 1                                             WEEK 2                                             WEEK 3

BURPEES X 10                                 BURPEES X 12                                 BURPEES X 15

PUSHUPS X 10                                PUSHUPS X 12                                 PUSHUPS X 15

SQUATS X 15                                   SQUATS X 18                                   SQUATS X 20

JUMP SQUATS X 12                      JUMPS SQUATS X 15                      JUMP SQUATS X 18

SL SITUPS X 10                                SL SITUPS X 12                                SL SITUPS X 15

FLUTTER KICKS X 20 EA.                       FLUTTER KICKS X 25 EA.               FLUTTER KICKS X 30 EA.

MTN. CLIMBER X 30 SECS.                    MTN CLIMBER X 35 SECS.               MTN. CLIMBER X 40 SECS.

PLANK X 40 SECS.                          PLANK X 45 SECS.                       PLANK X 50 SECS.

3 ROUNDS                                           3 ROUNDS                                3 ROUNDS

 

WEEK 4                                             WEEK 5                                             WEEK 6

BURPEES X 10                                 BURPEES X 12                                 BURPEES X 15

PUSHUPS X 10                                 PUSHUPS X 12                                 PUSHUPS X 15

SQUATS X 15                                   SQUATS X 18                                     SQUATS X 20

JUMP SQUATS X 12                        JUMPS SQUATS X 15                    JUMP SQUATS X 18

SL SITUPS X 10                                SL SITUPS X 12                                SL SITUPS X 15

FLUTTER KICKS X 20 EA.             FLUTTER KICKS X 25 EA.           FLUTTER KICKS X 30 EA.

MTN. CLIMBER X 30 SECS.          MTN CLIMBER X 35 SECS.          MTN. CLIMBER X 40 SECS.

PLANK X 40 SECS.                          PLANK X 45 SECS.                          PLANK X 50 SECS.

4 ROUNDS                                        4 ROUNDS                                        4 ROUNDS

 

References

McCall, Pete. “7 Things to Know About Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption

(EPOC).” Www.acefitness.org. 28 Aug. 2014. Web. 23 May 2016.

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