Today I show you the benefits of interval training for weight loss. Inspired by this morning’s workout with Debbie who’s exercise plans have taken her through an interval training and a complex training session. I hope this inspires you too!

In my previous article on the benefits of complex training I talked you through some sample workouts that you could do to progress both your fitness and your weight loss. I hope these helped you and if you tried them that they were both enjoyable and tough.

Today I want to talk you through:

  1. The benefits of interval training for weight loss and quickly talk you through some example exercises that can be performed as intervals – it doesn’t have to be just running.
  2. I will also show you how to progress your intervals over time using the FITT principle.

Benefits Of Interval Training For Weight Loss

Interval training is a fantastic way to exercise for two reasons.

Firstly, in terms of practicality sessions only need to be short and have very little faff involved with them. You can train with just body weight and a pair if training shoes.

Secondly the effects on the body are dramatic. In terms of your immediate gratification you will have a rush of feel good hormones and within minutes you’ll feel invincible. You’ll get significantly faster fat loss results and greater fitness improvements than by performing longer steady state boring treadmill runs.

There are far more benefits to getting lean through interval training but for today I just want to get cracking and show you exercises and the workouts.

What Exercises Can I Perform As An Interval Training Session?

There are many exercises that are very effective when performed as an interval training session. I want to give you three today, but if you fancy something different then just make the following considerations when choosing your exercise:

  1. Get the most bang for your buck. What I mean by this is that you want to recruit as many muscle fibres as possible in one hit for maximum EPOC as well as to provide enough stimulus to the body.
  2. Choose multi-joint, full body, and generally body-weight only exercises will be fine. That said you might want to add resistance to an exercise such as a squat jump by wearing a weighted vest or holding a kettle bell. Progress with body weight first.
  3. For time management keep it simple – the less equipment needed the better.
  4. Only perform an exercise you have learned well, and focus on technique over everything else. Once your form drops or you lose neutral spine then all it a day.
  5. More is not better. 20minutes is awesome. 40mins is ok. Over 40minutes and your stress hormones kick in and you’ll begin to lose the benefit of the session.

Three Exercises You Could Try In Your Intervals

With the above considerations in mind you could choose your own preferred exercise to perform. Here are three that I recommend for different reasons.

Running Sprint Intervals

Running is a fantastic and simple exercise and when performed as a sprint interval session becomes highly effective.

While running is not right for everyone due to the nature of running there is impact when you foot strike. If you are a jogger though you might want to embark on a six week sprint interval training session just once or twice weekly.

Not only for the above reasons, but also because the range of motion around your joints is limited while jogging as is your glute activation.

The benefits to your hip joint, flexibility, muscle activation and nervous system (innervation) development are massive and your jog will become faster. And you’ll melt fat.

Rowing Sprint Intervals

Due to the nature of running sprints and the issues some people may have with impact on tarmac, rowing is a very effective exercise when performed as part of an interval training session.

Not only is rowing a low impact exercise (it should be no impact unless you fall off it during an interval effort!), but the action of rowing is a ‘pull’. This is beneficial to most peoples posture as in the modern world we live in we have adapted to become ‘triple flexed’ and this results back pain and a whole host of other problems.

Rowing will switch on the muscles at the back of the body if you ensure you pull using your legs to generate power from a deep knee bend, and rather than leaning into the row maintain a stiff core of your body, using your strong braced trunk as a platform to then pull from using your arms once the legs have pushed.

At all times keep a neutral spine.

Burpees Performed As Intervals

Burpees are again a full body and super simple exercise. Ideal to perform as a faff free interval workout wherever you happen to be. So if you are traveling for work or holiday, or you have the kids to look after at home, then you can still slot in a 10minute burpee workout.

Burpees can be made easier by removing the press up portion as you begin to fatigue, and if you are a real beginner, very over weight or unable to maintain a neutral spine then it might be advisable to go down onto a platform such as a step or bench rather than the floor.

Alternatively you could perform the exercise slowly from floor to standing and progress into a full burpee as you get fitter (or lose weight making it more manageable).

How To Format Your Sprint Interval Training Sessions

There is no set rule when it comes to planning your workout but here I will show you some factors to consider.

Following the FITT principle the variables you can play with include the frequency, intensity, the duration (time), and type of exercise.

Work : Rest Ratio And Rate Of Perceived Exertion (RPE)

When it comes to planning an interval training session here are some suggestions. After a dynamic warm up perform your interval training for the desired duration. Here are some examples of work and rest periods you could try, but remember to progress week on week.

Work hard for 10” at an RPE of 8-10/10. Rest 50” and repeat x10.

Work hard for 30” at an RPE of 8-10/10. Rest 30-60” and repeat x5-10.

Work hard for 90” at an RPE of 8-10/10. Rest 45-90” and repeat x5-10.

I hope this helps you get motivated to train, and that you see the results swiftly. The benefits of interval training for weight loss are numerous, but remember that consistency is king, and while one training session will make you feel good, three a week for 12 weeks will make you feel and look at your best too!

With this in mind, if you are struggling with your consistency in the gym and the kitchen alike, then you may benefit from coaching. I offer online weight loss coaching to help clients who struggle to eat consistently well. and who’s weight loss and fitness results suffer as a result.

I hope this helps, happy training,

Nico.

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