In the past when I’ve tried to lose weight I’ve found that one of the things that works best for me is when I workout using high intensity interval training in combination with some form of resistance training (along with eating healthier of course).
Now they’re finding that by using interval training you may be able to cut the amount of time that you’re exercising as well!
People who complain they have no time to exercise may soon need another excuse.
Some experts say intense exercise sessions could help people squeeze an entire week’s workout into less than an hour. Intense exercise regimens, or interval training, was originally developed for Olympic athletes and thought to be too strenuous for normal people.
But in recent years, studies in older people and those with health problems suggest many more people might be able to handle it. If true, that could revolutionize how officials advise people to exercise — and save millions of people hours in the gym every week. It is also a smarter way to exercise, experts say.
One of the most common excuses that I hear people make for not exercising is that they don’t have enough time. I may have even used that excuse myself from time to time. High intensity interval training can help you to cut down the amount of time you’re exercising, and jump start the weight loss!
“High-intensity interval training is twice as effective as normal exercise,” said Jan Helgerud, an exercise expert at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. “This is like finding a new pill that works twice as well … we should immediately throw out the old way of exercising.”
Intense interval training means working very hard for a few minutes, with rest periods in between sets. Experts have mostly tested people running or biking, but other sports like rowing or swimming should also work.
Helgerud recommends people try four sessions lasting four minutes each, with three minutes of recovery time in between. Unless you’re an elite athlete, it shouldn’t be an all-out effort.
“You should be a little out of breath, but you shouldn’t have the obvious feeling of exhaustion,” Helgerud said.
In Britain and the U.S., officials recommend that people get about two and a half hours each week of moderate exercise.
My favorite way of engaging in the interval training is by running. Normally I’ll run for around 20 minutes, starting with a warmup and then doing several sets of varying intensity. I’ll start out with a slow jog and continue for five minutes increasing my intensity and speed with each minute, ending each cycle by running fast. I then go back down in intensity to a jog and work back up to a sprint by the time the five munites is done. I repeat the cycle 4 times.
Experts say that’s because intense bursts of activity are precisely what the body needs to build stronger muscles. Traditional workouts lasting an hour or more simply don’t push the body enough.
“A lot of the (benefits) from exercise are due to a stress response,” said Stephen Bailey, a sports sciences expert at the University of Exeter. “If you disturb your muscles, there’s an imbalance created and your body will start signaling pathways that result in adjustments.”
Bailey said intense bursts of exercise help the body to convert one type of muscle fiber into another type that uses oxygen more efficiently and is capable of exercising a lot longer. Even though interval training only takes a few minutes, its effects last for hours.
“You’ve exercised at such a high intensity that you’re going to create a massive disturbance in your muscles,” Bailey said. That creates a higher metabolism for several hours afterward, which the body will bring down by burning fat and carbohydrates.
I think I’m going to re-start my workout regimen tonight because I’ve been letting myself slide over the past year. Time to get back into the interval training, and working off some of my excess weight!
Have you tried interval training? If so, what type of exercise do you do? How has it worked for you? Do you do it in combination with anything else? Tell us your experience in the comments.