Tip to a Healthier New Year in 2015: Interval Training

By: Roy Collins

As we look towards a healthier new year in 2015, we should start by adjusting our fitness routines that may not have yielded the results we really wanted to accomplish in 2014.

A technique that will both increase your cardiovascular capacity while also build and tone your muscles is interval training. Interval training consists of low to high intensity, explosive workouts you complete with interspersed rest time between different component exercises and regulated time within each set. Your body operates anaerobically during the high-intensity periods while recovering aerobically during periods of lower intense workouts.

Traditionally, tales of losing weight and getting into shape all revolve around lower to medium intense workouts such as jogging, biking, or exercising on the elliptical or StairMaster machine for extended periods of time. The key difference between these types of exercise and interval training is that calorie burning ends abruptly after your jogging session as concluded. Interval training, on the other hand, will cause your body to continue burning calories for 2-4 hours after you’ve completed your training session. You can also start burning fat right away whereas in low intensity workouts it may take up to 20 minutes before a significant amount of fat is burned.

Adding intense circuit training into your workouts will stimulate muscle building hormones. One of the biggest knocks to traditional cardiovascular exercise is the loss of both muscle and fat. Interval training puts your body in a state where you can burn fat and gain muscle at the same time. interval training also develops the cardiovascular system. By pushing your heart rate high during periods of work, you’ll increase your cardiovascular output.

There it is: a way to workout for less time, and burn more calories. Incorporating interval training will better equip you to reach your goals in 2015.

Here’s an example of an Interval Training workout you can do at home with just your body weight.

If you have the time, I also recommend a low intensity quick 20-30 minute bike ride or jog to be fully warmed up.

1. Warm Up: Get on a stationary bike for 20-30 minutes. Stop, get off the bike, and stretch.

2. Bike Sprint: At a low resistance, and sprint hard on the stationary bike for 30 seconds. Aim for 90% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, bring your speed down to a comfortable pedal speed for a minute.

3. Jump Squats: Get off the bike and jump squat, with your bottom out to the and your legs slightly apart. Then jump from the squatting position into the air, landing in the same squat position as before. Do this for one set of 15-20.

4. Shoulder Wide Pushups: Do one set of 15 pushups, with your elbows at a degree angle from the body with your hands shoulder-width apart.

Modification: Do the pushups with your knees on the ground, but do 25 instead of 15.

5. Bike Sprint: Get back on the bike and sprint for 30 seconds (low resistance). The goal is to be at 80% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, decrease your speed and bike for one minute.

6. 16” Pushups: Do one set of 15 pushups, with your elbows at a 90-degree angle from the body, with your hands 4-16” apart

Same Modification: Do the pushups with your knees on the ground, but do 25 instead of 15.

7. Sprint: Back to the Bike. Sprint for 1 minute at a high resistance, aiming for 70% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, slowly bike at a low resistance for 90 seconds.

8. Jumping Jacks: Do one set of 15 or 20 jumping jacks. If you’re strong enough, add two 10- or 15-pound dumbbells. Lift up the weights when you jump out, in an overhead press position, pulling them back down to shoulder height as your legs go back together.

9. Finisher: Increase the bike resistance to double digits. Bike at a decent speed for 30 seconds, aiming for 60% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, bring the treadmill down to a 1.0 incline and drop your speed to 1.9 or 2.0 for a 1-minute walk. Finish with a light stretch.

For Diabetics: 

Your blood sugar will most likely take two turns. During the warm up, should you choose to warm up, you will likely experience a slight dip in your blood sugar, so plan accordingly to be above your comfortable exercise blood glucose level.

However, during the interval training your blood sugar will stabilize if not rise, so resist the urge to start too high or drink sports drinks with a high glycemic index that may also cause your blood sugar to spike while taking a break.

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