It has long been the belief that spending hours running on the treadmill will melt off all the fat you want and give you the body you desire. Unfortunately, that's just not true. Sure marathon runners are stick thin, but they run miles and miles each day and follow a strict diet. In order for an everyday woman to burn the excess fat she wants, it comes down to a balance of intensity and time.
What is Interval Training?
Interval training is alternating short bursts of high-intensity exercise with slower and longer bouts of recovery. Intervals can be done with almost any exercise such as the bike, elliptical, treadmill or even jump rope. Treadmills are one of the best machines for intervals because you can quickly change the speed and can see the time and speed in front of you on the display.
Benefits of Interval Training
Interval training delivers all the same benefits of steady-state cardio, but does so in half the time. Instead of spending an hour running at the same pace on the treadmill, intervals allow you to spend only 30 minutes and still burn the same number of calories. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, interval training also raises your metabolism for hours after the workout, which means you will continue to burn calories.
Interval Training Examples
Interval training is great for fat burning because it can be done at any level. If you are a new exerciser, start by doing walking intervals. Begin with a slow walk, then speed walk for one minute. Return to a normal walking speed for two minutes, then speed walk again. Repeat these intervals until you reach 30 minutes. The system isn't much different for jogging or running. Begin at a slow jog or run, then bump up the speed to a fast jog or a faster run for one minute. Repeat the one-minute-on and two-minute-off intervals for 30 minutes for a fat-blasting workout.
While interval training can be done by anyone, it is always best to check with your doctor before beginning any new workout. Intervals can be taxing on the body, especially for new exercisers, so be sure to take it easy the following day. Don't do interval training everyday to avoid burnout and injuries.
Kaitlin Condon is a holistic health coach and certified physical fitness/wellness specialist. She is a contributing health writer for the teen magazine "Miabella," as well as several online publications.