Sound familiar? You go to the gym, check in, and jump aboard the same stair-stepper, treadmill or elliptical you seem to choose each time you arrive. Adjusting your ear buds, you proceed to set your digital exercise goal on the panel in front of you — and you’re off, doing your cardio training at a speed and level of intensity that makes you sweat but doesn’t drive you crazy.
Is this becoming boring? If the answer to this question is in the affirmative, it might mean you are ready to shake up your workout.
Regardless of whether you follow a paleo, ketogenic, gluten free, real food, keto nutrition or Metabolic Typing style of eating, one great way to burn more calories without spending as much time at the gym is to do interval training. Interval training used to be the secret of elite athletes, but it has now become a powerful tool for the average exerciser as well. If you are someone who is in ketosis either through a Keto Diet or the use of supplemental ketones, you already know that this alternative fuel source is amazing for athletics and peak performance. Ketones will help the body preserve muscle as well as gain strength quickly! Running on ketones instead of relying on glucose will also help the body transition to a fat burning state for true fat loss.
If this sounds complex, think again. All interval training really means is alternating bursts of intense activity with lighter ones as you exercise. As an example, if your machine of choice is a treadmill and you’re in good enough shape, you might add in some short stints of jogging into your regular brisk walks. If jogging is a bridge too far, you can alternate leisurely walking with periods of faster walking. Using landmarks when walking outdoors (mailboxes, trees, trail benches), you can set up small goals each time you walk and increase distances of more rigorous exercise as you become more fit.
No matter whether you’re new to exercise or you’ve been a health nut for years; interval training can benefit you in the following ways:
- You don’t need special equipment or an entirely new routine. All you have to do is modify the one you do now.
- You’ll improve your aerobic health.As your cardiovascular fitness improves, you find that you’ll be able to exercise for longer periods of time or use more intensity. When you begin finishing your 50-minute workout in 35 minutes, you just might become a believer.
- You’ll burn more calories.The more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you’ll burn — even if you increase intensity for just a few minutes at a time.
- You won’t get bored. It’s all about mixing things up.
The principals here apply to everyone, varying only with your readiness as well as your desire to become more fit. If you simply want to jazz up your exercise routine, you can determine the length and speed of each high-intensity interval based on how you feel that day. It could be 30 seconds, 45 seconds, a minute, or a few minutes at a higher level, and then you’ll resume your normal pace (I guarantee you’ll appreciate those cool-off minutes much more than you ever did before). Your next burst of more strenuous activity might be longer. It’s up to you as to how much and for how long you want to pick up the pace.
For my clients who have certain competitive or fitness goals in mind, I make recommendations on how to structure both the timing, the intensity and duration of their intervals. This may be based on their target heart rate, their ability to recover, and their peak oxygen intake, as well as other factors. Things such as hormone status and digestive function play a huge roll as well.
People with chronic health conditions or those who don’t exercise regularly may not be good candidates for this type of training, however. I ask new clients who have questionable health conditions to have a doctor’s consultation before having them try any type of interval training. But studies suggest interval training — even for individuals with heart disease — can be used safely for short periods.
As for risk of injury, it’s unwise to rush into a strenuous workout before your body is ready. It can injure muscles, tendons or even bones, and can take all that motivation you had in the beginning and destroy it. So my advice is to start slowly by doing just one or two higher intensity intervals during each workout. If you think you’re overdoing it, you are. Slow down. And as your stamina improves, you’ll find yourself challenging the very body that might have resented getting on that treadmill to begin with, leaving the gym earlier than you ever thought possible.
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask! Dani at Nutrition the Natural Way .com