Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Interval training

I think interval training is great, every time I do interval training I can literally feel myself pushing my limits. It’s something I started when I was stuck in one of my many weight loss plateaus. Once I started it has always been a regular part of my workouts.
I’m listing a few things I discovered over time hope you find them useful
What is interval training?
Interval training is working out in intervals, meaning you divide your workout into alternating intervals of high intensity and low intensity.In other words you push yourself as much as you can for one interval and followed by stabilizing your breathing/heart rate in the next interval
Usually intervals are very short; I stick to a maximum of 1 minute and a minimum of 30 seconds this is because my high intensity is usually manageable only for 1 minute, that’s how I decide my intensity. Anything that I can comfortably do for more than 1 minute is not intense enough for me.I have seen people (a lot fitter than me) do shorter intervals of 10-15 seconds with 30 seconds rest but their intervals are a lot more intense than mine and I’m working towards that.
Can everybody do interval training?
When I started interval training for the first time I had just started getting used to jogging continuous for about 15 minutes (that was a long way from where I started which was barely few seconds) so I started intervals of walking and jogging at a little higher speed as I become more fit I changed my intervals to jogging and sprinting. Basically whatever your fitness level you can create your own intervals. You can switch between walking and jogging,walking and increasing incline, walking and sprinting or jogging and sprinting
The best thing about interval training is it depends completely on you, you decide what is high for you and how long you want your intervals to be. For example there are some people in my gym whose high intensity is too high for me and mine might be very easy for them but it works for me, during my high intensity I know I’m putting in my maximum effort which is all that matters.
Is it really more effective?
I have read a lot of about how and why interval training is more effective, from a personal experience I can definitely say it is very effective in terms of increasing stamina, speed and it is definitely more taxing than training at regular pace.
If I train at my regular pace I can comfortably manage an hour but with interval training 30 minutes (including my warm-up and cool down) is all I can manage after which I’m done.
How often do I do interval training?
I have personally noticed I can’t do the same interval training on two consecutive days, I might do sprint intervals on the first day followed by bike intervals (spin) the next day but I have not been able to do two consecutive days of sprint intervals. My spin intervals are usually easier than my sprints. I try and stick to 2 days of sprints and 2 days of spin.
Just because it can be done in shorter time does not mean you do it every day because then you are surely at a risk of injury. I think it is best to listen to your body, push yourself just the right amount, don’t overdo it. For some alternate days might work while others might be comfortable sticking to 1 day a week, whatever works.
Some of my regular intervals
2 min warm up – 3 min jog at base speed – [1 min alternate intervals of walking and sprinting ]* 20 minutes-3 minutes jog at base speed – 2 min cool down
2 min warm up – 3 min jog at base speed – [1 min sprint (slower than when my rest interval is a walk) 1 min jog at base speed]*20 - 3 min jog at base speed – 2 min cool down
Sometimes I include incline
2 min warm up – 3 minutes jog at base speed – [1 minutes incline (no holding the bar – that reduces the effort) 1 minute walk or jog]*20 - 3 min jog at base speed- 2 min cool down
Sometimes I play around to include both sprints and inclines, sometimes I change my machines by doing 10 minute intervals on each of the different cardio machines - treadmill, elleptical and stair master
Which machines do I use for interval training?
Anything that can get my heart rate up, I do similar intervals on elliptical, stair master, bike and even skipping rope and sometime I do it without any of the machines outside in the park :)
1 Misconception I had
When I started jogging I was focused on increasing the time I ran for, so when I first started I was always worried my stamina for running for a longer time would go down because I was going to run only for short intervals but trust me I was completely wrong, not only did my stamina increase but my speed also increased considerably because of interval training, my current base speed used to my sprinting speed...
what do you think? do you enjoy interval training as much as I do? I would love to hear about your intervals
(hope you found this useful)
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  1. Interval training is the optimum way to burn fat too. It will help you get faster, and leaner! It's a win, win:) Good synopsis Tanvee!

    1. thanks Leigh...I first started it to lose weight and now I'm hooked

  2. Awesome Stuff! (but could you use the bullet point format to break it up a little?)

    1. thanks Patrick, next time I will make sure I format my posts better :)

  3. Interval training is great! I use it a couple of times a week when walking.

    1. Hi Daine, I do my sprints twice a week and spin intervals twice...I really enjoy my sprints

  4. I love interval training and I really find it effective in terms of boosting fitness and getting you to push your limits.

    1. Hi A, how are you doing? I love the feeling I get after I push my limits...its amazing :)

  5. Very helpful post Tanvee, thanks.
    Will have to try this.

    1. thank you Z, I find interval training very useful, makes me feel very good if I push my limits..

  6. Interval training brings about great results like nothing else will!

    Running upstairs 10 times in a row times 3 has done wonders for me!

    1. interval training surely brings great changes in all,stamina...pushing limits.I try interval training in every possible cardio exercise I do.

  7. Interval training is indeed effective. I did it for a few months while following a balanced diet and lost 10 pounds more than when I did with diet alone. The body burns fuel more efficiently when you give it a sufficient amount of time to rest. Plus, I also noticed that I get tired less easily when doing my daily activities.

    Ruby Cobb @