This was first published as the article One of the Most Efficient Ways to Train on Technorati.
There are as many ways and methods of training as there are
coaches, trainers and fitness gurus — or so it seems sometimes.
So many methods and systems, often contradicting each other. So
many of them marketing-driven, meaning their proponents have to (at
least publicly) claim that their way is the “best and only way” to
In my experience, you can – and should – take advantage of different
methods and approaches to developing your endurance, strength, and
flexibility. This is the intelligent way to go after superior
levels of fitness and health. To paraphrase Bruce Lee: “Take the
most useful and discard what doesn’t work for you”.
Plus, there is a lot to be said for injecting some variety into
your workouts. Not only does this keep your body constantly
guessing and adapting – which is one of the goals of training – it
also keeps you fresh mentally. It’s one of the “secrets” that can
help you truly enjoy your fitness program, rather than viewing it
as a necessary evil.
Here’s one training method that has been around for a long time,
is proven, and is widely accepted: Interval Training.
I highly recommend it, especially if you are a busy, time-starved
person who seeks maximum results from minimum time invested. (And
aren’t we all interested in this anyways?) It’s the fastest way to
achieve significant changes in your body composition…meaning,
putting on lean muscle and taking off fat.
Unfortunately, not enough people take advantage of this excellent
way to train.
Interval Training involves working hard for a short period of time,
followed by either a complete rest or a slower pace of the target
activity. For example, you run at a good clip for five minutes (the
work interval), then run more slowly or walk for five minutes
(the rest interval). That’s one set.
Another type of interval: Run up a hill, sprint, or do a
high-intensity level on the stationary bike for 90 seconds…then
rest for 90 seconds. Rinse and repeat 4 to 8 times, and you have
a powerhouse of a workout – in only about 20 to 24 minutes!
I think people shy away from Interval Training because they
associate it with highly intense levels of effort, and think
it is too tough for them to do. This can be about the most
intense form of training. Sprinting up hills repeatedly, with
short rests between sprints, will fry your butt very quickly.
But the truth is, intervals can be used successfully by anyone,
no matter your present level of fitness.
The key is to set the intensity and duration of your work interval
at a level sufficient to push yourself — but not push yourself
over the edge.
Just about every activity I can think of lends itself to interval
training. It just takes a little creativity.
For example, strength training is naturally interval in nature.
You perform sets of repetitions of exercises, interspersed with
Walking and running are also naturals for intervals. Simply walk
or run faster for a period of time, interspersed with periods of
walking or running more slowly.
Certain breathing exercises are interval in nature. Typically,
each exercise is done for a certain number of repetitions. You
pause briefly (rest interval) and move on to the next one. Also,
breathing floods your system with oxygen, creating immediate
surges in energy levels and metabolism.
For example, the Dynamic Energy Exercise approach I teach helps
you breathe more deeply and naturally, expand your chest and
strengthen the muscles and support structures that are critical
to healthy breathing and powerful lungs. These exercises get you
workin, huffin and puffin – and are all done in a standing position
that is accessible to just about anyone. (Go to the Best Breathing
Exercises website for more information.)
And that’s how you know you are performing your intervals at
the proper level of intensity: you should be huffing and puffing
by the end.
If you want to lose weight and/or put on lean mass, be sure to
leverage Interval Training in your fitness program for faster
You Can Do It!
Karen Van Ness
“Best Breathing Exercises: Transform Body Mind and Spirit with
Dynamic Energy Exercise!”
Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011