Standard training regimens can yield great results with good form and consistency. However, if you’re not satisfied with the pace of your progress, then you may want to try incorporating interval training into routines to increase your endurance, burn fat, and increase gains more efficiently than ever before. Interval training is super beneficial yet incredibly easy to get into, so if you want to get the most out of your training sessions, then you should check out this introduction to interval training to see if it’s right for you.
What Is Interval Training?
Most training regimens involve performing a certain number of sets and resting between each set. This can greatly extend the duration of your workouts and reduce your heart rate between sets. Consequently, standard workouts regularly take you out of the states of aerobic stress and anaerobic stress necessary to efficiently increase muscular and cardiovascular endurance.
Unlike other training routines, interval training keeps you constantly on the go. A set of interval training consists of one high-intensity work interval and one moderate-intensity recovery interval without any rest between intervals. You also don’t rest between sets. Thus, to get through four sets of an interval training exercise, you would continuously alternate between a high-intensity interval and a moderate-intensity interval without rest until you’ve completed each interval four times. You can use interval training with almost any kind of cardiovascular activity. For an intermediate runner, an interval training session could include:
- Four minutes of light jogging as a warm-up
- A work interval consisting of two minutes of intense running
- A recovery interval consisting of four minutes of moderate-intensity jogging
- Four sets of alternating moderate and intense cycles
- A four-minute walk to cool down after the completion of all intervals
What Equipment Do I Need To Get Into Interval Training?
Interval training requires very little equipment, making this workout extremely budget-friendly and convenient for anyone. You only need a timer and the typical equipment or facilities necessary for your preferred activity. For example, a swimmer would need access to a pool, and a rower would need access to a kayak or rowing machine. Your clothes and shoes should fit comfortably and be weather-appropriate if you’re exercising outdoors.
What Is High-Intensity Interval Training?
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a common variation of interval training. Like regular interval training, HIIT involves alternating between intense and lighter exercises without rest. However, unlike interval training, the work interval should be close to maximal effort. While you would run at high speed during the intense cycle of regular interval training, you would sprint as quickly as possible in the intense cycle of an HIIT routine. Moreover, the duration of the recovery interval shouldn’t be longer than the work interval. For example, an HIIT exercise with a two-minute work interval should alternate to a two-minute recovery interval.
Is Interval Training Aerobic or Anaerobic?
Interval training activates the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. As an aerobic exercise, interval training activates the cardiovascular system and allows your blood to carry a higher volume of oxygen throughout the body over time. On top of that, the work interval of this training regimen is intense enough to activate the anaerobic energy system, so your muscles can expand and use glucose more efficiently.
How Does Interval Training Improve Muscular Endurance?
Your muscles need oxygen to function properly. When your muscle fibers don’t have access to sufficient oxygen, they must be able to burn glucose as quickly and efficiently as possible. Because interval training is aerobic and anaerobic, your muscles will receive more oxygen, and they’ll make better use of vital glucose stores. In turn, you will be able to perform more reps of anaerobic exercises and engage in cardiovascular activities with greater intensity and for longer periods without rest.
Is Interval Training Safe for Everyone?
Intense interval training may not be a great starting point for someone with a sedentary lifestyle or certain medical problems. A complete beginner should start with lighter cardio activities to build endurance and learn proper form before incorporating interval training into their fitness regimen. If you are not sure whether interval training is safe for you, then you should speak to your personal trainer.
What if I Don’t Like Interval Training?
Not every workout routine is going to appeal to every person. The best exercise regimen is the one that you will stick to. If you dread every interval training session, then you will be more likely to skip the gym altogether and engage in unhealthy habits instead. You may want to decrease the intensity of your interval training sessions or try different interval training workouts before completely abandoning this useful training routine. Still, while interval training can be very beneficial, it’s not the only way to achieve your fitness goals, so you shouldn’t feel bad if you want to cut interval training out of your routine after giving it a fair try.
Does Interval Training Take a Lot of Time?
Time is a valuable commodity, so you need to get the most out of your time in the gym. Luckily, interval training is one of the most efficient cardiovascular routines. Because you stay constantly engaged and don’t rest between sets, interval training will burn calories, strengthens your aerobic energy system, and engage your anaerobic energy system more quickly than sustained moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercises and most other workout routines.
How Can I Train Safely?
Drink Plenty of Water
Dehydration can be incredibly dangerous. Your body needs water to keep you cool and efficiently pump blood to your organs and muscles. Active men should have about four liters of water per day, and active women should have around three liters. Drink slightly more water if you still feel thirsty after drinking the recommended amount. Chugging water will send much of it straight to your bladder and cause you to urinate excessively, so you should sip your water slowly and consistently instead to maintain optimal hydration during your workout.
Learn Proper Form
Bad form can result in grievous injury, arthritis, and other serious medical problems. While jogging and other cardiovascular activities may seem simple, many people still perform these exercises with suboptimal form. You don’t want to injure yourself or cause permanent joint damage, so you should ask a reputable personal trainer for a demonstration before trying any new exercise.
Mind Your Surroundings
Whether you’re working out in a crowded gym or jogging in the great outdoors, it’s important to keep a close eye on your surroundings to prevent injury. At the gym, you should stay at least two meters away from other people and make sure that the floor in your workout area is clear of obstructions. Remember to keep your eyes open and listen closely to what’s going on around you so that you don’t collide with anyone. After all, you might be very careful and considerate, but other people at the gym may still invade your space or accidentally bump into you if you’re not paying attention. If you plan to exercise outside, then you must stay on marked trails in safe areas, watch out for traffic and other pedestrians, and let someone know about your whereabouts beforehand.
You should not immediately incorporate the most strenuous HIIT exercises into your routine if you’ve never done interval training before. Instead, you should start with one or two simple interval training sessions per week and gradually work your way up from there. Your workouts should be challenging enough to increase your heart rate and make you sweat, but they should not be impossible to complete. If you find that you often have trouble making it all the way through your intervals, then you should reduce the intensity and duration of your exercises until you can consistently complete them.
Is HIIT Good for Weight Loss?
HIIT and other forms of interval training have been shown to activate the body’s fat-burning mechanism for up to two hours after a workout. On top of that, interval training routines can also improve your metabolism. Because interval training routines are intense and easy to incorporate into any workout regimen, people who engage in interval training tend to burn more calories in their workout sessions. Over time, this can lead to greater weight loss. However, no exercise routine will help you outrun a bad diet.
To lose weight and keep it off, you must sustain a calorie deficit over an extended period. Essentially, this means that you must consistently burn more calories than you consume. A large slice of cheese pizza contains about 400 calories and might take about five minutes to eat. To burn 400 calories with exercise, you would have to jog about seven kilometers, which could take around 40 minutes. Considering how these numbers compare, it’s clear that your dietary choices should account for the bulk of your weight loss. Exercise will boost your metabolism and can increase your calorie deficit. However, you won’t see progress if you consistently eat more calories than you burn, and burning calories with exercise takes a lot more time than consuming calories. If you want to develop a healthy meal plan that you can stick to, then you should speak to a reputable dietician.
How Much Interval Training Should a Person Do in a Week?
The recommended frequency of interval training depends on your health and the type of interval training in question. While most coaches recommend no more than three HIIT sessions per week, you can gradually work your way up to five standard interval training sessions per week without much risk. Training too much can lead to a serious injury or result in other health problems, so you should not push yourself past these limits.
Does Interval Training Slow Muscle Growth?
Many factors contribute to muscle growth, and interval training won’t necessarily interfere with your gains. Consistency, adequate rest, progressive overload, good form, an effective anabolic training routine, and sufficient protein intake are vital for anyone who wants to gain muscle. Because interval training makes your muscles work more efficiently and allows your heart to pump more blood to your muscles, interval training can actually improve muscle growth over time.
Should I Eliminate Other Workouts From My Routine?
Although all forms of interval training can be extremely beneficial, your entire workout regimen should not solely consist of interval training. Instead, you should incorporate a wide variety of workouts into your training regimen to evenly exert all of your muscle groups and improve your overall musculoskeletal health. The precise makeup of your workout routine will depend on your goals, health, and current fitness level. Consider working with a qualified personal trainer to put together an effective workout plan for your needs and circumstances.
Can a Person Train Too Much?
Too much training can be very dangerous. While you want to see quick results, you shouldn’t push yourself too hard. After all, if you develop a training-related injury or medical problem, then you may not be able to work out for weeks or months, and you’ll be even further away from your fitness goals. Common signs of overtraining include:
- Sharp muscle pain
- Tingling sensations in your spine or extremities.
- Joint discomfort
- Chronic fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting
- Poor temperature regulation
- Infections and flu-like symptoms
- Anxiety and mood swings
If you notice any of these signs, then you must stop training immediately. Speak to a coach if your symptoms persist. No two people are the same. Even if one person can intensively train every day for several hours, it’s not necessarily safe for you to follow the same routine as someone else. It may be tempting to push yourself beyond your body’s limits, but your long-term health should always take priority over short-term gains.
Unlock a New and Exciting Way To Increase Your Endurance
Interval training is an excellent way to lose weight and make quick progress towards your fitness goals. Of course, you must always remember to practice proper form and not push yourself too hard when incorporating any new workout routine into your fitness regimen. You want to see quick results, so you should start looking for an interval training routine that fits your goals and lifestyle today.
If you have any questions on the above or would like some advice on how we could help you with your fitness goal, don’t hesitate, visit our gyms in London and try one of our personal training sessions.
- High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
- Interval Weight Training (IWT) – next level HIIT
- Interval Training for Fat Loss
- 10 Short and Simple HIIT Workouts You Can Do From Home
- Full Body Workouts: Benefits, Exercise & Variations