Sunday, January 31, 2010

Interval Training

I have taken this as an excerpt from David Zinczenko's Book, The Abs Diet.

Interval Training

Back in the 80's, the only thing more popular than big hair and shoulder pads was running. Weigh-loss experts touted long, steady aerobic exercise as nearly the best way to burn fat, build endurance, and keep the heart pumping.

And aerobic exercise (running, cycling, swimming) is good for you. I’ve run the New York City Marathon twice myself, and I can attest to the fact that cardiovascular exercise strengthens your heart, burns calories, and decreases stress.

But cardio has two significant drawbacks. First, it only burns calories while you are doing it, not afterward. And second, it does nothing to build muscle. Unless…unless you try interval training.

Interval training refers to a shorter, more intense method of working out. Instead of long, slow, boring runs or rides, interval training intersperses short bursts of high-intensity exertion with periods of slow, more restful exercise. In a Canadian study from Laval University, researchers measured differences in fat loss between two groups of exercisers following two different workout programs. The first group rode stationary bikes at a steady pace four or five times a week and burned 300 to 400 calories per 30- to 45-minute session. The second group did the same, but only one or two times a week, and they filled the rest of their sessions with short intervals of high-intensity cycling. They hopped on their stationary bikes and pedaled as quickly as they could for 30 to 90 seconds, rested, and then repeated the process several times per exercise session. As a result, they burned 225 to 250 calories while cycling, but they burned more fat at the end of the study than the workers in group one. In fact, even though they exercised less, their fat loss was nine times greater. Researchers said that the majority of the fat-burning took place after the workout.

So instead of asking you to spend 30 minutes on a stairclimber or a stationary bike every day, I want you to add on simple interval workout per week to complement your strength training. Your mode of transportation isn’t important, so pick whatever activity you prefer. What’s more important is making sure you change gears. You can vary it in whatever time frames you want (1-minute high intensity, 1-minute low intensity, or maybe build up with 30 seconds of high, rest, then 45 seconds, then rest, and so on). Always warm up and cool down for at least 5 minutes at the beginning and end of each interval workout.

David Zinczenko and Ted Spiker. The Abs Diet: Eat Right Every Time Guide. Holtzbrinck Publishers, 2005.

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