Burn Fat with Interval Training

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If you do any kind of exercise, or have ever talked to a personal trainer, you must have heard of Interval Training by now.  It has become quite a popular type of exercise in recent times, due to the fact that it is a more efficient way to exercise and burn fat.  But what exactly is it, and how does it work? Here are the answers to your most frequently asked questions regarding Interval Training.

What is Interval Training (HIIT)?

Interval Training is also called High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and it is a form of exercise that involves interchanging intervals of short period (1 minute) high burst activity, and longer (2 minute) recovery.

What are the benefits of Interval Training?

  • The biggest benefit of HIIT is that it can burn more fat than regular low-intensity exercise such as slow jogging/fast paced walking for long distance.
  • HIIT is more efficient and requires less time to burn the same amount of calories as low-intensity training. Therefore, you can get the same benefits in a shorter period, saving yourself precious time.  A 30-minute HIIT session will burn the same or more calories as a 1-hour slow-pace jog.
  • HIIT can also increase your cardiovascular endurance faster than long-distance low intensity exercise, because it is far more demanding on your body.
  • HIIT increases your metabolism, so you will continue to burn more calories even after your workout as compared to low-intensity training.
  • HIIT is much more fun to do than steady low-level cardio. It keeps you engaged in the exercise and it feels like the time passes by faster.

How does it work?

To explain why HIIT is much more effective and efficient, you must first understand what is aerobic and anaerobic exercise.

Aerobic exercise is low-intensity, can be performed for extended period of time, and requires the use of your cardiovascular system. Examples are jogging, fast walking, dancing, and climbing stairs.

Anaerobic exercise requires speed, strength and power for example sprinting, weight lifting and anything that requires you to use your muscles.

With HIIT, by interchanging the aerobic (low-intensity) and anaerobic (high-intensity) exercise, you are challenging both systems simultaneously. Both types of training are beneficial to your body, and by mixing them up you are maximizing their effects.

You burn more fat with HIIT because with the periods of high-intensity you build more muscle.  And as we all know, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.

How do you do Interval Training?

You can Interval-train at the gym or on the road.  It is easier to do it on a treadmill as you have the timer right in front of you.

  1. Set the incline to 1.0
  1. Aim to go for about 30 minutes, including a 3-5 minute warm-up of fast-paced walk. Warming up is very important to prevent sprains and injuries, and to warm-up your muscles.
  1. After the warm-up, start running for 1 minute. If you are a beginner, start at 8 km/h pace jog and increase by 0.1 points every interval. For advanced runners, you can start at 18 km/h pace and increase the same way.  You should feel out of breath and high exertion while at this pace.
  1. After a minute of your run/jog, drop the speed down to a fast-paced walk for 2 minutes. 5.5 for beginners, 6.5 for advanced. During your recovery periods, don’t slow down too much. It is important to still keep the heart rate up for an aerobic effect. But this should be a welcome break from the fast run.
  1. Repeat this sequence 8-10 times.
  1. Cool down for 3-5 minutes.

Example Session

Here’s an example of my routine being an intermediate level runner:

Minute 1, 2, 3: Warm-up – Fast-paced walk at 6.0 – 6.5

Minute 4: Run at 11.0

Minute 5, 6: Fast-paced walk at 6.5

Minute 7: Run at 11.1

Minute 8, 9: Fast-paced walk at 6.5

Minute 10: Run at 11.2

Minute 11, 12: Fast-paced walk at 6.5

Minute 13: Run at 11.3

Minute 14, 15: Fast-paced walk at 6.5

…Continue in the same way until you reach 27 minutes

Minute 27-30: Cool down. Walk at 6.0, dropping down one point for each minute

 

I love interval training, and do it a couple of times a week. It is a fun way to burn fat and calories while still enjoying the exercise.

 

Note: If at any point you feel faint or unwell, stop the exercise and rest. Or lower the pace of your run. If you have certain medical conditions that prevent you from doing this type of exercise, do not perform it unless discussed with your physician.

Breathing Tip:

When running, breathe in through your nose; exhale through your mouth.

Running Tip:

Keep your arms bent at the elbow and close to your chest. Try landing on the ball of your foot instead of the heel to prevent injuries in the future.

Music Tip:

Having great music to aid you through this exercise is very important. It should be something very up-beat and energetic. Check out Natalie’s Energizing Music Mix playlist to help you power through the workout.

 

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