Interval training is a type of workout where you do an all out burst of exercise, usually for less than a minute, rest, and then repeat. These workouts, long used by athletes to get into shape for various sports are also beneficial for weight loss. This post details how these workouts can help you lose weight and body fat. We’ve also included links to other resources including interval style workouts designed for fat loss.
Intervals workouts will benefit your weight loss efforts in several ways including:
- They keep your body burning extra calories for several hours after your workout is done. This means you will burn more calories over time to lose weight faster. Moderate intensity aerobic exercise (walking on a treadmill, using an elliptical machine) stops providing is calorie burning benefits as soon as your workout is done.
- Intervals can help you build muscle or at least hold onto the muscle you have when dieting. Since muscle is more calorically active than fat, the more you hold onto, the more calories you burn throughout the day.
- Interval workouts can help you look your best. Since they are effective at both burning fat and building or at least holding onto your muscle, they will help you look better too.
- Intervals are efficient. An effective interval workout can be done in 20 minutes. Even when you are pressed for time you can get in a workout.
- Interval workouts are convenient. All you need to do a workout is yourself and a little bit of room. Your workout can consist of body weight exercises done repeated for set period of time, sprints, and many other types of exercises that require no additional equipment.
- Interval workouts can be more effective than steady state exercise (walking, etc.) for fat loss. In one study, interval style workouts helped overweight women lose significantly more body fat than women doing steady state aerobic workouts (1).
Before you go outside and start doing sprints be forewarned that interval workouts are very intense. If you are out of shape or just getting back into working out you should start off slowly. You can begin by alternating fast and slow walks for 30 or so seconds each and increase the intensity of your workouts as your fitness improves. This style of training can be pretty tough on your body so make sure you use exercises that you can do without pain or risk of injury.
Listed below are links to additional interval training resources.
- Body Weight Circuits For Fast Fat Loss
- Complex Workout Training Made Simple
- The Best Weight Loss Workout For Women
1. Trapp EG, Chisholm DJ, Freund J, Boutcher SH. The effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting insulin levels of young women. Int J Obes (Lond). 2008 Apr;32(4):684-91. Epub 2008 Jan 15.