Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Interval Fat Loss Workout

As we near the end of 2011 and start of 2012, for many the focus on fitness begins anew.  Picture this scene: in most gyms and exercise facilities, the busiest areas will be where the treadmills, stepmills, ellipticals, and exercise bikes are located, also known as the 'cardio area'.  I have actually seen lines at some health clubs, with individuals waiting for their turn to use the equipment. 

For those who do cardio the traditional way, where the user watches Sportscenter or the View, while maintaining a steady heart rate, their efforts are almost useless.  In addition, the traditional gym goer who expends an increasing amount of energy and time focusing on 'output' (or exercise) instead of simply changing and improving 'input' (nutrition) will be soon frustrated at a lack of physical changes. 

Still, because it is important for lung and heart health, cardio can not be overlooked, but rather, looked at differently.  Research is quite emphatic and clear in which form of cardio is actually the most beneficial, for athletes, cardiovascular rehab patients, and general fitness lovers: interval training. 

Interval training, consisting of varying amounts of 'work' and 'rest', has shown to be the most effective form of cardiovascular activities that smashes fat.  The key here: the calories burnt AFTER this form of exercise easily outnumbers the calories burnt DURING the workout.  This phenomenon, also known as EPOC (excess post exercise oxygen consumption), is why serious athletes, whose workouts consist of this 'stop, go' approach, are easily the fittest on the planet. 
Football: stop, go.  Get lean muscle tissue.  
Marathon runners, whose workouts consist of mostly steady state, are hardly considered the fittest, not to mention aesthetically pleasing athletes. 
Marathon runners: skin, some muscle, and bone. 
Alright, enough about the comparisons.  If you want more information about the differences, check out a guest blog post from Mike Boyle HERE

Here's one of the toughest interval workouts I have done in a long time, written especially for the treadmill or outdoor running:

Pyramid Interval Workout
Run: 1 minute
Rest: 1 minute
Run: 2 minutes
Rest: 2 minutes (rest 1 minute, active rest (side shuffle, jog) 1 minute)
Run: 3 minutes
Rest: 3 minutes (rest 1 minute, active rest 2 minutes)
Run: 2 minutes
Rest 2 minutes (rest 1 minute, active rest 1 minute)
Run: 1 minute
Rest: 1 minute

For beginners, once through this, done with 100% effort during run portion, should be plenty.  More advanced runners and athletes can repeat 1-2 more times.  I started doing 2 times through and was quite tired.  Total mileage for 2 times through should be just over 4, depending on pacing. 

For your sake: include a warm up that includes dynamic movements, along with cool down stretches after the workout. 

Good luck!

-Coach Kev

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