Thursday, August 11, 2011


Intervals. We've all heard the term and they can certainly apply to a wide variety of things, but the intervals I want to write about are cardio intervals, the most beneficial form of cardio that there is, period.

Anyone who goes to the gym or has ever gone to the gym has run on a treadmill. Now I ask you this: How fun was it? Are you seeing the results you desire? It's not called the "dreadmill" for nothing. This is probably because you run for the standard 20-30 minutes, two or three times a week. Then you might even go as far as going home and saying to yourself or someone else something along the line of "I ran at the gym today and according to the treadmill I burned 500 calories so I deserve this ice cream!" Sorry, this doesn't work in my book. What you need is to do intervals and stay off the ice cream. Then it's hello Result City!

Intervals combine short bursts of speed or intensity followed by a longer recovery period and can be done in any form of exercise--running, biking, walking, even resistance training. This process of increasing and decreasing your heart rate will get you better results quicker, guaranteed. The American Council of Sports Medicine believes that not only will you burn more calories in short bursts of high-intensity exercise, but you will also see a improvements in your cardiovascular fitness as well (HIT High-Intensity Training Benefits). 

I'm a huge believer in the benefits of interval training not only for myself for when I'm training for a race, but it is the very first routine I put my clients through when they start working with me. After a proper warmup, I'll have the client get on the elliptical for 15 minutes and perform intervals of usually 15 seconds at a higher speed and 1 minute at recover speed. The beauty of intervals is that they can vary, too! Try 30 at a high speed followed by 1 minute recovery, followed by 15 seconds high speed, followed by 45 seconds recovery.  The key is to let your heart rate fully recover, though!

Personally, I'm not a fan of running long distances at one pace because I have the attention span of a fruit fly. So I mix it up by picking out some telephone poles along the road and running hard--not sprinting--for one set followed by an easy jogging recover for the next set. Try this on the road and you're bound to see faster results as well as a workout that just seems to fly by!

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