So what is this magical interval training? It's normal, steady exercise interspersed with bouts of high-intensity exercise. For example, running at a steady pace for five minutes, then running as fast as you can for two minutes, then returning to your normal pace and repeating the pattern throughout your workout.
The Beauty of Speedplay
Why is it so great? Because a 45- or 60-minute session of interval training burns more fat and calories than steady exercise performed for the same amount of time. According to a study by University of Guelph researcher Jason Talanian (and reported in ScienceDaily), "After interval training, the amount of fat burned in an hour of continuous moderate cycling increased by 36 percent."
You can use interval training (also called "speedplay" because you're speeding up, recovering, and speeding up again) in your weekly cardio training. And you can incorporate intervals into your strength workouts by alternating between muscle-building exercises and short bursts of cardio.
If you've ever wondered what all these popular "boot camp" classes are about, we'll pull back the curtain for you … they're just an hour of strength and cardio interval training. Participants will do push-ups for one minute, then spend two minutes running. They'll do a few sets of biceps curls with a dumbbell, then spend a minute doing jumping jacks.
Interval training is great because the frequent change in exercise and intensity keeps your brain and body busy so you never get bored. The strength training creates lean muscle, while the cardiovascular moves increase endurance. And research shows that this combination melts fat like a hot frying pan!