Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Got Intervals?!

   Interval training is great, for anyone and everyone. Whether you are just starting out or have been a gym rat for decades, everyone can benefit from interval training. What is interval training you ask? It's when you switch up your workout routine from low to high intensity. The possibilities are endless! Interval training has also been shown by research that it can effectively increase your lactate threshold; so it will take longer to feel the burn and you will ultimately be able to do more reps before hitting failure.
   Benefits of Interval Training:
1. Burns more calories. When you walk or jog at a steady pace, your heart rate isn't fluctuating all that much. When you go from a walk to a run or a run to a sprint, you are spiking up that heart rate for a few moments or minutes. It takes time for your heart rate to come back down, at which point you are probably launching into the next interval and elevating it again. The higher your heart rate, the more calories you burn (Remember talking about THR zone?!).
2. Adds variety. Exercise routines can become boring if you don't change it up often enough. Unless you really enjoy cardio, most people find it redundant. Not only can you burn more calories in less time, but it makes you focus more on the next high intensity burst than how boring it may be. Once you start to push yourself and break your fastest mile time or see your speed increase, you might even get excited to break your next personal best!
3. Increases speed. Doing a jog-sprint interval is ideal for increasing your speed and decreasing your mile time. The science behind this is extremely hard to explain, let alone understand. So just take my word for it. Try it and you can see for yourself! That's not to say though that doing a walk-jog-run interval won't increase your speed, it most definitely will.
4. Increases lactate threshold. You're running, or your lifting weights, or your doing anything that requires anaerobic metabolism. You start to feel the burn, the burn gets so bad you have to stop. This is called failure and many people use their failure point as a marker of their gains. The longer it takes to get to failure, the stronger you are getting. Doing interval training can increase that lactate threshold, meaning it takes longer for the burn to set in. Boom, cardio just helped you lift weights more efficiently!
5. Increase Cardio endurance. So maybe you enjoy running, but can't seem to run for very longer. Maybe you aspire to run a half marathon or take part in an iron man but just don't have the long lasting endurance to last? Interval training is the answer! Cardio helps your body become more oxygen efficient, your mitochondria can begin to use the oxygen more efficiently to run for longer. The same way it increases your speed, it increases your endurance... do it and you will see!

   If that didn't convince you to try interval training, nothing will. Just like all cardio, you can do it inside or outside and at your own pace. I highly recommend downloading an app that records your runs so that you can watch your mile times get faster and that you use a heart rate monitor to see the caloric burn and increased heart rate!
   Love the Burn... less :)

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