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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Intervals for Increased Fat Loss

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photo by sirwiseowl

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If you enjoy hour upon hour of running, like I do, than getting in your cardio for the day is never a problem. I get the distinct feeling that I'm in the minority, though, and most people would rather not exercise, or they exercise grudgingly because they know it helps keep excess weight off. For these people, getting the biggest fat loss bang for their buck is essential. The key to losing the most fat with the shortest investment in workout time is with intervals.

Technique

Intervals are simply high intensity periods of exercise intermixed with short rest periods. You can get a great interval workout in 20 minutes, but you must remember that the intensity level must remain high during the intervals. This is not an easy workout. The exercise choice is up to you. You can run sprints, cycle faster during the intervals, jump rope, or if you don't have any equipment, air squats or jump squats are a real butt kicker. Start by warming up for 5 minutes by doing your exercise at a low intensity. Then begin the intervals by increasing the intensity to a hard level for one minute and thirty seconds. Then decrease the intensity to a low level and rest for 30 seconds. Repeat the hard/easy cycle for 4 more times and finish up with a five minute, low intensity cool down. That's all there is to it...a superb fat-blasting workout in only 20 minutes. As your fitness increases, try to add more intervals or try to increase the length of the intervals.

Superb Fat Burning

I've talked about the myth of the "fat burning zone" in the past. While doing lots of easy, steady state cardio may burn a higher percentage of fat, more vigorous exercise burns many more calories, and burning calories counts more for weight loss. In addition to burning more calories during the actual exercise period, high intensity interval training has been shown to increase metabolism for up to 40 hours after the completion of the exercise, burning even more calories. If you are short on time and want a great workout, give intervals a shot.

Have you ever tried high-intensity cardio, or do you prefer the slow and steady method?

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2 comments:

Kristen said...

Amen! Love interval training!!

tryingfitness said...

I recently started performing intervals and really enjoy it. I'm out of breath much more than when I run and I like that I get more of a full body workout. I won't give up on my slow, steady runs though. Running is still fun for me and I want to improve my endurance.