Interval Training is Your Solution to Get in Shape Fast
“Why should I practice running slow? I already know how to run slow. I want to learn to run fast.” Emil Zatopek.
Interval training is the most effective way to get in shape quickly. If done right, you burn fat, you strengthen your cardiovascular system, you improve your stamina.
It seems that today some experts appropriate for themselves this concept of training. Well, there is nothing new: athletes have been used this form of training for decades!
The father of interval training
This is a training system which use intervals: each interval alternates an intense burst and a pause (active or passive), so you are able to recover. After this pause, often equal to the effort duration, you are able to produce the same effort in the following interval. These intervals allow to train at a higher intensity and therefore improve cardiovascular conditioning.
This method of training targets intensity, quality and performance.
This is Emil Zatopek, “The locomotive”, who is credited with revolutionizing running and training: he developed intense interval workouts known today as interval training.
He entered the legend when he won 3 gold medals (the 5,000, the 10,000 and the marathon) in the Olympics in 1952.
Learn more on Emil Zatopek on Wikipedia.
Zatopek did not use interval training on treadmill or stepper to get leaner! He used it to go faster and faster. He trained running on tracks.
Overall stamina and cardiovascular health
If running doesn’t scare you too much, you can get in a tremendous shape and conditioning in record time! And the rest is some kind of details! What I mean is if your main goal is to burn fat, you should focus on your conditioning by using this method. For sure it takes effort, physically and mentally, but the rewards will be tremendous in term of overall stamina and cardiovascular health. And you’ll burn fat naturally very fast.
Running fast is the most effective!
The key in this method is to run at the right intensity; if you run too slow, you’ll not get the expected results; if you run too fast, you may get exhausted and over trained.
The catch is determining your personal intensity and you have to find out.
The right intensity should be at about 80% and higher. Of course check always with your doctor, especially if you are out of shape, before to engage in this form of training.
At the beginning, do not try to do too much: start with a gentle warm up (5-10 minutes walking), then pick up 30 seconds intervals:
30 seconds run, 30 seconds walk, repeat 5 times.
Take 3 to 5 minutes recovery, easy walk and some stretch.
Do it again, 30/30, 5 times.
If you are a beginner, it should be enough, just walk to recover. Be aware you will not be able to run very fast, in fact just jogging could be just right. You’ll be able to increase your speed probably after a few sessions as your endurance improves.
Important: when you walk, focus about your recovery, breath and relax arms and shoulders (they are often under muscular tension when you run). Try to feel you heart rate going down. When you start the next interval you must feel comfortable: heart rate down and no heavy breathing.
I recommend you use a heart rate monitor: you’ll learn how high your heart rate goes during the interval and how fast it goes down when you stop: The faster the heart rate decreases, the best it is.
I don’t advise the use of a treadmill because it takes too much time to speed up and slow down.
If running is a problem for you, yes you can use a stair master, a stationary bike or a rowing machine.
Interval training without running
If you are not a runner this is a method you can use for overall conditioning. In this case the best way is the use of full body weight or kettlebell exercises .
Do the following exercises: 10 pushups + 20 bodyweight squats + 30 seconds of shadow boxing.
Or: 20 kettlebell swings + 10 split squats + 30 seconds boxing bag.
Try to do it without stopping, then rest 1 minute and focus on your breathing.
Repeat the same set of exercises a few times.
If you push, it can be hard and excellent for overall conditioning, both muscular and cardiovascular.
But you must start very progressively, a workout like this one can be adjusted for any level.
This is a perfect method to get in shape fast and obviously for burning fat.