The common theme among many professionals today is that they tell you to do long, boring cardio workouts to lose fat. “Get into your target rate and stay there for at least 30 minutes,” they say.
Well what if everything these “experts” have been telling you for the past few decades has been completely and utterly wrong?
As more and more research is completed, we’re finally finding out the truth about what types of exercises we should be doing.
That type of exercise is called interval training.
Interval training is simply intense exercise followed by brief periods of rest.
Let’s take hill sprints for an example. Say there’s a 50 foot hill by your house. You start at the bottom, sprint to the top (intense exercise), then walk back down to the bottom (brief period of rest). You then rinse and repeat the process.
So what are the benefits of interval training as compared to long cardio workouts?
- 1) It Takes Less Time – Interval training can last as long as a normal workout, but by no means does it have to. Since you’ll put putting out more effort in each exercise period, you won’t be able to sustain a very long workout. Usually 10-15 minutes is plenty for beginner or intermediate fitness levels.
- 2) You Dramatically Lower Your Heart Rate – When I first tried out interval training my heart rate was about 66 beat per minute – which is a little lower than average but no quite in the “excellent” range. After about 2 months or so I had my heart rate to around 50-55 beats per minute, which means that my heart is in elite condition. Just like any other muscle, your heart strengthens as it recovers. Since it recovers between each interval, you’ll start to see a dramatic difference in your heart beat.
- 3) You Lose More Fat – With traditional cardio you lose fat because you burn it while you’re working out. However, after you’re done your metabolizing really doesn’t stay on a “high” like it’s on while you’re exercising. With intervals, even though you don’t burn as many calories during the exercises, you can burn much more fat for the rest of the day. You literally burn fat as you’re sleeping!
- 4) You Don’t Lose Muscle – With traditional cardio, you have to have a near perfect nutritional plan in order to not lose muscle. In many cases, even a perfect nutritional plan won’t even help. However, with interval training you release HGH (Human Growth Hormone) which signals your body to grow more muscle and lose the fat. Why do you think sprinters have such lean muscular bodies while marathon runners are all skin and bone?
- 5) You Can Combine Programs – Chances are that you’re currently on a weightlifting/cardio program right now. Well what if I told you that you could get the same benefits in less than half the time? One workout I like to do goes like this: First, I jump rope as quickly as possible for 50 reps on both feet, then 25 times on the left leg, then the right. Then I do it again. Next, I go inside and do 1-legged squats and ab work to catch my breath. Then I do a set of vertical leaps. Then it’s back to the jump rope. It’s a great lower body interval training workout that I do in a total of about 12 minutes.
You can design an interval training workout from practically anything you’re currently doing. Remember, all you need to do is quickly get your heart rate up, then lower it back down. Do this a few times and you’re done.
No longer do you have to go to the gym for hours on end, wasting your day away. No longer do you have any excuses why you can’t workout. All you need is about 10-15 minutes and you can get in an incredibly taxing workout. Just be creative and have some fun.