interval training

Workout by Javier Estrada, NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

If one of your major fitness goals is to burn fat, you need to include interval training into your routine. Besides being a great structure for a quick, efficient workout, interval exercises, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, are also an extremely effective way to fight fat.

The theory behind interval training lies in its ability to keep your body in fat-burning mode long after a workout. An interval training or HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) session incorporates in rounds of quick, intense bursts of exercises performed at an all-out effort followed by short periods of active recovery. During these periods of high-intensity work your body is unable to bring in enough oxygen (Think gasping for breath after a sprint or round of burpees).

In short, over the course of the workout you create a “debt” of oxygen that must be repaid after your workout to return your body back to normal. This oxygen deficit leaves your metabolism revved for up to 24-hours post-workout. (This theory is also referred to as EPOC, or excess post-exercise consumption.)

Intense exercises can also stimulate muscle-building hormones that help promote lean muscle mass. This means the fat you are burning off is being replaced with muscle.

Creating an interval training program is not difficult, as many traditional exercises can be performed in an interval structure. One of the easiest and most accessible ways is on a treadmill or elliptical.

The following interval workout is great to incorporate at the end of your training session to increase the amount of calories burned during and after your gym session.

Treadmill Interval Workout

  • Warm-up with a light jog for two to three minutes at your base pace. This should feel comfortable and not straining.
  • 30-seconds: Sprint or fast jog at an all out pace. (High intensity)
  • 1-minute: Jog or walk back at your base pace.

This is one round. Repeat for five more rounds. As you become stronger work up to performing 10-rounds, for an even more advanced workout try reversing the ratio by sprinting for one minute and resting for 30-seconds.