Need Help Losing Weight? Try Interval Training

By: Rob Pitts

As you already know, shaping up quickly is no big mystery. You can build lean muscle through weight training and lose more fat since muscle, unlike fat, burns calories by itself. Then, to uncover those newly toned muscles, you can use cardio exercises like biking, brisk walking, or jogging. All of these are great for getting your heart rate up and energizing your metabolism. Sometimes, though, these exercises can become tedious, allowing boredom to set in, which can sabotage your motivation. And we all know how hard it can be to work-out when we're not motivated. However, there is a way to change up your routine a little, spend less time exercising, and actually getting better results.

The key to achieving better results is interval training. For example, people who spend just 20 minutes doing a combination of sprints and jogging can lose up to three times more fat than those who exercise steadily for 40 minutes. This is according to research from the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Also, interval training increases your cardio capacity, making your future runs feel easier, while evidence also suggests this type of training may actually spur fat-mobilizing hormones.

Another problem with following the same monotonous exercise routine, even one you really enjoy, is that your body can adapt to it, and you'll stop losing weight. Adding interval training keeps your muscles from becoming so efficient at a particular movement or exercise, allowing you to overtax your system and burn more calories than you otherwise would have been able to. The result is improved weight loss.

Incorporating interval training into your routine is easy. If you run, sprint for 1 minute for every 2 minutes of slow jogging or walking. The same can be applied to a treadmill or bike. Go all out for 1 minute then cool down for 2 minutes. If you do 5 sets, each 1 minute sprint/2 minute cool-down being a set, then you're only spending 15 minutes on your workout, not including your warm-up.

Be sure to take it slow at fist, working your way up to the full five sets. And don't consider the 1minute/2 minute set as being carved in stone. Start out with 1 minute/5 minutes, working up to 1 minute/1 minute if you like. Try this 1-3 times a week. The point is to push yourself, to a level you're comfortable with, and force your body to react by burning more calories and shedding weight.

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