Interval training is not really all that new of a concept. It’s actually something that is engrained into our genetics, but we’ve just kind of forgotten about it.
If you’ve been reading my earlier posts, you’ll know that I’m all about doing what’s geared for the human body. This is something that I’m always preaching for the simple fact that working against the body doesn’t make much sense at all.
We must be “in-tune” with ourselves as a whole if we are to advance our health. Hopefully that makes sense to you.
So, with all that being said, today we’ll be talking about how this intense style of working out is by far, the best way to exercise. Our goal today is to cover the details and facts of why this way of working out is simply one of the greatest!
Table of Contents
- Modern routines and the many difficulties that surround them
- So why is interval training so good?
- Back to the past once again
- Long cardio routines and their negative effects on health
- So what is this “catabolic breakdown effect?”
- What are you looking for?
- Athletes have been doing interval training for some time now
- How to change your routines to improve your body function
Modern routines and the many difficulties that surround them
It’s obvious that one of the biggest struggles most people deal with these days (in regards to health) has to do with their ability to keep that drive to exercise on a daily basis, trust me…I truly understand ;) I deal with it pretty much everyday, but I’ve gotten in a nice little groove. One that makes the entire process much easier than before.
Dedicating a good portion of time everyday is very hard to do, especially when work, school, or family obligations get in the way so easily. Life is busy, and who really has time for all of this exercise business anyway? Well, although life is demanding, and most people are overwhelmed with work and/or school, there are ways to make it work. And what I’m talking about here has to do with ridding your mind of traditional routines for exercising. It’s time to forget most of what you have learned over the years.
For a while now, a new style of working out has been making its way onto the health scene, and in all honesty, it seems to be the most legitimate style of moving and working the body. It’s called High Intensity Interval Training, and let me tell you, it’s the real deal! On top of that, it’s quite the workout! And as stated earlier, it’s been around for a while, but it’s been hiding!
The absolute best part about training in this fashion is that it doesn’t take all that long to finish, some routines are no more than 15-20 minutes long, and that’s a tremendous improvement over most traditional methods. In all honesty, if you can’t find 20 minutes per day to move your body in some way, shape, or form, you have to start shifting around some activities. I believe that everybody has about 20 minutes to spare on a daily basis. But it really all depends on how dedicated one is in achieving their health goals.
So why is interval training so good?
Well, let’s see, people have been stuck on a treadmill regimen for quite some time now, and this has definitely set a lot of us up for failure. What’s crazy is that I still see people stuck on long and very tortious cardio routines at the gym these days, and this needs to change simply because it’s not working or good for the body!
To be completely honest, long and very boring running regimens do NOT train the core or stimulate the muscles that people need in order to look and be healthy.
And although aerobic activity is good up to a certain degree, we have all taken this concept way out of proportion. Yes, cardiovascular training is good if kept within range, but nobody is keeping it within range! Long-duration exercise routines are NOT good for the body, nor are they natural, and I want to explain why.
Back to the past once again
Our past, as often discussed, is composed of short and very intense busts of exertion, not long, boring and tedious routines. What I’m taking about here is the quick and intense burst of energy that we became accustomed to during our early years as humans (running away from animals etc…).
These short and quick movements are how the body is setup to work; this also means that anything that is of an extended amount of time is simply not natural. Think about it, what is the purpose of JUST running for 2 hours? I’ve seen people go into a gym, run for 2 hours, and go home! What is this going to accomplish outside of just stressing the body out?
Let me explain what I mean by that…
Long cardio routines and their negative effects on health
First off, most “gym-rats” that I come across are what I like to call “snail workers.” They take their time at the gym and just relax while watching TV or talking to a friend, this alone is not going to show much in regards to achieving results. Sure, some movement is better than none, I’ll give you that, but what’s the point outside of just moving?
People are expecting drastic changes from long and tedious running routines, but aren’t getting much in return. And to be quite honest with you, most of the “run-a-holics” I’ve met over the years don’t look all that healthy to begin with. A lot of them are VERY thin and look as if they’ve been deprived of food. And there’s a reason for this. I call it the “catabolic breakdown effect.”
So what is this “catabolic breakdown effect?”
This is a great question, and it’s actually one that I get asked quite often. To put it all simply, “habitual cardio” as I often refer to it, has the ability to really tear the body down. It’s a catabolic (break down) state of exercising that can hinder muscle growth, and that’s not good for a variety of other hormonal reasons. On top of that, excessive cardio has the ability to release mass amounts of cortisol into the body, a hormone that is used primarily when a person is in the “fight or flight” mode.
Now think about that for a second: do you honestly think it’s good to be stuck in such a state for an extended amount of time? I’d say not! And this is exactly what is happening to all of those who choose to run for long durations on their favorite little treadmills at the gym. This style of exercising is synonymous with catabolic psychological actions. In other words, it goes hand-and-hand with the breaking down of tissue, not building it.
Put it this way, working out for such long periods of time is not natural; actually it’s quite the opposite. I really don’t fully understand how this style of training had caught on so effectively either. I mean think about it, we’ve been torturing ourselves on treadmills for a very long time now, and this is insane!
So I think the main question here is “what do you do?”
What are you looking for?
The main thing to realize here is that most people are looking for similar results: a slim waist, the ability to avoid disease, and to simply feel good overall. But you see, most people are not employing all of the correct tools needed to achieve these goals.
What we need to realize is that by incorporating BURSTS of hard exercise instead of long and boring slow exercises, a person will be able to: lose fat, build muscle, improve metabolic function, and improve cardiovascular health. And these are all things that people should want or should be striving for. Remember, you want muscle, and running for extended amounts of time will simply not help in gaining it! Put it this way, MUSCLE burns fat, not running! By increasing your muscle mass, you can drastically dig into those fat stores from deep within.
Athletes have been doing interval training for some time now
There’s a reason why athletes have been applying these methods for decades now, and it’s because their trainers fully understand the need for overall body performance. Most athletes are aware of interval training procedures simply because they recognize the necessity of finely tuning the body to preform at its best. Here, take a look at the picture below:
Out of the two guys listed above, who do you think is going to have a better metabolism, better body performance, and overall, a healthier frame? It’s obvious here that one of these guys (the one on the left) trains purely with a “cardio mentality,” while the other focuses on both aerobic and anaerobic activities. Who’s body do you think will perform better?
What I also find interesting here is that new findings in regards to interval training keep popping up stating how these short bursts of expended energy are our lost key to living better. And even though these techniques have been around for some time now, they’re just starting to surface, and the masses are catching on. And that’s great news for all of us.
How to change your routines to improve your body function
First off, I really don’t recommend doing more than 15-20 minutes of prolonged running at the gym or in an outside setting. If you choose to run, make an effort in doing short burst sprints with short recovery. A perfect example of this would be going to a track near your home and sprinting the lengths, and walking the widths.
The very first thing to consider here is the WARM UP. It’s crucial for the remainder of your workout to prevent any injuries, and for your overall health as well. So step on a treadmill, elliptical machine, or simply go for a light jog for about 5-10 minutes until you are fully warmed up. After that, it’s extremely important that you stretch properly for a few minutes in order to loosen up those muscles.
After you’re fully warmed up, walk for 1 minute, and then sprint @ 85% for 30 second. (You do not want to blow out your hamstrings, that’s why I just stated 85% instead of going all out). Do this 8 times if you can. If you feel a little out of shape, no problem, just do what you can and build up to it. This is just one example of many to choose from. But it effectively shows the style we’re trying to get at here.
I know this seems too simple, but that’s the whole point! It is simply a great way to accompany your workouts if you already lift weights and workout regularly. Try this routine twice a week in addition to your current strength training routine, and please feel free to comment on your results. I would love to see how this works for you.
I also would like to note here that this style of working out is NOT for everybody. Some people simply can’t handle these types of routines. We don’t want anybody getting hurt here. So please be cautious.
Also, check out CrossFit. Although expensive at some locations, it can be quite effective as well.
Thanks for reading!