Nutrition

Ready to take action this spring? Why not try interval training with this step-by-step guide?

Believe it or not, the warm weather is almost here and – if you’re thinking about getting active this spring – there’s one training technique you should know about.

Interval training (IT).

It’s best described as alternating between intense and moderate cardiovascular training, says Lisa Bergart, Dynamix Fitness personal trainer, Toronto.

“This training technique can reduce total workout time by burning calories quickly while helping you build both stamina and endurance,” she explains.

“IT has also been shown to improve the efficiency of mitochondria – how your muscles use oxygen to create energy. This allows you to burn fat faster than with a ‘one heart rate’ based workout.”

WHAT IS HIIT?

You have probably also heard of the term HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training. This applies the same principals as IT, but is performed at a higher intensity.

“HIIT is a great way to increase lean muscle mass and burn large amounts of calories quickly,” says Lisa.

“It is, however, important to train under a qualified personal trainer to ensure that you are exercising at the correct intensity for your age, fitness level, injury background and training goals.

“You should always have a full fitness assessment before you begin your spring campaign so that your interval training load is set correctly.”

Remember, there is a difference between low, moderate and high levels of fatigue and pain so always listen to your body’s intuition and know when to ease up.

WHEN TO AVOID HIIT

If you suffer from obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure, Lisa advises against HIIT.

“When your body gets tired it loses strength and in turn you will perform exercises with either bad or no technique, and that’s when injury can strike,” she explains.

5 IMPORTANT STEPS FOR ANY INTERVAL TRAINING

To get the most out of any interval training session – and stay safe while doing it –follow Lisa’s top five steps for IT workouts:

  1. Warm-up the muscle groups specific to your workout;
  2. Listen to your body during the workout for good pain (fatigue), versus bad pain (injury);
  3. Prepare carefully and maintain good technique during the session;
  4. Build up your intensity slowly; and
  5. Cool-down at the end of your workout. This helps disperse lactic acid from the belly of your muscles and reduce soreness.

BEGINNER WORKOUT

This 20-minute HIIT work includes three rounds of exercises. Each round should include 45 seconds of work per exercise, with 15 seconds rest between each exercise. Take one-minute recovery at the end of each round. The session, prescribed by Lisa, offers modified and full variations to suit beginners of all fitness levels. Ask your trainer for more IT advice.

Workout Exercises:

1.Power walk, slow jog or run

2.Wide arm push-ups (modified or on your toes)

3.Step ups or high knees on spot

4.Squat or squat jumps

5.Triceps dips

Complete 3-4 Rounds!