"Interval training" may sound fancy, but you don't have to be a 20-something fitness fanatic to pull off this pro method. Anyone can incorporate intervals into workouts, and new research out of Australia proves that interval training is a great weight-loss tool even as we age.
In the University of New South Wales study, people who used intervals in their cycling workouts lost three times more weight on average than people who pedaled at a steady pace. That's a pretty convincing argument in favor of intervals, as if I needed more reasons to interval train. Find out more about the study.
The data involved participants over the age of 40 who rode stationary bikes for 20 minutes three times a week. The interval cyclists swapped 12 seconds of slow-paced riding with eight-second, full-powered sprints. Here's more:
Over the course of four months, participants lost an average of 6 pounds of body fat. By comparison, those who cycled at a steady pace for 40 minutes, without mixing in the interval sprints, lost less than 2 pounds.
UNSW professor Steve Boutcher suspects it has something to do with catecholamines, the chemical compounds that tell the fat cells to release fat — and which our bodies seem to produce more of during sprints. Even if the effectiveness of intervals remains somewhat mysterious, it's hard to ignore data like that, whether you're 25, 35, or 45.
Just another reminder that little sprints can pay off big time. Do you incorporate intervals into your workouts? Get some guidance with my Get It Up interval routines.