What is Interval Training

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QUESTION:

I have heard that doing interval cardio training is the best way to cut down body fat (which is what I am targeting instead of losing weight in general) but I do not know what "interval cardio training" really is. Can you let me know what it really is and point me in the right direction?

MARC'S ANSWER:

Interval training is nothing more than a cardio workout that offers up the ability to do more work in less time.

For example, a typical cardio workout many people would do is:

• warm up for 5 minutes
• moderate intensity for 30-60 minutes
• cool down for 5 minutes

An example interval training sessions might look like:
• warm up for 5 minutes
• moderate intensity for 3 minutes
• high intensity for 1 minute
• moderate intensity for 4 minutes
• high intensity for 2 minutes
• goes on and on
• cool down for 5 minutes

Essentially the principle is that you end up doing more work in less time with interval training AND gaining some more aerobic benefits at the higher levels with scheduled recovery periods.

You can make your own HIIT (high intensity interval training) routines or use a program like Cardio Coach.

Cardio Coach is a series of MP3s that are designed to take you through various cardio challenges. They range for Volume 1 at 30 minutes up to Volume 6 at 60 minutes.

Depending on your goals, it’s a great way to use cardio as a tool to boost your metabolism.

Many people just make their own.

I for one don’t like cardio so I need the music and the instruction on when to go slower and when to speed up. I monitor my heart rate with the machine I’m using or a chest strap Timex version that was $50 at Target.

You can read more about Cardio Coach here:

What is Cardio Coach?

If you want to see a visual representation of what interval training looks like and broken down into each minute interval, take a look at the graph for Volume 1 of Cardio Coach:

Interval Training Sample

Scroll down. You’ll see the moderate green zone heart rate areas followed by challenges into the orange (higher heart rate zones) and back to greens.

While heart rate zones are not the definitive answer to cardio, it’s an easy way to monitor your intensity levels. That with ‘perceived exertion’ you will be able to adjust your workout accordingly.