Interval Training for Weight Loss and Toning
When you’re interval training, you’re accomplishing several things, all of them important to your health. You’re burning fat and calories. You’re increasing your endurance. You’re lowering your risk of getting a chronic illness. You’re maximizing the time you spend working out. And you’re making your workouts more fun and engaging. Here is our schedule for our interval training classes.
Interval training is also known as HIIT, which stands for ‘high-intensity interval training.’ An interval training session includes intense periods of exercise followed by periods of less strenuous exercises. These sessions can last anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour or longer, depending on your schedule and on what your body seems to prefer.
When you engage in HIIT workouts, you really expend the energy that’s stored within your body fat, and that means visible results faster. HIIT programs have been known to target stomach fat in particular, and stomach fat is a notoriously difficult type of fat to eliminate. Other forms of working out – say, a daily thirty-minute jog – don’t attack body fat as efficiently, and so they’re not as effective at slimming a person down.
When you first embark on an interval training program, it’s wise to use a one-to-five ratio for intense exercise and recovery times. That means for every one second of intense exercise, you should perform light to moderate exercise – this is the recovery period – for five seconds. Or, to use a concrete example, for every minute that you run full-speed on a treadmill at the gym, you would jog on that treadmill for five minutes. As you get stronger and your endurance improves, however, you want to work toward achieving a ratio of one-to-three, or even one-to-two, in which you would, to use the same example, run as fast as you can on a treadmill for a minute, then jog for two or three minutes. If you haven’t tried this sort of exercise setup before, you might be amazed at how fast an hour can pass.
At the same time, though, don’t keep your intervals the same length. It’s better to make your first intense interval last for a minute, let’s say, and the next one for three minutes, and the next one for 90 seconds, and so on. By varying the lengths of your intense and moderate intervals, you prevent your muscles from settling into a routine. When muscles perform exercises by rote, it’s harder to obtain visible results.
Remember that just about any form of cardiovascular / aerobic exercise can work for interval training. That is, that pattern of intense periods interposed with moderate periods would work with swimming, bicycling, using a stair-climbing machine, etc. In fact, it makes sense to vary the aerobic exercises you do as often as possible, so as to keep your workouts fresh and exciting. Keep in mind, too, that in order for interval training to be productive, you must complete at least 3 or 4 sessions every week.
Before interval training sessions, always warm up with ten minutes of light exercise – maybe a walk or a jog – and proceed to 10 minutes of full-body stretching. This kind of warm-up before a HIIT workout will prevent injury. And while intensity is certainly important to any HIIT workout, you never want to exercise so hard that you feel pain, nausea or dizziness. If you do, consult your physician right away.
Finally, interval training classes at a fitness center can be a great way to make sure your HIIT workouts are properly structured. And interval training with other people can help keep you motivated for an entire session, and make your workouts even more enjoyable. Check out our schedule for our interval training classes.