Interval Training

Interval Training

Interval Training Provides Improved Cardiovascular Health and Fat-Burning Benefits in Nearly Half the Time of Traditional Exercise.

You have probably heard that HIT training provides fat-burning benefits, but may be wondering, what exactly is HIT? High Intensity Interval Training, also referred to as HIT, consists of high-intensity bursts of energy cycled with lower intensity rest periods.

According to research, this type of training helps your body to burn more fat, along with providing other health benefits, such as increased cardiovascular health and a higher metabolism. Besides these obvious physical benefits, HIT also provides an alternative style of exercise that wipes out the common excuse of not having time for exercise.

You don’t have to spend hours in the gym to reap the health benefits of regular exercise. In one study published in the American Journal of Physiology.Regulatory, Integrative & Comparative Physiology, it was found that “people can exercise using brief, high-intensity forms of exercise and reap the same benefits to cardiovascular health that can be derived from traditional, long-duration and moderately intense exercise” (McMaster University 2008).

By performing HIT 3 times a week for only 20 minutes a day, test subjects showed the same health benefits obtained by performing traditional cardio training 40 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

interval training

By implementing a 6 week HIT program you can see improved function and structure of your arteries which means less chance of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. This type of training also helps your body to better process sugars and increases your fat-burning potential.

By incorporating HIT into your regular exercise program combined with a healthy diet, you can maximize your weight-loss results and improve your overall fitness.

Even if you don’t have the time to spend more than 20 minutes a couple days a week exercising, utilizing interval training a few times a week is a great way to gain health benefits that will allow you to “carry out activities of daily living more effectively and without strain, and crucially with less risk of a heart attack, stroke or diabetes” (Wiley – Blackwell 2010).

So what does this mean for you? You can complete intervals of higher-intensity spurts of exercise with lower intensity rest periods in place of long, endurance, cardio training and obtain the same results. This calculates to less time in the gym working towards your fitness goals and more time out of the gym experiencing the benefits of being fit and healthy.

Total Workout, July 2012

Sample High-Intensity Interval Training Day:

These intervals can be applied to almost any cardio activity including running, stationary bicycle, elliptical machine, or swimming. Running will have the greatest overall benefits, however, whichever activity you are most comfortable performing is fine.

  • 5-10 minutes Warm Up
  • Repeat the following cycle 5- 10 times depending on your fitness level.
    • 80-100% intensity 15-30 seconds
    • Recovery: Jog, walk, or pedal slowly for 60-90 seconds
  • 5-10 minutes Cool Down
  • 5 -10 minutes Stretching

This cycle will become less difficult as you complete it more times. In order to continue to challenge your body and progress, you should aim to increase the number of cycles you complete as you complete more HIT sessions.

For increased results, perform at a higher level of intensity for longer durations while shortening your recovery times.

*If you begin to feel faint or have extreme pain or nausea, STOP immediately and rest. Do not over train, if you have any of the above symptoms, the workout is too strenuous and you need to increase your recovery times and/or decrease your high intensity interval time.


McMaster University (2008, June 4). Brief, Intense Exercise Can Benefit The Heart, Study Shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2012, from¬/releases/2008/06/080604101529.htm

University Of Guelph (2007, June 29). Interval Training Burns More Fat, Increases Fitness, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2012, from¬/releases/2007/06/070627140103.htm

Wiley - Blackwell (2010, March 12). High-intensity interval training is time-efficient and effective, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2012, from­/releases/2010/03/100311123639.htm

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