Mix Up Your Cardio Routine with Intervals

Celebrity Trainer Heidi Powell Cycling - Learn more at http://HeidiPowell.net/1330

The concept of interval training is to alternate between high and low intensity movements. For weight loss, interval training has been proven to be significantly more effective than steady-state cardiovascular exercise.

This beauty of interval training is that it can be done a million different ways—and they all work!

Most interval training alternates between high and low intensity exercises. The high intensity work raises the heart rate and body temperature, stimulates a deeper muscle contraction, drives blood into the working muscle, and creates an oxygen debt—all of which contribute to a significant neuro-endocrine response. The lower intensity exercise increases blood circulation to the fatty tissues (which contributes to mobilization and oxidation of body fat), and allows for cardio-respiratory and muscular recovery—to maximize your exertion on your next high intensity effort. All of this jargon aside…interval training is great for conditioning the body and optimizing fat loss!

Here are 3 different types of measurement for interval training:

  • Repetitions: A certain number of repetitions must be done of an exercise before transitioning to the next exercise (for example: doing 10 burpees, walking in place for 30 steps, then repeating)
  • Time: You must perform the exercise for a certain amount of time before transitioning to the next exercise (for example: running for 30 seconds, then walking for 30 seconds)
  • Distance: You must cover a certain distance before transitioning to the next exercise (for example: running to a telephone pole, then walking to the next, then repeating).

Having a hard time coming up with an interval training routine for you? Here is one of my favorites:

10 rounds of:

  • 30 second sprint
  • 90 seconds rest

The total workout will last 20 minutes with rest time, and only 5 of those minutes are actually spent running! You’ll reap the benefits of the full 20 minutes and then some! Of course, modify this to your ability level—basically, you should be at a level 10 on your own scale for those 30 seconds, followed by 90 seconds of nada—rest!

Get creative, set the clock, and have fun!


9 Comments

  1. Paula - June 28, 2014

    Okay…somebody from the Heidi/Chris fitness machine sent me to this blog post when I inquired about how to best approach real fitness opportunity as a person with tenuous knees. I was wondering if it was possible to gain any headway on weight loss with only riding a bike or working on the elliptical. I’m here to tell you…I now think “interval training” is the bomb! Thx!

    • Team Powell - June 28, 2014

      Yes, it is totally possible to lose weight through riding the bike and using the elliptical! It might be a good idea, if you haven’t done so already, to discuss your knee issue with your healthcare team to make sure there is no injury, which could be made worse if left untreated. We want to keep you safe and healthy!

  2. Hannah M. - August 8, 2013

    When I was coming back from my ankle surgery, my trainer and I did this a lot. At first I hated it but then I learned to love it on cardio days!

  3. Alexandra kreitman - August 8, 2013

    This tip really helps because when you exercise your body gets used to it to the point it’s keeping you fit but you might not see any big results. These intervals will change it up so your body doesn’t go through that.

  4. Jennifer - July 16, 2013

    Thanks for the helpful and useful tips and I definitely will be implementing this info into my workouts.

  5. Annette - July 16, 2013

    This post interests me the most because I love interval training. I feel not enough people do this type of cardio. I go to the gym and do HIIT training on the elliptical where I climb to my max intensity which is usually along 12, hitting one minute on and one minute off (off meaning around level 4) for 30 secs, and back on again for about 10 times. This usually take me about 20 mins. I look around at everyone else and the are bouncing around for an hour or so on the treadmill or bike. HIIT training gives me better results and I’m glad you touched on it, because a lot of people don’t get it.

  6. Dawn G. - July 16, 2013

    I love this post! After having a stall in weight loss, I found this post extremely helpful in teaching me to use interval training to give myself that jump start needed for weight loss to begin again! Thanks!

  7. Heather Dickinson - July 15, 2013

    I love reading your blogs! I am a nursing student, and have been trying to get into working out some. But have no idea where to start. Your blogs help me find my way. Thank you!

  8. Stephanie - July 15, 2013

    I’ve recently started my weight loss journey & went searching for information on intervals, so this is extremely helpful! 🙂

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