Blog written by Mary Elasi – Level 1 Personal Trainer
Red faced and folded over gasping for air! You would never think at a glance that this was some of our PPTs fittest clients. What on earth were they put through to get this response?
Not any type of intervals though, this was really tough. Nothing complicated just bloody hard work. With 2 PPT trainers screaming, encouraging and spurring our guys on and another trainer amongst the mix with them, this group of clients were always in for a tough session.
So what did we do that was so hard? Why were these clients struggling so much?
The key to SUCCESSFUL intervals lies not in the composition, grouping or set up of exercises but rather in the effort you put in. You don’t even need a gym or equipment to get a good interval session. We did this one at the park. Grass and joggers and we were good to go.
As simple as it sounds, this mode of training to be done successfully requires max effort. We aren’t accusing you of skimping or bludging on your workouts, but to do an interval session right, you need to feel buckled, spent and absolutely wrecked at the end if you want the benefit.
Sounds really hard, right? Are they even worth it? Absolutely! One interval session a week is enough for anyone on a fat loss program if they are doing them correctly. We’ve just explained what they should feel like, so now to explain why cause the benefits are many.
Benefits of Interval training include:
- Fat loss
- Cardiovascular fitness
- Improved work capacity for other training/fitness pursuits
- Improved ability to ‘handle’ your carbohydrates
- Time efficiency
- You’ll burn around 30% MORE calories after you finish
That’s how it should feel and why they are great, next is the what? They are super simple and can really be done anywhere. Firstly we should point out these aren’t for newbies to training. You really do want to have reasonable aerobic fitness first that you can build on before you tax your body like this.
So assuming your baseline fitness is reasonable, start off with a simple setup for your intervals. Below is a framework that you can adopt to set up your interval sessions. Follow this format and you can see the options are endless so you can keep it interesting:
STEP 1: Pick any cardio exercise (Running, skipping, burpees, cycling, endless list here.
STEP 2: determine your work time ranging from 30 sec – 60 sec
(you could go longer, but this is generally long enough for general population not training for a specific sport)
STEP 3: determine your rest, easiest option here is to match your work time, keep it simple!
STEP 4: decide how many intervals, starting with a minimum of 6, max of 12
If new to this, you may want to increase week to week e.g wk 1 x 6, wk 2 x 7, and so on.
STEP 5: GO FOR IT!!
Now, think back to your last interval. How did it make you feel? If the description above doesn’t quite match up with your experience, than maybe you held back a little. Have another crack at it. We would love to know if you still had more in the tank when you finished or if you were breathless and 100% spent at the end. Word of advise, plenty of water for sipping in rests and you may need a bucket if done well.