Why Interval Training?

Why Interval Training

An interval workout consists of bouts of high intensity work alternating with periods of lower intensity or rest. By varying the length of the work interval and the length of the rest interval, a wide variety of workouts can be designed to achieve a range of goals. Also keep in mind that when we refer to “Athletes” this ranges from a top level elite performer to the average joe that does basic  exercises. We consider anyone who is physically active to be a “Athlete”.

Many athletes believe that “intervals” are only for competitive athletes. This could not be further from the truth. This is an important component for athletes of all levels.

They help you:

  • Learn to compete with greater intensity.

  • Build the time that you can maintain a certain level of intensity.

  • Improve your speed of recovery.

  • Develop your body’s ability to switch between energy systems.

And they are a very time-efficient method of achieving all these goals. But recent research is showing that intervals are not just for competitive athletes.

Interval workouts are very effective for weight loss. New research suggests that interval training may be a very time-efficient and effective way to lose weight, not to mention that it will build your fitness as effectively as longer, moderate workouts.

A recent study in Japan reached the intriguing conclusion that you would burn more fat with two 30 minutes bouts of exercise separated by a 20 minute rest period than in a single 60 minute session. So if you are training for a longer time domian race or event this can be the “secret sauce” to your training.

And finally, intervals add variety and structure to your workouts, which makes them even more interesting and helps the time pass.

Interval training is a great way for older athletes. They have been shown to be the most effective workout for stemming the tide of aging.

A recent pilot study in Norway has shown that interval workouts may be more effective than longer, lower intensity workouts for reducing cholesterol, adjusting the ratio of fatty acids in the blood, and reducing the risk factors for metabolic syndrome. They have also been shown to be an effective therapy for patients with heart failure. Consult with your physician before starting an exercise program.


Keep intervals as a variation to your training. Your need to expect to be tired after doing intervals. If you’re not, you’re not doing them hard enough. You need to allow your body to recover for a day or two after interval sessions. Competitive athletes might do intervals as many as five days per week during a high-intensity speed training week; older athletes can generally do intervals up to 2–3 times per week.

You should have an extended warmup before performing intervals. This is need to not only prime your body, but also the stimulus put on your central nervous system.

The reason intervals are so effective is that they are intense. By working intensely, even for a short period of time, you place a greater demand on your heart and lungs, which in turn provides a stronger stimulus for physiological change. If all of your exercise is at the same moderate level, it will still burn Calories, but it won’t inspire your body to make changes. In order to work at a higher intensity, it is even more important warm-up well and be sure you are using proper technique. We recommend at least 10 minutes of warm-up.


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