Carb Blaster – Interval Training

iStock_000005810778SmallAccording to the American College of Sports Medicine, interval training burns more calories and improves cardiovascular performance.

What is interval training?

Interval training works the heart, lungs and muscles to the max for short lengths of time.

How does it work?

Interval training works both the aerobic (needing oxygen) and anaerobic (not needing oxygen) system.  When you are pushing yourself to the max during interval training, the anaerobic system uses the energy stored in the muscles for short bursts of activity. Lactic acid is the byproduct. During the high intensity part of your interval training, this lactic acid builds, and you enter into oxygen debt.  When you recover after the interval the heart and lungs work together to replace this oxygen debt by breaking down the lactic acid.  During this phase of the workout your aerobic system takes over using oxygen to convert stored carbohydrates into energy.

Beginner routine

  • Warm up 5 minutes at 30% effort
  • 30 seconds at 80% effort
  • 90 seconds 30% effort
  • Repeat 3-5 times
  • Finish routine with 15 minutes of regular cardio to cool down

Experienced routine

  • Warm up 5-10 minutes at 30% effort
  • 30 seconds at 90% effort
  • 60 seconds 30% effort
  • Repeat 7 times
  • Finish with 5 minutes at 30% effort

You can use your circuit training routine or cardio routine to do interval training.

You can do interval training on a spinning bike, treadmill, and the elliptical.  Runners incorporate interval training too.

How do you know what your percentage of effort is? Use your target heart rate.  Before starting interval training, clock a mile at 100% effort and note your target heart rate (you will need a heart rate monitor or a monitor on your exercise equipment).

Safety Tips

  1. Always warm up
  2. Start slowly
  3. Build the number of repetitions over time
  4. Bring your heart rate down during the resting portion of the interval

Changing up interval training

  1. Intensity
  2. Duration of the work interval
  3. Duration of the rest interval
  4. Number of repetitions of each interval

Interval training takes effort and focus.  It is easier if someone (trainer, your hubby, exercise buddy) is timing the intervals and telling you when to speed up and slow down.  I prefer doing interval training on the elliptical or spinning bike because I can program the intervals focusing my energy on performance not the clock.

Interval training will improve your strength, speed agility and stamina.

Always discuss your exercise choices with your healthcare provider.

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