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Interval Training: The Basics.

Posted Apr 15 2009 11:35pm

Subtitle: We’re hitting Interval Training 101. Please to indulge me as I yammer at you about something in which I entirely believe.

Hi MizFit, Im sure you get a lot of emails but I wanted to ask you a question. I started walking after your post last week and wondered what interval training is?  Can I do that with walking? would it be walking and then sometimes walking faster? is that interval?  I do  not want to run.  Thanks!!

I’ve been reading a LOT about interval training and all of the lovely weightloss benefits of including it in my workouts but… I’d love to know what actually makes an interval well, an interval…
Does that mean I get to walk for a few minutes and then run for a few minutes and then walk and then run and then jog or whatever? Do I have to be jogging and then running… does it even matter?
Thank you!

After last week’s post on National Start! Walking Day I received a flurry of emails like the above.  Many of you proclaimed that you never, ever want to run but would like to get a more vigorous workout from your walking.

A few of you wanted to begin to bridge the gap between walking and jogging & a handful wanted information on doing running speedwork (?).

Today we’re going to talk about the basics of interval training.

Id say that some day, way down that proverbial road, we’ll talk speedwork but we never will.

MizFit is to speedwork as McDonalds is to organic. (Yes, that’s your cue to write a guest post, shove it in a word doc, & email my way.)

Interval Training 101.  By MizFit

Short version? I love the IT.  Please to, if you’re not already, incorporate IT into your cardio routine.

Interval Training has been used by athletes  for ages (Hi Lance Armstrong!) and recently the rest of us discovered the myriad health benefits gained from this type of a workout, too (Look at me! Am I sounding adult today or what?!).

Interval Training is when you alternate bursts of vigorous exercise (fast walk or jog) with intervals of light activity (regular walking or, for woggers, powerwalking).

Yes, you can use this with many forms of movement (Hello MizFit on her stationary bike!), but it’s most typically used alternating walking & jogging.

Think about last Tuesday when you were so highly motivated by my fantastic post and went for a long walk.  Perhaps you started at a swift pace, were forced to slow to catch your breath, & resumed your initial speed after you felt recovered?

That’s all that interval training really is! Bursts of jogging/fast walking used to rev the intensity of your workout.

It’s during these bursts your fitness level increases & you burn more calories all while decreasing the time you spend working out (Hello happier MizFit!).

However, I cant let it go at that. (*cue collective groan*)

Before we all head out to commence interval training lets back up a bit and touch briefly upon what’s happening in our bods when we exercise.

And then we can get to it.

I promise.

We possess two forms of energy producing systems: aerobic and anaerobic.

Aerobic, meaning with oxygen, is any type of exercise where oxygen is metabolized to produce energy.

Your body’s aerobic system gets energy from oxygen and, in turn, oxygen converts carbohydrates into energy.

Confused? Just keep in mind that aerobic energy is what allows you to run, walk, bike, swim yada yada yada in a sustained effort.

Anaerobic means without oxygen.

This system takes its energy from carbohydrate stores in our muscles and makes your body capable of brief, fast bursts of energy without the use of oxygen.

It’s what we use when we’re exercising in spurts as in lifting weights or running across a busy street.

To keep our bods in optimal condition/health all exercise routines should have both aerobic and anaerobic activities.  (We already knew this, yes? If not–please to hit me up below!)

I love Interval Training because it can hit both of these systems in one workout (*cue confetti*).

How? (Thanks for asking!)

The 2 two systems can work together when you interval train because  they complement each other.

When you exercise rigorously muscles produce a waste product called lactic acid.

It’s the buildup of this acid which can cause muscle aches after intense training sessions.  Interval Training and its rest periods reduces lactic acid accumulation.

The outcome is your muscles feel better both during and after your workout.

Why do I love Interval Training?

  • It speeds up my workout.
  • The short bouts of pushing myself and the “Can I do this interval for longer than I did last time? Go ME!!” challenge makes the entire workout just FEEL faster as well.
  • It has greatly increased my stamina since during each “intensity interval” my aerobic capacity is pushed to its limits.  (and yes. it’s a great calorie burner as well).

Ready to get started? Just as with last week all you really need to do is step outside.

Begin by walking at a brisk pace for one minute. Next, increase your speed to a slow jog for a minute and repeat this alternating routine for a long as possible.

During your recovery period you should be able to speak easily (yet still be somewhat winded) & in your bursts of speed you should be capable of talking, not want to, and feel as though you can only maintain the pace for a brief period of time.

Is all that already too easy?
Take this same practice to a hillier, more challenging terrain.

Try moving up to alternating thirty seconds of jogging with thirty seconds of running.

Always remember the recovery times  are merely a starting point. If you find one minute of walking after jogging isn’t enough time to recover—keep walking!

Listen to your body, extend either time period as needed, and be sure to rehydrate afterward with plenty of water!

Ok, that’s it, People.

And at the same time Im confident it’s not.

Wanna add your .02?
Did I raise more questions for you than Ive answered?

Please to hit us all up in the comments….

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