I’m falling in love with interval training. In the past, when I would hop on the treadmill, I’d walk for 5 minutes at a warm up pace, walk for 20 to 30 minutes at a brisk pace, and then cool down for 5 minutes. I’d feel good, and I’d be sweating, but I never really felt like I had worked out. But now I have discovered interval training. And, man, it rocks!
Instead of walking at a steady pace, interval training requires you to change your pace, several times, during a treadmill (or eliptical or stair stepper) routine. When I get off of the treadmill, I feel exhausted – and exhilarated.
According to the Mayo Clinic -
Once the domain of elite athletes, interval training has become a powerful tool for the average exerciser, too.
* You’ll burn more calories. The more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you’ll burn – even if you increase intensity for just a few minutes at a time.
* You’ll improve your aerobic capacity. As your cardiovascular fitness improves, you’ll be able to exercise longer or with more intensity. Imagine finishing your 60-minute walk in 45 minutes – or the additional calories you’ll burn by keeping up the pace for the full 60 minutes.
* You’ll keep boredom at bay. Turning up your intensity in short intervals can add variety to your exercise routine.
* You don’t need special equipment. You can simply modify your current routine.
After a bit of searching, I found several interval training workouts, but my favorite is in mp3 audio form, over at the Get Fit Pod podcast. I downloaded the free mp3, put in on my mp3 player, and hit the treadmill. Skip, the creator of the Get Fit Pod, talked me through an awesome 34 minute treadmill interval training session. I strongly encourage you to download this particular episode – and consider subscribing to the Get Fit Pod podcast.
The routine from Get Fit Pod kicked my butt. I managed to do MOST of the routine, but the two longest sessions, where Skip asked us to run as fast as we could for a full 2 minutes, right in the middle of the routine, just killed me. I managed to go 1:45 for the first all out interval and 1:30 for the second. Other than that, I managed to keep up with him. And now, hours later, I can STILL feel the effects. Amazing.
One side note: If you decide to do interval training (or intervals training, as I’ve seen it labeled), be careful! It’s intense. Again, from the Mayo Clinic site -
If you have a chronic health condition or haven’t been exercising regularly, consult your doctor before trying any type of interval training.
Have any of you tried interval training? I’d love to read about your experiences.