So you have been enjoying the summer here in the northeast. Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Fourth of July BBQs have been aiding in your weight gain. Here are some tips on how to burn those extra calories FAST!
Interval Training: It’s not as complicated as you might think. Interval training is simply alternating bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter activity.
There are many ways to train using intervals:
- Walk: If you’re in good shape, you might incorporate short bursts of jogging into your regular brisk walks. If you’re less fit, you might alternate leisurely walking with periods of faster walking. For example, if you’re walking outdoors, you could walk faster between certain mailboxes, trees, or other landmarks.
- Cycle: Cycling is a low-impact form of cardiovascular exercise. Interval cycling is performed by alternating your speed back and forth from high to low. Start your workouts with a light five-minute warm-up to slowly raise your core body temperature and to loosen up your body. After you have done that, pedal as fast as you can for 20 seconds, then pedal at a moderate pace for 40 seconds. Repeat this sequence for the rest of your workout. These time frames are only examples. You can pedal as long or short as you want; just make sure your low-intensity bouts are twice as long as your high intensity bursts. When you first start doing interval cycling, it is a good idea to start out with shorter time frames until your body adapts.
- Swim: Before you can begin an interval swim program you need to test your swim times. Swim few laps, up to around 400 meters at a slow pace. Once you feel warm and your cardiovascular system is ready to sustain a higher effort, start your interval training routine. Let’s say you prefer to swim freestyle and you are looking to improve on your fitness and body shape without any competing needs. You need to know how fast you can swim a 100 and a 50, putting all you have into it. Then take the time you scored and add 20% to it. In this way you get the time you would score if you were to swim at 80% of the effort, instead of 100. This will be the target time for your repetitions. Next, you need to decide how long you want to rest between one repetition and the other. The general idea is that you need to pick a resting time which makes you start the next repeat with breathing and heart rate still considerably elevated from the previous swim, but long enough for you to get the next 100s done in your target time. The resting time will follow your level of fitness. So start with something like 20-25 seconds and adjust it as you get better. The next variable you need to set is the number of repetitions. Will you do 5, 10 repetitions or maybe 15? As you might understand by now, these three variables, target time, rest time and number of repetitions will give you the volume of your interval training set. Increasing your cardiovascular efficiency training means you will be able to sustain a higher volume set. To increase the training volume you can work on each single variable; you can reduce the resting period, reduce you target time or increase the number of repetitions. To start with keep the number of repetitions around 10 and as you improve, work on the other two variables.
- Kettle Bell Swings: The swing is a traditional kettlebell exercise with numerous benefits. Performed either two-handed or using one arm at time, the kettlebell is swung from between the knees to anywhere between eye level to fully overhead–The swing exercise can also be performed with a dumbbell, weight plate or even a medicine ball in a bag if a kettlebell is not available. You can perform interval training using kettlebell swings. Swing a moderate to heavy weight/kettlebell for 30 to 90 seconds, rest for as long as you need for your heart rate to recover and then repeat for as many sets as are desired. Your breathing rate and heart rate will accelerate dramatically and your muscles will burn as lactic acid is produced–the byproduct of anaerobic exercise. To Perform a Kettlebell swing stand with your feet shoulder–width apart, holding the kettlebell handle in both hands. Keep your weight spread evenly through your heels and forefoot. Bend your knees slightly and descend into a quarter squat and push your hips back. Lean forward and lower the weight between your knees. Keeping your arms straight, your shoulders back and without rounding your back, thrust your hips forward and swing the kettlebell up to your preferred height. Allow gravity to pull the kettlebell back down through your legs, as you push your butt back, bend your knees slightly and get ready for another swing.
- Circuit Training: This type of training can be done anywhere, anytime. You don’t necessarily need any equipment in order to put yourself through an intense circuit training workout. Bodyweight exercises can be used exclusively if you don’t have access to equipment or you can use everything your gym has to offer if that’s what you prefer. A circuit is most effective if you incorporate exercises that work on different parts of the body. It is important to alternate which muscle group you work on within your circuit. So you might do A total-body exercise (Burpee) followed by a lower body exercise (squat), then an upper-body exercise (push ups), followed by a core exercise (front plank) and finish off with a cardio type exercise (skipping). It is very important to conduct a warm up at the start of the workout and stretch at the end.
Whether you’re a novice exerciser or you’ve been exercising for years, interval training can help you rev up your workout routine. Consider the benefits:
You’ll burn more calories. The more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you’ll burn — even if you increase intensity for just a few minutes at a time.
You’ll improve your aerobic capacity. As your cardiovascular fitness improves, you’ll be able to exercise longer or with more intensity. Imagine finishing your 60-minute walk in 45 minutes — or the additional calories you’ll burn by keeping up the pace for the full 60 minutes.
You’ll keep boredom at bay. Turning up your intensity in short intervals can add variety to your exercise routine.
You don’t need special equipment. You can simply modify your current routine.
There you have it. Interval training is an efficient and effective training method that will help you improve your aerobic and anaerobic capacity, your performance, your recovery from short and intense bouts of work, and all in less than one-fifth the time of traditional aerobic conditioning. Intervals are tough but worth the effort. Give it a try and see what you think. Good luck with your training!