Interval training, which involves alternating high intensity workout periods with rest periods (rather than endurance training – going the same speed for the entirety of the workout), can really rev up your metabolism. Plus, it can be done with a variety of exercises — from walking to biking to jumping rope.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), high intensity interval training (HIIT) boosts metabolism and subsequently speeds up weight loss. This is because during HIIT, a person uses up more oxygen than they would if going at a steady rate, which then ups the calorie burn post-exercise. According to the ACSM, a session of HIIT can boost metabolism for 1.5-24 hours after the workout.
I’d like to point out that you will not only burn more calories after the workout — you’ll also get these benefits from a SHORTER workout (read: efficiency). So you can have your cake and eat it too. Or have your protein shake and drink it too in this case?
Interval training will also improve aerobic capacity — basically your body’s ability to use oxygen to fuel muscles — which is a marker for your fitness level. So to sum up, here are the benefits of interval training:
- Increased calorie burn
- Revved up metabolism (for 1.5-24 hours post-workout)
- Improved aerobic capacity/fitness level
- Shorter workouts/less time at the gym
- Build muscle
- Speed weight loss
- Decreased boredom
Below is a build-up for interval training. High intensity interval training requires a certain physical fitness level and is not for those just starting an exercise routine. The ideas listed are arranged from easier to harder, so choose a workout that corresponds to your current fitness level, and then work you way up. Interval training workouts should be around 20-30 minutes, so repeat for the following sets until you reach the desired time:
- Walk briskly 60 seconds, walk steady 60 seconds
- Run 60 seconds, walk 60 seconds
- Run 2 minutes, walk 90 seconds
- Run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute
- Sprint 1 minute, walk 1 minute
- Sprint 1 minute, jog 1 minute
These intervals can also be applied to biking, elliptical training, weight lifting, jump-roping and many other workouts. For example, you can up the resistance and your intensity for 1-2 minutes and then alternate with a 1 minute rest. Or my personal favorite: jump rope slow for 30 seconds, fast.