Interval Training: Why you need this high to low exercise


Interval training can help anyone get those most out of their cardiovascular workouts. This training involves alternating short high intensity bursts with active rest periods. Doesn’t sound very complicated or challenging on paper, but this is no simple or easy workout to complete. The best part is that anyone can do intervals from the novice to the advanced gym goer. All you need is a stopwatch.

Heart Rate

Your goal should match your effort. Start by finding your resting heart rate. For a couple days track your pulse in the morning right when you get out of bed. The appropriate training zone can be determined with maximum heart rate. Take 200 minus your age. Now calculate your heart rate reserve. Take your maximum heart rate and subtract your resting heart rate. The fat burning zone is at 50-75% effort rate. Let’s take the example of a 40 year old person. They have determined their resting heart rate to be 80 beats per minute. Now, 220 minus 40 is 180 which is the maximum heart rate. 180 minus 80 is 100 for the heart rate reserve. Next, we have 50% and 75% of 100 which are 50 and 75 beats per minute. However, we need to add back in the resting heart rate. We have 50 + 80 which is 130 and 75 + 80 which is 155. Finally, this means that in order to best burn fat, this 40 year old person needs to do this interval training with a heart rate between 130 and 155 beats per minute.

Exercises are selected and performed at this target heart rate zone. For example, you might sprint or pick up the pace on the treadmill, Elliptical, or row machine for 30 seconds, then recover for 15 seconds either slowing down this pace or stopping then starting again. Then you might repeat this cycle for 20 minutes. You could even do this biking. The time selection can vary depending on your cardiovascular level. Maybe sprinting for 1 minute requires 1 minute of walking for you at this point. In the near future as you improve, recovery might reduce to 45 seconds or 30 seconds. They key is moving at different speeds to spike and lower the heart rate.

Why Intervals

As your cardiovascular ability improves with that lower required rest period, you are building up your oxygen capacity. Calories are being torched. Intervals also have that afterburn affect in which your body continues to burn calories hours later throughout the day. Your metabolism is certainly functioning at a higher rate. Your fat is crying and disappearing even while you are sitting at work. Interval training is not about comfort zones. Your body adapts to steady state cardio. The heart does not grow stronger when it is not asked to try harder. The body is pumping more blood during interval training. With the constant changes in pace, the heart becomes more resilient. These time efficient energy expenditures are truly great for you. Slow and steady doesn’t win the race when it comes to your heart health. All you really need is your body. Intervals are extremely versatile and can be done almost anywhere with any type of equipment, even on the TRX. The constant mix up will keep you motivated and entertained.

Changing the pace changes your body. Get off the treadmill cardio hamstring wheel or at least go fast and slow down on it. Adding interval training to your routine will benefit your heart and your reflection.

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Dr. Megan Johnson McCullough owns a fitness studio in Oceanside CA called Every BODY's Fit. She has a Doctorate in Health and Human Performance, M.A. in Physical Education & Health Science, and she's an NASM Master Trainer & Instructor. She's also a professional natural bodybuilder, fitness model, Wellness Coach, and AFAA Group Exercise Instructor. She has 6 books on Amazon too,.