When I went on vacation a few weeks ago, I was lounging by the pool and checking out a VOGUE magazine. I do love my VOGUE! I came across a great article about interval training. It seemed absolutely revolutionary to me. Here is the gist of it:
According to the article and apparently other web sources, working out at a higher intensity for a shorter period of time, with small bouts of rest in between intervals, will actually provide a more fat burning workout. I have to tell you, 40 minutes on the eliptical 2 days a week and 1 hour on the eliptical once a week was a staple of my workouts for 2 about 2 years. I think I could do that with my eyes closed (okay, I realize, having typed that, closing my eyes during this is not that big of a deal, but you get it, right?). For me, this routine was like having a big fluffy recliner in my comfort zone - it was just too cozy to veer away from. But it also got tediously boring and when boredom sets in, your workouts have the proverbial hat in hand and headed out the door.
Then I come across this article that claims that this much shorter workout will give even better results in alot less time. It gave an example of warming up on your cardio machine of choice. Once you warm up for about 5 minutes, go full speed for one minute, then come down to moderate for one minute, then full speed for two minutes, then back down to moderate for one....then continue on this pattern for 3, 2, 1 minutes full speed with the one minute of rest in between each set. Of course, my first thought is, "This doesn't sound that tough. I could do that." The next morning, I get up and go workout at the hotel gym and figure I will give it a shot. What. A. Workout! WOW!
When I started on the one minute sprint, I was flying on the treadmill. I thought, "Oh yeah baby, I got this!" . Then, after a minute rest, here came the two minute sprint. O. Kaaaayyyyy. (clears throat) I'm feelin' this. That second minute was the longest minute ever! That got me thinking, "Oh no, how am I going to do the 3 minute stretch?" I only got about a minute and a half into the 3 minute sprint and I had to bring it down. From that point I just did one minute intervals. I was amazed at how tired and ridiculously sweaty I was.
When I got back home and came to workout at the gym, I have finally gotten myself to the point that I could do the entire intervals, but it's not easy. I feel like I have stumbled upon something that ohters may be very familiar with, but it's new and exciting to me. Now, when I go on my long walks, I try to make myself run at intervals (ex: run from one trashcan to the next and then walk to the next one and then run to the next and so on). I covered almost the same area that it would normally take me an hour and a half to cover in a little less than an hour, but I felt more worked out than when I have done my regular walk.
Alot of the fitness classes that I do are done with this same interval philosophy in mind and those have gotten me great results. I would challenge anyone to try this. I suggested this to my nineteen year old twin sons, who are very fit. They could not finish the entire circuit. It's so much harder than it seems, but again, what results!