If you’re still doing only steady state cardio workouts, it’s probably time to add some higher intensity intervals to your program. That doesn’t mean you should put the steady-state stuff on the shelf. But, let’s say you’re doing four cardio workouts a week and all of them are at the same pace and intensity. Not only will you get bored, you’ll also miss out on some training benefits.
To incorporate interval training, take whatever activity you’re doing and push the intensity up to the next level for a brief period of time. Starting with one minute intervals is a good place to begin. Work the intervals up to two minute bursts and see where you can go from there. This is perfect for walking, jogging, swimming, jump roping, or cardio work being done on equipment in the gym.
This Isn’t An Argument For Interval Workouts Only
There are a ton of articles on the internet and a raging battle continues over which type of exercise is The Best. Steady state fans have proof that their way is the best way; interval junkies have facts to back up their claims too.
There are not enough hours in the day to prove that one is absolutely 100% superior over the other. I’m guessing a combination of both workouts is best. Here’s why adding intervals into the schedule a couple times a week is a good idea:
- Any time we mix up our exercise routine it throws our muscles and cardio system into a tailspin and we’re forced to work harder to adapt. I’m guessing we all agree this is good and will help us avoid the dreaded plateau that comes from doing the same routine over and over.
- Steady state workouts can get pretty boring. When you add intervals, not only does the body have something new to work on, but so does the brain. All of a sudden you’ll find you’re in competition with yourself to see how fast you can get from one stop light to the next. You’ll get an energy pick-me-up and will start looking forward to your workouts again.
- You’ll end up working harder. If you have a standard 30 minute workout that you do four times a week and all of sudden you add speed bursts, you’re overall output is ultimately more. We don’t need to do a hundred studies to prove that. Over time, your fitness level with increase because of the overload.
- You’ll push more endorphins into the system. Is this true? According to David Lemberg “endorphins are ramped to the max” during interval training. Sign me up for that! The primary reason I love to exercise is for the endorphine rush so if there’s a way to get more I’ll take them.
Try putting some intervals into your routine twice a week and see what you think. You might turn into an interval junkie too.