During Interval Training, you have to pay attention to what you're doing, because you have to monitor your minutes in order to go from intensity to recovery. So therefore, your workout seems to move along more quickly, and it becomes less boring because you have to stay focused. It's always a good idea to have headphones on playing your favorite high upbeat aerobic tunes to keep you in the groove.
First, choose the aerobic equipment that you want to use. Rather it is the Stair Climber, Treadmill, Elliptical, Stationary Bike, Jumping Rope - Which is by the way an excellent way to Interval Train or an outdoor track or stairs-as in bleechers, for Sprints. Just remember to change it up every other week to break the monotony and keep the body shocked for maximum fat loss.
Train Intervals twice a week in conjunction to your normal aerobic pattern. So therefore you will have two interval sessions and two to three steady state sessions of aerobics every week. If you train aerobics only three times per week, still do two intervals, and one steady state session.
Train at your fitness level, and increase intensity as you progress thru the weeks. If you're a beginner, then your training sessions will a little shorter in the beginning, but your body will adapt very quickly, and you will progress to longer intervals.
Following are a couple of my examples of interval training for the beginner, intermediate and the advanced athlete:
Intervals will be 20 minutes with a 5 minute warm-up and a 5 minute cool-down for a total session of 30 minutes start to finish. After your warm-up, move into your first interval at intermediate intensity for two minutes, and then reduce the intensity down to one minute, then repeat. Do this for a total of 20 minutes, then cool-down for 5 minutes. Your aerobic session is over.
Stay at this intensity for a total of 2-4 weeks and move up to an intermediate session.
* Please note: Beginners, if the 20 minute sessions are too intense, drop them back to 10 minute sessions and increase the time by five minutes each week for two weeks-or until you can achieve a full 20 minute session. Stay at the 20 minute session until you feel you can move forward to the intermediate level. For most this takes about four weeks.
Intervals will be 30 minutes with a 5 minute warm-up and a 5 minute cool-down for a total session of 40 minutes start to finish. After your warm-up, move into your first interval at an intermediate to advanced intensity for two minutes, and then reduce the intensity for one minute, then repeat. Do this for a total of 30 minutes, and then cool-down for 5 minutes. Your aerobic session is over.
Advanced & Beyond:
Intervals will be 40-60 minutes with a 5 minute warm-up and a 5 minute cool-down for a total session of 50-70 minutes start to finish. After your warm-up, move into your first interval at an intermediate to advanced intensity for two minutes, and then reduce the intensity down for one minute, and repeat. Do this for a total of 40-60 minutes, and then cool-down for 5 minutes. Your aerobic session is complete.
Intensities will vary depending on what type of aerobic equipment you are on. Have your intensities figured out before starting your session, so that you aren't trying to figure it out as you go. You want to remain steady and consistent throughout the session. However, you can increase your intensity during the 2 minute working part of the session if you feel like you need to.
Make necessary adjustments as you go along throughout your workout. But you do want to have your plan of action in place before starting so that you can utilize your working minutes to the fullest.
You can change up the ratios to fit your individual work-out levels, such as doing 3 to 1, or, 3 to 1.5, or 3 to 2, or 4, or 5 minutes intense work to 1-2 minute recovery times. Just remember to make the intense portion of the workout as intense as you can stand to do for your fitness level within that time frame before having to switch over to the recovery phase. The goal is to work beyond your zone for the required number of minutes, and then recover in shorter periods to get the most effective workout and fat burning possible.
This type of training will not be easy in the beginning, or at anytime. That is not the goal here. If at anytime your interval becomes too comfortable, then it's not an interval any longer. You will need to bump up the intensity or the length of time in the workout or both. Monitor yourself each week, and make the appropriate adjustments as you become more conditioned and in shape. The goal is to improve more as you advance along.
Remember that you are only doing two intervals per week in conjunction to your steady state aerobics sessions. Not in addition to. As you improve more physically and cardiovascular wise due to the interval training, bump up your steady state aerobic sessions, and switch the types around.
For example, do the elliptical today, and the stair master tomorrow. Train for 45 minutes to an hour in a steady state, or add a morning and an evening aerobic session to your training. You will see and feel results in half the time of just plain aerobic training 3-4 times per week at 30 to 45 minutes each time. Experiment until you find what works best for you. There are several different ways to change up a training program. Don't be afraid to try new avenues.
Interval training will get you in shape fast, help you burn more calories more effectively, and get you more lean than you have ever thought possible. However, remember that you still have to eat right and follow a sensible diet low in fat and carbs, as well as eat adequate amounts of proteins, and to eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism up and running.
Good luck, stay healthy and train smart!