By: Angela Ciroalo

Interval Training Benefits
Image taken from fix.com

Winter has arrived, and although the weather outside is cold your workouts do not necessarily need to be put on hold.

In fact, depending on the type of indoor workout you choose, you may even have the opportunity to save time, increase your speed and endurance, and even lose weight.

Trivial to what many believe indoor cardio workouts do not equate to easier workouts.

There are many different options available when selecting an indoor activity.

There are a variety of options including; cycling, swimming, water running, circuit training, indoor running, and even plyometric drills.

Each of these activities can be completed through traditional steady-state bouts of exercise, or for improved results they can be done through an interval style method.

Interval training is a common form of training among athletes and experienced exercisers.

However, gyms, fitness instructors and personal trainers are beginning to take notice and incorporate interval training into traditional workouts and classes.

Interval Training
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What is interval training?

The nationally recognized health and fitness certification organization the American Council on Exercise [ACE] defines interval training as a system of organized cardiorespiratory training consisting of bouts of short duration, high-intensity exercise intervals with periods of lower intensity active recovery.

According to a 2014 American College of Sports Medicine [ACSM] consumer information committee report the benefits of interval training include; improved aerobic and anaerobic fitness, decreased blood pressure levels, improved overall cardiovascular health, improved insulin sensitivity, improved cholesterol profiles, and decreased abdominal fat.

Interval training is also well-known for the increased caloric burn, decreased time spent exercising, ability to improve metabolic disorders, as wells as the increased athletic performance and speed that it creates.

There are many types of interval workouts that can be completed, each varying in distance, amount of interval sessions, and length of time.

The amount of time and /or amount of interval sessions should be selected based on the individual’s athletic ability and goals.

Interval training can be catered to people of all fitness levels and conditions – with great results seen in those seeking to prevent or reverse metabolic disease.

If done correctly and consistently, interval training has the ability to improve insulin sensitivity among those with high blood sugar through allowing the body to better utilize glucose in the body.

How does interval training work?

Once an interval training sessions is completed the body will continue to burn calories for a longer period of time. The excess post-exercise oxygen consumption [EPOC] is a two-hour period of time where the body works to restore itself back to pre-exercise levels, the ACSM report states.

Therefore EPOC creates between 6 to 15 percent greater calorie burn once an interval session is completed.

Intervals can be completed through a variety of outdoor and indoor activities including outdoor running and cycling or indoor treadmills, ellipticals, stair-climbers and stationary bikes.

Intervals
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How to create an interval training workout

There are several components to consider when selecting an interval training workout. These factors include type, time, intensity and frequency.

Better known as the American Council on Exercise FITT principle

TYPE: Begin by first selecting the type of interval workout that you would like to complete [cycling, running, water running, etc.].

TIME: Secondly, select the amount of time you would like to spend completing the workout. The ACSM report suggests completing an interval workout between 20 and 60 minutes in total – this includes recovery time and high intensity time.

INTENSITY: Next, choose the level of intensity, which can measured by one of two ways; the level of perceived exertion scale or by the maximum heart rate percentage.

You want to determine the level of intensity you want to work out at in advance, creating a goal to work towards without stopping or slowing down.

The scale measures the 1 to 10 level of perceived exertion that the exerciser experienced. Level one signifies the lowest level of exertion, such as a light walk. Level 10 signifies the highest level of exertion, such as an all-out sprint.

Exercisers should aim to exercise at specific levels and then quantify their exertion upon completion to ensure they are putting forth the appropriate effort.

The maximum heart rate percentage can be chosen once the resting heart rate and maximum heart rate levels have been determined.

Through a series of tests, often provided by a personal trainer, one can determine their maximum heart rate level.

The ACSM report suggests that when seeking to use maximum heart rate the exerciser aim to achieve be less than 80-percent of their maximum heart rate. The recovery heart rate should range between 40- and 50-percent of the maximum heart rate.

FREQUENCY: When creating an interval training plan the final step is to select the frequency of the interval workout.

The frequency can mean one of two things; the amount of intervals per session or the amount of interval workouts per week.

An exerciser can choose the amount of interval sessions they wish to complete or they can choose a set amount of time they will spend doing the intervals.

The amount of interval sessions and length of time of an interval should be determined based on an individual’s fitness level and goals.

If planning on completing more than one interval session per week sessions should be carefully planned.

The ACSM report suggests completing no more than two interval sessions per week, allowing at least 24 hours of rest between sessions.

Examples of indoor interval training

Cycling

Cycling indoors can be done on a stationary exercise bike or in a cycling class offered at a gym.

Both are effective and great forms of indoor cardiorespiratory training.

The January issue of Runner’s World Magazine suggests completing a fast interval for 10 seconds using a resistance that feels “…like you’re climbing a hill that if it were any steeper you would have to stand.”

The article, written by Runner’s World magazine writer Caitlin Carlson, suggests a rest between intervals for 30 to 80 seconds with six total interval sessions.

This is just one example of an interval. Intervals can be completed for anywhere between a few seconds to eight minutes, and should be broken up with set rest periods.

Swimming

Swimming is a very beneficial cross training workout for runners seeking to provide their body with a rest from the impact of running on land.

Swimming is a whole-body workout that serves as a wonderful form of cardiorespiratory activity.

An example of a swimming interval workout would be to swim as quickly as possible for one to two laps followed by four slow to medium paced laps.

Either repeat this set eight times or for a total of 20 to 30 minutes.

Water running

Water running provides runners the opportunity to actually run without creating any impact on their bodies.

Water running is often associated with geriatrics or injury. However, water running is quite common among elite athletes seeking to prevent injury and increase endurance.

An example of a workout would be to complete a sprint the full length of the pool and back while wearing a flotation belt to create resistance.

The sprints should be recovered with slow to medium jogging for two to four minutes.

Indoor track running

Running indoors can be tedious, however if the exercise does not run on a track this may be a great opportunity to incorporate speed into their training.

An example of an indoor track workout would be an increasing sprint workout. Begin by warming up with 2 to 4 laps around the track. Begin the workout by running at high speed for ¼ of the distance of the track. Recover by running around the track once at a slow to medium pace.

After the recovery continue by continually increasing the speed of the sprints until you run the entire length of the track.

For an added challenge complete the workout in reverse, continually decreasing the distance.

Cool down by running the track two to four times once the workout is completed.

These workouts are sure to fully prepare you for all of the wonderful local spring races coming up just around the corner!

Now it is your turn!

I would LOVE to hear from YOU. Pleas share your thoughts on this article. Was it helpful for you? Do you have any questions? Is there a topic you would like to learn more about?

I look forward to hearing from you 🙂

❤ Wishing you love, joy and blessing,

Angela Joy xo

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