Kick start your workout with interval training.
The traditional way of cardiovascular training is a long steady state in a heart rate zone. This is great for starting a program, it is very safe and beginners get results that way. After awhile our body adapts to the workouts that we challenge it with. At this point we need to shock our bodies. The secret weapon for doing this is interval training. Intervals are alternating segments of high intensity and lower intensity exercise. The idea is to work at a higher than normal intensity for a short period of time such as 30 seconds to a minute and then lower the intensity quite a bit for a similar or slightly longer interval then repeat the sequence. Adding one day of higher intensity interval training will help us achieve a higher fitness level in a shorter time.
Some of the benefits of adding interval training to a traditional program are;
1. Increased efficiency of heart muscle. Stroke volume (The amount of blood pumped per heart beat) increases so more oxygen gets to the muscles.
2. Uses more muscle fiber which in turn burns more calories. The more muscles we use the more energy (calories) we need to feed them. It will also take more calories to repair and replace energy stores in the muscles after an intense workout.
3. Increased physical thresholds will prepare us for injury prevention and help us in any physical endeavors that come our way.
4. The release of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) which is said to be the closest thing to the fountain of youth. HGH stimulates muscle growth and helps us use more fat for fuel.
5. Shortens our workout time. On interval day we do not have to go as long. Some experts recommend as few as 20 minutes.
6. Makes it easier to push ourselves. With the knowledge that an easy segment is coming, it isn’t as hard to push the limits.
Before adding interval training to our program, make sure you are ready. If you could work in your target heart rate zone for 30 to 45 minutes three to four times a week, that is a good sign you are ready. Always do a 3 to 5 minute warm up before starting your interval session. After your workout do a cool down as well to help prevent soreness.
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