Cardiovascular style training has long been a staple in the United States. This type of training is viewed as the best way to lose weight. While cardiovascular exercise is important for development and maintenance of the heart, lunges, and overall blood flow; it is not the most efficient way to lose weight.
Slow, steady training such as running miles or spending 60 minutes on an elliptical trainer at the gym will burn a large amount of calories but for all the time that you spend doing that exercise, you are actually not getting a great return on investment.
Interval training has been proven to be the most efficient and effective way to lose weight and excess body fat. With interval training you are working for a predetermined block of time and then taking an active rest period following the work. The immediate benefit of this type of training is that you will burn a higher amount of calories while working for a shorter amount of time. Most interval training workouts should last approximately 20 minutes and a maximum of 30 minutes, depending on the workout you are completing on that day.
Here are some of the major benefits of interval training:
1. Less time is spent on the training but more work is done
2. The active rest time supports a higher work rate in the upcoming sets instead of tiring the body for a long period of time
3. The higher level of intensity promotes higher levels of caloric burn
4. Interval training increases metabolism both during the workout and after the training session has been completed
5. With an increased metabolism after the training session, the body can burn calories at that level for up to 36 hours post workout
6. Interval training can be more dynamic, athletic, and fun
7. More variety to decrease boredom
8. Interval and rest times can be adjusted based on your fitness levels and can change depending on the workout you are doing that day
Here are five great exercises to incorporate into your program as a replacement for steady state cardiovascular training:
1. Mountain Climbers
2. Jump Rope
4. Stair Sprints or Stair Climbing
All of these exercises can be set up into circuits, rotating from one to the next with a specific rest time between each one. You can also perform 3-6 circuits of one particular exercise with work rates of anywhere from 20-60 seconds depending on your fitness levels. Stay tuned for an upcoming article which will describe exactly how to put together your interval circuits to achieve maximum training benefit and fat loss.