TV programs and newspaper articles published today frequently emphasize the benefits of getting off the couch and going for a walk to achieve heart benefits. While walking or exercising at the gym without working up a sweat might make you feel better, it will rarely help in achieving the weight loss, fitness and toning results that most are searching for.
Short bursts of intense intervals will give you the desired results in less time. It is important to choose exercises that get the heart rate up and make you feel slightly uncomfortable for a short period of time to achieve maximum weight loss and muscle tone.
Kick Up the Training Intensity
The idea is NOT to go to the gym and run on a treadmill as fast as you can for as long as you can. Rather, you should choose some cardiovascular-based exercises or mix in some running intervals to get your heart rate into the uncomfortable zone every few exercises. If you are able to carry on a normal conversation throughout your entire workout, you need to add some intensity! Aim for exercises that use large muscle groups and more than one muscle group to burn even more calories in a shorter amount of time. All of the added sweat and heavy breathing from kicking up the intensity will get you the results you’ve been searching for.
Intense Interval Cardio Training
Interval Cardio Training is style of cardiovascular exercise in which the intensity varies for the duration of the session. ‘Intensity’ is defined by the individual’s perceived level of exertion. You can think of your intensity as a number that coincides with your effort on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the hardest. The scale can go something like this:
- 1- Extremely Easy – the amount of energy it takes to get up from a chair
- 5- Moderate Effort – activity that you can do for 30+ minutes
- 7- Challenging – you can do the activity, but it is difficult to sustain
- 8- Difficult – the activity demands some focus, and it’s getting hard to hang in
- 9- Very Difficult – the activity takes all of your focus, and you pray it’s over soon
- 10- Nearly Impossible (But Not Quite!)- you’re thinking of a happy place, which is just about anywhere compared to where you currently are…you can’t possibly push any harder
Simple. Right? You can apply this ‘perceived level of exertion’ to any activity. Take a look at the following sample workouts:
Warm up at YOUR Level 5 Intensity for 3 to 5 minutes before all of these workouts.
- Go to Level 9 for 1 minute, then back down to Level 5 for 1 minute.
Repeat 3 to 5 Times.
- Start at Level 6 for 1 minute. Go to Level 7 for 1 minute. Go to Level 8 for 1 minute. Then, go to Level 9 for 1 minute.
Repeat 3 to 5 Times.
- Start at Level 7 for 30 seconds. Go to Level 9 for 30 seconds. Go to Level 10 for 30 seconds. Walk for 1 minute. Repeat 3 to 5 Times.