Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Interval Workout

With little time to exercise and far too high of treat consumption, intervals are a necessity for me this holiday season. It's possible to burn the same amount of calories in twenty minutes doing an interval workout as you would doing a steady-paced workout for forty minutes. But that's not all. After an interval workout your body burns calories at a higher rate for almost twenty-four hours. Also, there's been research that shows participants who included two-three interval workouts a week lost five times more body fat.

An interval workout basically means that you alternate pushing hard and going back to a moderate pace. Basically anything you can do that will increase your heart rate and get you breathing hard (add an incline, up the intensity, increase your pace). The key is to make your body work hard then give it a small break while you catch your breath. I like to time my intervals so I know I'm getting the best workout possible. I do one minute sprints followed by two-three minutes of jogging or I do a thirty seconds sprint, thirty seconds walk, thirty seconds jog. I repeat the intervals at least 4-7 times. You can time them however you like or you can just go on rating of perceived exertion and push yourself until you want to quit and then back off until you're ready to go again. I find the timing works well for me because I wouldn't go again!

How do you like to pace your interval workout? Have you personally seen the effectiveness of intervals?


  1. My favorite way to do intervals is with my Timex Ironman watch! (They come in women's styles that are really eye-catching.) I have an old Nordic Track (from D.I.) that I warm up on for 3 min. then do intervals of 3 min. run / 1 min. walk repeated at least 6 times. My watch tracks it all and beeps/flashes when the intervals change.

    Would it be more effective to do shorter intervals more often?

    (I bet the most effective thing would be to actually get on the Nordic Track at least 3 times a week instead of 2 or 3 times a month.)

  2. I do 800s...my block is a perfect 1/2 mile loop so I run around it as fast as I can, do a 2 minute rest and repeat between 4-8 laps. I'm at a 7:30 pace with them right now and I CANNOT believe there are people who run marathons non-stop at that pace...lol. The workout is phenominal. I can almost feel the calories burning for HOURS!!

  3. Christie,
    Oh, you make me laugh! Yes, the consistent 2-3 times a week is very important!
    I think with intervals it's fabulous just to do them, but if you're really pushing yourself hard the lactic acid should begin to accumulate and you wouldn't want to go longer than 90 seconds. I like 30-60 seconds of high intensity because I know I can kill myself in that time but it's not as overwhelming as thinking I have to keep it up for 3 minutes.
    But like I said earlier just the changing of speeds is going to be more effective than a steady pace so keep it up!

  4. That is fabulous, Kim. I wish I could push myself for 1/2 a mile! Great job!

  5. Cami, thanks for this. I started running again on Monday. And this just soldified my thinking. I need to build distance,(and lose a few pounds). So, I jog, slow and steady for about 40 minutes, then finish out the hour doing 1 minute intervals. And Kim! I did a seven and half mile pace for just one minute and I thought it would kill me. I too wonder how they hold that pace for a whole race. I prefer indoor tracks in the winter. Some people find it boring but I like the laps and watching my times get better.

  6. Hey lady,
    Intervals are great...they can max a burn QUICK. I like to do more of a "circuit" Interval...just did one with the class after Thanksgiving. "TURKEY BURNOFF"!
    Hoping all is well! Started my MARATHON training last week-end. Can't believe it!!

  7. Thanks for stopping by, Write One. You're doing fabulous. Keep it up!

  8. Yeah, Roxy! I can't wait to hear about your marathon training. I'm writing a novel right now about a first-time marathoner. It's too fun. Good luck!