This morning I headed off to the Y for an Interval Training class that I signed up for. For those of you who may not know, I am on a team weight loss program at my local Y called, "Dashing all the Weigh" (Love the title by the way). It is a great program and I actually got part of my blog idea from it because I am on a team. Not only is it beneficial to work with each other on our fitness goals but I get to meet some really cool people. In many ways, I am more happy about my teammates accomplishments than my own. It makes me consider (once I have my weight under control) getting my personal training certification again, out of the joy of helping others and seeing their changes. When I was at my best I was a certified trainer but I was unable to renew my certificate due to financial problems and having a child, so unfortunately it expired. Definitely something to reconsider.
Anyways, back to this interval training. Let me explain what it is. You get on a treadmill (but really you can do this on any cardiovascular machine or outside) and start walking at a pace that is on the edge of uncomfortable. You want your heart rate to begin to increase. Do this for about 3 minutes. If you are new to interval training then start off with longer "rest" periods. At the 3 minute mark bump your speed up to something faster, now you heart rate should increase and be working harder. Push it for one minute, then go back to your "resting" speed. (I call it resting but you are definitely not resting!) That is one cycle. Today we did this for 30 minutes. Again, as you get better at this and as your cardiovascular abilities increase you can increase speed and even the incline of the machine for a more challenging workout. Interval training is a great way to lose weight and it requires less time, so if you are time crunched than this is what I suggest you do.
Why is interval training better? Well, my understanding of it (thinking back to my anatomy class) is that you are almost confusing your heart. You are working it hard than slowing down, working it hard than slowing down. This makes it difficult for the heart to get into a "comfort zone", so it has to work harder. Hopefully, that makes sense but if it doesn't just take my word for it. I felt great doing it today and it set the pace for the rest of my day. Looking forward to taking it on again, and I want to bump it up.