Interval training is a quick way to get in an intense workout. Most interval training focuses on aerobic fitness, such as sprinting or running on a treadmill, but interval training can also be used to improve muscular endurance, muscle tone and conditioning as well. One of the major advantages of interval training is that you will burn more calories over a short period of time than with traditional training, and it keeps your metabolism boosted for hours after training. Interval training will also improve your fitness level quickly. This type of interval training requires little or no equipment. It can even be done at home if you don't have the time or desire to go to the gym.
Pre-Meal: About an hour before activity, eat a light snack, such as a mix of carbohydrates and protein. Eating too much or eating right before exercising can cause stomach cramps. Within 15 to 30 minutes after activity, replenish your energy with a mix of carbohydrates and protein. Hydration is also important. Make sure to consume water before and after your workout to avoid dehydration.
Warmup: Five to 10 minutes of walking or light jogging. This is important as it will warm up muscles properly and reduce risk of injury.
Interval Training: Time range from 15 minutes for beginner to 30 minutes for advanced.
Cool Down: After the workout, walk slowly for a minimum of five minutes. This will allow your heart rate to return to normal, and it may also help flush out any lactic acid buildup in the muscles.
Muscular Endurance Interval Training
This is a combination of body-weight/plyometric exercises:
- Jump lunge/pushup
- Jump squat/triceps dip
- Lateral ski jump/crunches
Do one minute of the plyometric exercise and then 30 second of the body-weight exercise. Beginners may need to take a one-minute break between the circuits. This break time can shorten as fitness level improves.
It will take about five minutes to do one circuit. Complete circuit three to six times.
Here are some more activities that be done by alternating upper and lower body:
- Tuck jumps/pushups
- Barbell squats/plyo pushups
- Lat pull-down/burpees
- Plyo jacks/chest press
- Jump lunges/pull-ups
Safety Tips: The biggest mistake for beginners is trying to do too much too quickly. In the beginning, less is more. Far too often, beginners overdo it and either injure themselves or get too sore and miss the next workout. Think long-term success and you will work smarter.
If you are unfamiliar with any exercise, it is so important to ask a someone who is knowledgeable how to perform it properly. Bad form can cause more harm than good.
Rest and recovery are just as important as the workout. Don't try to participate in a weight and cardio interval routine every day. Your body needs recovery between these workouts, so try to limit them between one to three times per week on nonconsecutive days. Finally, don't forget the importance of sleep and proper nutrition in improving your overall health.
Dr. Johnson is an international speaker in wellness. he has trained athletes at multiple levels in including D1 athletes. He recently helped develop a fitness diploma with the Malaysian Ministry of Education. He is author of Scared Skinny No More.
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