Are you tired of chugging away on the treadmill or elliptical for 45 minutes to an hour? Are you seeing the changes you want? Reading your magazine while riding your stationary bike or climbing on the Stairmaster is probably not going to get you the fat loss results you want. The smartest, most efficient way to work out is to do interval training. Simply defined, interval training involves alternating short bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter activity, which is called "active recovery." Interval training can be used with any activity. You've probably read in numerous magazines that on your daily walk(?-good idea!) you can play games with yourself by picking out houses or trees to walk "briskly" between. In other words, pick landmarks to do interval training between. These should be short bursts of activity, walking or jogging, that are strenuous enough that you are out of breath, about 1-4 minutes. Then go back to active recovery pace until you bring your heart rate down again. For swimming, do pyramids where each lap gets faster, then drop down to active recovery pace. On the treadmill or stairmaster, bump up the level each minute over a 3-4 minute period, then drop down to active recovery for a minute or two.
My absolute favorite Plan for interval training is from Body for Life: 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strength
Body for Life has a website with a complicated looking chart for interval training but it is very simple in reality. Also, the idea behind this interval training plan is that you will only have to spend 20 minutes a day on your favorite piece of equipment at the gym. Try it. You'll get that endorphin high AND you'll save yourself 20 minutes. If you're not convinced that you can afford to shave 20-30 minutes off your cardio workout, then just implement this plan into your workout. Congrats to you if you can keep this up for 60 minutes! You rock and you're going to look and feel fabulous!
The 20 Minute Plan as I "see" it and use it:
First 2 minutes Very Easy , Level 5 you're warming up
Minute 2 Bump up one notch of effort, Level 6
Minute 3 Bump up another notch of effort, Level 7
Minute 4 Bump it up again, Level 8
Minute 5 Bump it up AGAIN, Level 9 - you should be really working at this point but NOT to a 10
Minute 6 Drop back to Level 6 to recover for a minute
Minute 7: Level 7
Minute 8: Level 8
Minute 9: Level 9
Minute 10: Level 6
Minute 11: Level 7
Minute 12: Level 8
Minute 13: Level 9
Minute 14: Level 6
Minute 15: Level 7
Minute 16: Level 8
Minute 17: Level 9
Minute 19: Level 10!
Minute 20: Cool down at level 5
If you try it and you love it let me know!]]>