Interval training boosts workout, helps you burn calories longer

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by Heidi Powell, Fitness expert / Special to azfamily.com

GMAZ interview by Scott Pasmore

Posted on May 6, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 8:12 AM

PHOENIX -- The concept of interval training is to alternate between high- and low-intensity movements. For weight loss, interval training has been proven to be significantly more effective than steady-state cardiovascular exercise.

This beauty of interval training is that it can be done a million different ways - and they all work! 

Most interval training alternates between high- and low-intensity exercises.

The high-intensity work raises the heart rate and body temperature, stimulates a deeper muscle contraction, drives blood into the working muscle, and creates an oxygen debt,  all of which contributes to a significant neuro-endocrine response. 

The lower intensity exercise increases blood circulation to the fatty tissues (which contributes to mobilization and oxidation of body fat), and allows for cardio-respiratory and muscular recovery to maximize your exertion on your next high-intensity effort.

All of this jargon aside, interval training is great for conditioning the body and optimizing fat loss.

Three different types of measurement for interval training
1. Repetitions - a certain number of repetitions must be done of an exercise before transitioning to the next exercise (for example: doing 10 burpees, walking in place for 30 steps, then repeating)

2. Time - You must perform the exercise for a certain amount of time before transitioning to the next exercise (for example: running for 30 seconds, then walking for 30 seconds)

3. Distance - you must cover a certain distance before transitioning to the next exercise. (for example: running to a telephone pole, then walking to the next, then repeating)

Having a hard time coming up with an interval training routine for you? Here is one of my favorites:

10 rounds of:

30 second sprint
90 seconds rest

The total workout will last 20 minutes with rest time, and only five of those minutes are actually spent running. You'll reap the benefits of the full 20 minutes and then some. Of course, modify this to your ability level Basically, you should be at a level 10 on your own scale for those 30 seconds, followed by 90 seconds of nada - rest.

Get creative, set the clock, and have fun.


Heidi Powell is a trainer, a life coach and a healthy living expert. For more information or fitness tips, check out HeidiPowell.net. You also can follow Powell on Twitter -- @RealHeidiPowell.

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