Interval Training: The Holy Grail of Fast Weight Loss?
You’ve been eating all the right foods, doing cardio five times a week, lifting weights, and generally following all of the much-touted recommendations health experts give for fast weight loss. Unfortunately, none of it seems to be working, and your nemesis — those numbers on the scale — fail to budge. There is a key to effective weight loss that doesn’t receive nearly enough press. Knowing this key will help you to lose weight quickly and also greatly enhance your level of fitness. Read on to learn more about the fine art of high intensity interval training, and what it has to offer you.
Why Many People Work Out and Fail to Lose Weight Fast
If you’ve been running on that treadmill or swimming those laps for weeks now and haven’t seen that scale budge a bit, it might be time to add a little variety to your workout routine. Even the most successful dieters tend to hit the dreaded “plateau,” where their steady weight loss dwindles to a mere trickle. The solution heralded by many weight loss experts is to shake things up a bit by tricking your body into responding to higher and lower bursts of intensity. Simply put, your body becomes acclimated to the same old workout routines, and they become less effective as time goes on. By using interval training, you will be jerking your body out of its complacency and burning far more calories in the process.
The History Behind Interval Training
Interval training, originally referred to as “fartlek,” was developed in Sweden during the 1930s. In fact,“fartlek” is actually the Swedish term for “fast play,” which characterizes the bursts of speed central to the success of interval training. It was eventually molded into a process that focuses on heart rate recovery in Germany, and eventually, the interval training philosophy spread all over the world, quickly becoming the go-to workout for professional athletic coaches. As all such techniques do, it eventually trickled down to the masses and became a useful aid to non-athletes who were looking to shed a few pounds.
How High Intensity Interval Training Works
Interval training works by alternating the intensity of your workout. It can be effective in any type of workout you regularly engage in, whether it is running, swimming, cycling, dancing, etc. However, it’s not an easy — out for couch potatoes, because the longer and harder you make your high intensity period, the more calories you will burn and the faster you will lose weight. It’s also important to note that interval training is a great Segway into developing a more challenging workout routine that can take beginning exerciser to more intermediate and advanced levels. Many runners, in particular, are fond of interval training because it helps them reach greater speeds and longer distances with fewer injuries as their bodies acclimatize to the increasing interval of greater intensity and duration.
Why Interval Training Works
The science behind the effectiveness of interval training is really quite simple. When you alternate the intensity of your workout, your body is forced to exert more effort than it would if your fitness program was focused on maintaining a steady pace. In fact, the real key behind the extra calorie-burning you experience during interval training lies with how fast you can get your heart rate to beat, and the way in which it recovers. Heart rates that return to normal more quickly will burn more calories, according to health experts, and the more you practice the interval training, the faster it will recover as it gets in better shape.
Although you may burn the same amount of calories in a regular fitness program, interval training excels in helping you to lose weight quickly because you can burn the same amount of calories as in those programs, but in less time. Fitness experts also believe that interval training results in a greater “afterburn,” in which your body continues to burn calories at a higher rate, even after your fitness program is over and you’ve been resting for a considerable while.
Basically, interval training can cause your body to burn extra calories, even when you’re doing nothing at all. Who wouldn’t want that?
As you continue doing your interval training on a regular basis, you’ll find that it will lead to a snowball effect in terms of your fitness. You’ll become fitter, and thus more able to complete the more challenging fitness programs that will lead to even more calorie-burning and faster weight loss.
What You Need to Supplement Your Interval Training
It should go without saying — there is no type of workout you can perform, no matter how intense or effective, that can combat the effects of a poor diet.
To lose weight quickly and enjoy the full benefits of your interval training fitness program, you need to incorporate healthy meals into your diet. According to the USDA, the majority of your diet should not be made up of protein and fat, as the typical Western diet is, but rather the majority of your plate should be made up of nutritious fruits and vegetables.
In addition to fruits and vegetables, whole grains are also beneficial to the weight loss process. This is because whole grains contain many nutrients that are essential to your body. They can also help to control blood sugar levels and regulate your appetite as well.
Examples of Interval Training Routines for fast weight loss
Here’s an example of an effective interval training fitness program to get you started.
Keep in mind that you can always modify any workout to suit your level of fitness. There’s no need to overwork your body, only to find that you have to take two or three days to recover from your injuries or damaged cells.
Walking is one effective interval training you can adopt. An early morning walk on the roads or fields can be a very good starting point. You can begin by starting at a pace that feels best for you.
Instead of going out for this exercise you can perform the walking interval workout on the treadmill, in the comfort of your own home if you prefer. Begin by warming up for 10 minutes at a zero incline, at a speed of around 2.5 mph. After you’ve sufficiently warmed up, get off the treadmill. Yes, I did write that. Get off the treadmill and stretch. Then get back on the treadmill at an incline of 3.5 and a pace of 3.0 miles per minute. Try to maintain this for at least 30 seconds; but doing it for a minute is even better. Then, relax by setting the incline back to 0 and slowing down your pace. Next time, try to go faster and at steeper inclines, but only as much as your fitness allows. Continue doing this for 30 minutes, and make sure to end your workout with at least a five-minute cooling down period.
Congratulations — you’ve just performed your first interval workout! By staying dedicated to this fitness regime, it won’t be long before you start seeing the much-anticipated fruits of your labor. Make this routine part of your fast weight loss goals and you will be putting yourself on the road to the quickest way to lose weight. The body of your dreams is just round the corner. You only need to get off your bum to grab it.
Harris, Siobhan. “So does it help you lose weight?” WebMd. <http://www.webmd.com> 9 Oct 2014