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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Interval Training

If you're like most people, you probably can't stand doing cardio -- I even have to force myself to do it. Well, if you're like those of us who dislike cardio, then interval training is for you.

Most people I see in the gym do long bouts of cardio, which can get monotonous. But interval training can help mix it up and make cardio less boring -- and more effective.

Interval training, basically, is when you do a quick burst of high-intensity exercise and then follow it with a lower-intensity exercise for a while.

Interval training is an excellent form of cardio for several reasons. It is great for fat burning. It increases the amount of oxygen you take in during exercise, which in turn burns more fat.

(Uh, burns more fat? I’m sold on that alone!)

Okay, here are a couple more reasons. If you've reached a plateau where you are no longer seeing results with your training routine, interval training will be a great shock to the body to help you get over the plateau.

It really isn’t that difficult to do. Interval training can be performed with any cardio exercise. It is most commonly done with the running/walking form of cardio, but can also be done on or with a bike, elliptical machine, stair climber, swimming and even jumping rope. My favorite piece of cardio equipment is the elliptical, so I usually do it on this machine.

To begin your interval program, start off by warming up for 5 minutes at a low intensity. Increase the intensity to a high level until you begin to feel your muscles "burn" or until you're too exhausted to continue at that level. Then reduce the intensity to a moderate speed where you are able breath at a normal rate. You should exercise at the high-intensity level for about 1 minute or as long as you can stand, then exercise at the moderate level for 2-3 minutes. Repeat this cycle for 30 minutes. Each time you perform this routine, try to increase the time you exercise at the high-intensity level.

Give this type of training a try 2-3 times a week, and you'll definitely start to see the fat melt away, which is what we all want after all, right?

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