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Remembering Interval Training August 13, 2010

Posted by Jen in Exercise.
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This is a picture of me about ten minutes after I completed the ING Half Marathon in Atlanta last March.

I looked like this after my interval workout this morning.

Okay, maybe I wasn’t that sweaty, but man, I was pooped! And even wearing the same shirt as in this photo.

For a while there I was getting into doing some High Intensity Interval Training and some regular old (it all feels painful and high intensity to me…) interval training, but I kind of got out of it. For the past 2 months or so I’ve really upped my strength training, and have backed off on intense cardio, preferring long, hilly walks, power walks, and hikes.

However, I was reading, again, how great interval training is for you, so I decided to give it a try. Here’s a quote from Dr. Mark Hyman’s book Ultrametabolism:

Everyone knows that you burn calories when you exercise, which promotes weight loss. But is there a way to burn more calories after you exercise, during rest or sleep? Is there a way to exercise less and get more benefits?

The answer is yes. The key is something called interval training, short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by longer periods of lighter exercise.

He goes on to talk about a Canadian study in which two groups of participants each exercised, but one group did interval training. The IT group ended up reducing their body fat nine times more than the endurance group because they increased their resting metabolic power. Um, yes, please.

I am in no way, shape, or form, a personal trainer, so you don’t have to listen to me, but Dr. Hyman recommends that a beginner follows the following program:

  1. Warm-up: 5 minutes of walking at 3.5 miles per hour.
  2. Speed up and walk at 4.0 mph for 60 seconds.
  3. Slow down and stroll at 3.0 mph for 75 seconds.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 five more times.
  5. Finish with 5 minutes of walking at a comfortable pace to cool down.

Obviously, if you work out regularly, this workout ain’t gonna do nothin’ for you. I usually warm up on the treadmill at 4.0! Anyways, a more advanced exerciser can follow these instructions, according to Dr. Hyman:

  1. Warm-up: 5 minutes of jogging or cycling at the lowest possible percentage of your all-out effort.
  2. Run or cycle for 60 seconds at about 80 to 90 percent of your all-out effort.
  3. Slow down to 50 perfect of your all-out effort for 75 seconds.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 five more times.
  5. Finish with five minutes at 30 perfect of your all-out effort to cool down.

He recommends anyone over 30 gets a physical before starting an interval training program.

I have decided to integrate interval training as my cardio at least two times per week. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Have you tried interval training? Do you like cookies?