5 Reasons Interval Training Is Better Than Traditional Cardio
The common theme among many professionals today is that they tell you to do long, boring cardio to lose fat. “Get into your target rate and stay there for at least 30 minutes,” they say.
Well, what if everything these “experts” have been telling you for the last few decades has been completely and utterly wrong. mistaken?
As more and more research is completed, we are finally discovering the truth about what types of exercises we should be doing.
That kind of exercise is called interval training.
Interval training is just intense exercise followed by short rest periods.
Take hill sprints as an example. Let’s say there is a 50 foot hill near your house. You start at the bottom, run up (intense exercise) and then back down (short rest period). Then rinse and repeat the process.
So what are the benefits of interval training compared to long cardio workouts?
- 1) It takes less time – Interval training can last as long as a normal workout, but it by no means has to be. Since you’ll be pushing harder each exercise period, you won’t be able to sustain a very long workout. Usually 10-15 minutes is enough for beginner or intermediate fitness levels.
- 2) You drastically reduce your heart rate – When I first tried interval training, my heart rate was about 66 beats per minute, which is a bit lower than average but not quite in the “excellent” range. After about 2 months my heart rate was hovering around 50-55 bpm which means my heart is in elite condition. Like any other muscle, your heart gets stronger as it recovers. Since you recover between each interval, you’ll start to see a dramatic difference in your heartbeat.
- 3) You lose more fat – With traditional cardio you lose fat because you burn it while you exercise. However, once you’re done, your metabolism doesn’t really stay on a “high” like it does while you exercise. With intervals, even if you don’t burn as many calories during exercises, you can burn much more fat for the rest of the day. You literally burn fat while you sleep!
- 4) You Don’t Lose Muscle – With traditional cardio, you must have an almost perfect nutritional plan in order not to lose muscle. In many cases, even a perfect nutrition plan won’t help. However, with interval training you release HGH (Human Growth Hormone) which signals your body to build more muscle and lose fat. Why do you think sprinters have such lean, muscular bodies while marathon runners are all skin and bones?
- 5) You can combine programs – Chances are you’re currently on a cardio/weightlifting program right now. Well, what if I told you that you could get the same benefits in less than half the time? A workout I like to do is like this: First, I jump rope as fast as possible for 50 repetitions with both feet, then 25 times with my left leg, then my right. So I do it again. Then, I go in and do single leg squats and abdominal work to catch my breath. Then I do a series of vertical jumps. Then jump rope again. It’s a great lower body interval workout that I do in a total of about 12 minutes.
You can design an interval training workout around just about anything you’re currently doing. Remember, all you need to do is quickly increase your heart rate and then bring it back down again. Do this a few times and you’re done.
You no longer have to go to the gym for hours on end, wasting your day. You no longer have excuses why you can’t exercise. All it takes is 10-15 minutes and you can get in an incredibly grueling workout. Just be creative and have fun.