Time is essential. And we all complain about a lack of time. The more time we have, the more freedom we have to do what is important to us.
And that’s where interval training comes in. I know, it’s a strange segue, but I wanted to use an example from my life to illustrate the importance of time.
The #1 excuse people have for not working out is lack of time. So, Interval training is simply the obvious choice. You can create a regimen based on how much time you have.
If you can’t get in a workout with interval training, then guess what….YOU ARE LAZY. Even the President of the United States is able to get in 45 minute workouts, 6 days per week!
No one’s busier then the President of the United States (if you’re busier then the President, then please write a comment. I would love to hear what you do for a living.)
Ok, so what is Interval Training? Interval training is an exercise technique that is based on time and intensity. You perform a particular movement for a given time period at a high intensity level, then follow up with a low intensity movement for a given time period.
So, the easiest way to do intervals is to sprints. You can sprint for 30 seconds, followed by a 60 seconds easy walk. Get your heart rate down, and then go hard again. After a few rounds, you’ll be standing in your own pool of sweat.
That’s really the BASICS of interval training. There is a lot more to it. But what you need to know is that it’s a fat loss method that will save you lots of time. And time = freedom.
However, just like any other regimen, intervals can get boring after a while. So, as you get stronger and leaner, you need harder and harder workouts to push you to your brink.
So every 4 weeks, seek to change up your interval workout. There are many ways you can do this including:
Increase/Decrease Length of Interval
If you increase the length of the interval, you actually decrease the intensity level. So, to make a workout harder, the best solution would be to decrease the length of the interval. Intensity also depends on how much rest you take in between each set.
Increase/Decrease Number of Intervals per Workout
The easiest way to make your workout harder is to add more intervals. However, adding an extra interval would also increase the total time of your workout. If you’re short on time, you’re better off decreasing the length of the interval and going harder per each interval.
Increase/Decrease Rest Time between Intervals
Another great way to make your workouts harder is to decrease the rest time. But this is only an advanced technique. Decreasing your rest intervals means that you might not fully recover between each set.
Switch Exercise Methods
There are a lot of great ways to do intervals. Here are my favorite methods:
- Shuttle Sprints
- Shadow Boxing
- Sledgehammer Swings
- Kettlebell Training
- Bodyweight Exercises
- Jump Roping
Interval Training Popular Rep/Set Schemes
Now, there is no “best” way to do intervals. So I urge you to experiment with the following rep/set schemes and try to find which ones work best for you. I personally like the 8/12 method:
Australian researchers concluded that the shorter the interval period, the greater the energy expenditure. I did this method once, for 10 minutes, and it was brutal! But I’d only recommend training this way once a week.
This is the most common interval training method – 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off. You get as much time to rest as you work, and it gives you just enough of a rest period to go hard at each set, minimizing the drop off in performance.
For those that need a little extra rest between each set, use a 45 second rest period. This still keeps your heart rate up, but allows you enough rest to push through just as hard in each interval period.
I like to think of these as “double tabatas.” Tabata is when you do 20/10 – which don’t always work for every single exercise. 40/20 uses the same idea (rest half as much as you work). But it’s just as tough, if not more.
There are lots of other awesome interval training methods too keep you going. For more interval training workouts, check out Craig’s manual: 31 Interval Training Workouts.