When it comes to fitness, more isn’t always better.
Simply put, the QUALITY of your workout is more important than the amount of time you spend on it.
For years, we’ve been told that the best way to burn fat is through long, aerobic workouts, such as long distance running or hours on a similar cardio machine. In recent studies, though, we’re learning that shorter interval workouts are actually just as effective for burning fat, increasing your metabolism, and lowering insulin resistance.
Here are some other benefits of interval workouts:
– simple to create using any kind of exercise, which keeps you from getting bored!
– easier to fit into your schedule because they can be done in less than 30 minutes and still give you a great workout
– they can be done anywhere – I’ve done them at parks, in my basement, and in hotel rooms
– increases your RESTING metabolism rate – meaning, your body will burn more calories throughout your day, even when you’re resting. Long aerobic workouts might burn a lot of calories DURING the workout, but interval workouts cause you to burn more calories overall because you continue burning throughout the next 48 hours
Without further ado, here are the simple steps to creating a great interval workout:
You can make your intervals as long or as short as you want, but a good rule of thumb is somewhere between 30-60 seconds. So, following the 2:1 ratio, if your intervals are going to be 30 seconds, your rest periods will be 15 seconds. The short rest period keeps your heart rate elevated and is guaranteed to give you a great workout!
A couple years ago, I started incorporating intervals into my running workouts and saw a noticeable increase in my speed. Lately I’ve been using intervals for various exercises on the floor or with weights, primarily using movements that work multiple muscle groups.
Here are some of my favorite exercises for intervals workouts:
- Burpees – Everyone hates them (myself included) but they are one of the best total body exercises you can do without any equipment
- Push-ups – If you can’t do military-style push-ups, put your hands on a bench, or just do the push-ups on your knees
- Squat jumps – squat with your feet shoulder-width apart; as you rise from the squat, jump off the ground with both feet
- Lunges – many variations you can do on this one! Lunge forward, backward or sideways and add an overhead press with dumbbells if you can
- Plank – if you’re able to plank easily, add in an alternating leg lift or other variation to make it more difficult!
- Scissor Legs – you can use ANY ab exercise in your interval workout, but scissor legs are one of my favorites. I also love doing Russian twists and In-and-Outs
- Tricep Dips – all you need is a bench or chair
- Bench Step-ups – exactly what it sounds like: find a bench or flight of stairs and step up and down, alternating your leg each time
- High Knee Sprints – great exercise to get your heart rate going!
- Jumping jacks – simple and old-school!
- Side shuffles over a step
- Mountain climbers – this one targets your abs and also hits your shoulders, glutes and legs
Those are just a few of the exercises you can incorporate into your interval workout.
This circuit will give you a great full-body workout in less than 20 minutes!
I’ll leave you with a little workout humor that made me laugh today…