Despite being advertised as the ‘new thing’ by many new brands trying to sell their products and licences, interval training is not a new method of training. If you speak to anyone who has been training for a while they will be aware of their benefits and depending upon their goals will have most likely used intervals within their training in some form.
I tend to use intervals regularly within my training and with my clients so thought I’d put a quick list together for you telling you why intervals are awesome:
- You can do them anywhere.
Intervals can come in many different forms but regardless of whether you are short of space or just don’t have time to get to the gym then intervals can be done anywhere.
As long as you work for maximum effort for a set period of time with a recovery period afterwards then you can adapt the nature of the exercise to anywhere, anytime.
- They don’t take up much time.
Even if you only have 30 mins between getting home from work and picking the kids up from school – you still have time for an ass kicking interval workout.
You can hit a round of Tabata in as little as 4 mins, do this properly and you will be left gasping for air with fatigued muscles …
- Performance Results
Most people aren’t used to pushing into the anaerobic zone (that lovely place where you can’t breathe and you feel like your heart is trying to jump out of your chest). But in this case, extreme training produces extreme results. It has been found that after 8 weeks of doing HIIT workouts, subjects could bicycle twice as long as they could before the study, while maintaining the same pace. (1)
- Burn Body Fat
As well as getting fitter, you can also use intervals to get leaner!!
As you work at a higher intensity during intervals than steady state cardio, not only do you burn more calories but the after effect of all that max effort kicks your body’s repair cycle into overdrive. This means you can burn more fat and calories in the 24 hours after a HIIT workout than you do after, say, a steady-pace run. (2)
- No equipment
Sprints, jumps, burpees etc etc….
You don’t need any equipment to benefit from the results interval training can give. Find a hill and sprint up it as fast as you can, jog down then repeat….. Simple but deadly!
- Burn Fat not Muscle
When you diet it’s hard not to lose muscle mass along with fat.
While steady state cardio seems to encourage muscle loss – go and check out the physique of a distance runner to see this.
HIIT workouts (used correctly) can allow dieters to preserve their hard-earned muscles while ensuring most of the weight lost comes from fat stores. Win/win..
- Increase metabolism
In addition to increased fat burning and more muscle preserved, HIIT stimulates production of your human growth hormone (HGH) during the 24 hours after you finish your workout. This adds to the awesomeness of intervals as HGH is not only responsible for increased caloric burn but also slows down the aging process, making you younger both inside and out!
- Sense of achievement – challenging
Have you ever seen guys in the gym reading books or magazines while ‘working out’ on the bike or crosstrainer?
An interval workout cannot be done while reading a magazine or chatting with your friend….. Because it’s tough!!
Yes its short but you will be working hard the whole time.
You may be in pain, you may be gasping for air, but you definitely won’t be bored! And best of all…. You will feel AWESOME once you’re finished!