Mixing the speeds of both the tortoise and the hare, interval training is the ultimate fitness mashup — and we love it. You can soup up any cardio workout with intervals; this training technique is not limited to running. There are so many benefits to alternating between speed bursts and recovery periods that you will be motivated to push yourself while you push your speed.
Fight Belly Fat
While cardio exercise is necessary to losing fat all over your body, according to research published in the International Journal of Obesity, interval training targets your waistline. Adding speed bursts can help you lose stubborn abdominal fat, which is a boon for this seasons crops tops and your overall health. If you're a woman, having a waist size over 35 inches puts you at a higher risk for heart disease and some cancers.
The most obvious benefit, but still worth noting, is that interval training will make you faster. Picking up your pace when training with intervals helps to increase your speed, whether you run, bike, or swim. If you're working toward a personal record for an upcoming race, then don't skip your speed work in your training plan.
Up Your Afterburn
Interval training increases the afterburn effect. This means that after an interval workout you burn more calories, even during rest or sleep, than you would after doing a steady-paced workout. Science suggests that to maximize this effect, you should alternate between three minutes of speed and three minutes of recovery, for 30 to 60 minutes — after warming up, of course.
No doubt about it — interval training is efficient. Pushing your cardiovascular system by adding intervals means you burn more calories in less time. By alternating between fast and slow, you can work out harder and longer than if you were just pushing your max speed. Efficient intervals mean you can spend less time working out and more time doing things you love.
Even though interval workouts might be shorter than your other workouts, this form of exercise will increase your endurance. Long runs and rides will be easier if interval training is part of your regular exercise routine. Another bonus is that climbing hills will feel easier, too.
Decrease Your Resting Heart Rate
The fewer times your heart beats per minute, the less wear and tear there is on the mechanics of the organ. Interval training makes your heart more efficient, so it pumps more blood with each beat, reducing the number of beats per minute.