While interval training has been around for years (also known as “fartlek” training), few of us really know the real benefits of it and whether or not this type of training fits in with what we are trying to accomplish in terms of our weight loss, weight gain or maintenance goals. Hopefully these few tips will help you figure out if it is for you:
1. Interval training works both the aerobic and anaerobic systems in your body. The term ‘anaerobic’ means without oxygen which is usually the more intense portion of your workout. During this time, lactic acid will build up in your working muscles causing the burn that you feel, and during the recovery phase (considered aerobic phase) of your workout, your heart will have a chance to slow down a little and prepare for the next high intensity phase. This is appropriate for you if you are generally healthy and have had no previous indications of heart problems. You will train your heart to work at new levels, and burn more calories in the process.
2. The level of intensity that you need to work at is highly dependent on your goals, level of fitness and health history. If you have a goal of running a 5k marathon in under 25 minutes for instance, your training will be different than someone who just wants to lose a few pounds. Safety is the most important aspect of exercise, so make sure you put safety first even if it means asking a trainer.
3. Continually performing interval training leads to the adaptation response. The body begins to build new capillaries, and is better able to take in and deliver oxygen to your working muscles. Your muscles will develop a higher tolerance to the build-up of lactate, and the heart muscle is strengthened. These changes result in improved performance particularly within the cardiovascular system. This is why even the simplest form of interval training can be beneficial to anyone who is considered generally healthy.
Consider adding interval training to your existing routine. Get expert advice if necessary to determine the most effective ways it can work for you and your fitness goals.
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