Interval Training iPod Workouts - Your Ticket to Fat Burning and Cardio Results!
Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN
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One of the wonderful things about interval training ipod workouts is that they offer tremendous fun and variety to your cardio workouts! That alone makes interval cardio training so much more enjoyable and effective than long, boring, and monotonous continuous aerobic exercise.
Instead of trying to figure things out on your own, iPod running workouts (like the Treadmill Trainer) coach and guide you right over your headphones, so that you don't have to think about what to do, how fast to run, and all the other little details that can wear you down.
But there are also more benefits to these audio guided interval running workouts as well.
HIGHER INTENSITY EQUALS GREATER FAT BURNING POTENTIAL AND SUPERIOR AEROBIC IMPROVEMENTS
Truly the most powerful aspect of interval training is that it allows you to work at a higher percentage of your maximum effort for longer periods of time because it is broken down into chunks. I’m sure you would agree that running as fast as you possibly can would be near impossible for more than 1-2 minutes (let alone any longer).
But with interval training you can “chunk” your maximal run into 30-second fast bouts and intersperse them with 60-second recovery bouts of jogging, to give you an example. Doing so would allow you perform several maximal bouts amounting to much more time than the 1-2 minutes you would be capable of doing if you were to go all out in one shot.
RECOVERY TIME IS A MIRAGE
Here’s another cool aspect of interval training. Remember those recovery bouts we were discussing just a second ago? Well, in all honesty, they really aren’t very restful if that’s what you were thinking they would be.
Let me explain this with the following graph.
The key to understanding one of the secret powers of interval training lies in one of the lines/bars on this graph.
Do you know which one it is?
It’s the dotted line called “Average heart rate”!
Why this line is important is because it reflects your average heart rate over the interval cardio session – and this is a reflection of your overall intensity for the workout. Notice how the line increases over time? Why does this happen?
Well, the average heart rate is simply an “average” of the line directly above it called “fluctuating actual heart rate”. This line represents the “ups” and “downs” your heart rate experiences as you increase the intensity and then subsequently lower it.
The neat occurrence here is that your average heart rate is drifting upwards even while you’re recovering. For instance, if your initial recovery heart rate after the first bout was 120 bpm it could well end up being 140 bpm (or more) by the last recovery bout simply because your body doesn’t have enough time to fully recover as you become more and more fatigued.
Can you see how this automatically increases your exercise intensity for the entire session? And you thought you were recovering!
The other amazingly powerful thing about interval training is that, as you can see in this example, you actually spend more time at your maximum intensity because it is “chunked”.
Check out the above graph. How many 30-second maximal bouts are you performing in your 13 minute interval session? Eight! And eight times 30 seconds equals 4 minutes, right?
So that means that you’re now able to work at your maximum possible intensity for a full 4 minutes (instead of just 1 or 2 minutes otherwise). Pretty powerful stuff! Especially when you consider that your aerobic endurance (VO2 max) will improve dramatically the more time you can spend at or near your maximum intensity.
And as I've mentioned before, the greater your intensity, the more calories you will burn as a result of EPOC!
Now's let's look at how interval training impacts how your body burns calories after your workout....
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