Tired of your regular, mundane gym workout? Add some spice to your New Year’s fitness plan with interval training.
Simply put, interval training means alternating short bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter intensity or rest. That might mean incorporating short bursts of jogging into your daily walk routine, or mixing things up with more specific types of interval training, like HIIT or Tabata.
High-intensity interval training (or HIIT) consists of short, intense bursts of exercise moves followed by lower intensity moves or a short rest. HIIT is an efficient way to get your heart rate up, boost your metabolism and burn calories without spending hours in the gym.
Tabata training is another type of interval training that involves performing eight intervals of exercise in four minutes. A study by the American Council on Exercise found that Tabata workouts are effective at boosting cardiovascular health.
Here are a few reasons you should try interval training:
It burns more calories. If you want to burn more calories, you have to turn up the intensity of your workout, even if it’s with short bursts of higher-intensity moves.
It helps prevent boredom. Spending 30 minutes on the treadmill can be incredibly boring, but mixing things up with intervals will add a little fun to your workout and help the time pass a bit more quickly.
It’s good for your heart. Increasing the intensity of your workout is just what you need to make your heart work harder and build your heart muscle. High-intensity exercise isn’t sustainable over a long period of time, but short bursts of higher-intensity exercise (like HIIT) is a more practical way to ramp up the heart health benefits of exercise.
It combines strength and cardio. With high-intensity training like HIIT or Tabata, it’s possible to squeeze strength training and cardio into one workout routine, saving you more time. Both HIIT and Tabata are geared toward getting in as many reps as possible of a variety of bodyweight exercises, which kicks up your heart rate while strengthening muscles at the same time.
It can be customized to your fitness level. Interval training puts you in control of your workout. If it’s been a while since you’ve worked out, you may want to start with shorter intervals of work followed by longer rest intervals, such as 30 seconds intervals of work with a one-minute rest in between. If you’re looking for something more challenging, shorten the rest time while increasing the work time.
It can be done anywhere. You don’t need a gym or even any equipment to get in a good interval workout. Bust out a quick, intense workout right in your living room with bodyweight intervals.
Ready to get started with interval training? If you’re not up for HIIT or Tabata yet, apply the 30-20-10 workout to your regular cardio activity (like running, rowing, cycling or the elliptical). Here’s how it works:
30 seconds at a comfortable speed.
20 seconds at a moderately difficult speed.
10 seconds all-out.
Repeat this circuit four more times followed by a two-minute rest, then repeat the whole circuit again five times. The entire workout (not including your warm-up and cool down) should take only 12 minutes.
Adding interval training into your workout routine will boost the benefits of your regular workout and save you time. If you’re new to exercising, consult with your physician before beginning a workout regimen.