Being fit and healthy has become an integral part of human life. Exercise plays a crucial role in staying fit along with having a proper diet.
We often wish to lose weight within a short span and thus look out for such exercises.
A workout called interval training has been found to beneficial for this.
Interval Training comprises alternating periods of high-intensity workouts and low-intensity workouts, also called a recovery.
Most of the other steady-state exercises like walking and jogging at moderate intensity usually don't involve significant weight loss as they don’t act much on reducing fats.
On the other side, interval training is found to be beneficial especially for people who want to reduce body fat.
This is because the recovery phase helps in burning it apart from providing energy for the other phase.
This type of workout is a common routine among the runners as it has been observed to improve their running speeds.
Interval Training like other exercises also reduces the risk of many diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.
Let us examine its benefits on weight loss and understand how it does that.
4 Benefits & Advantages of Interval Training for Weight Loss
Interval Training has numerous benefits to offer for weight loss. It is known to burn excess body fat and enhance the endurance of the body.
Interval training is found to be useful in ensuring effective oxygen utilization by the body and hence boost metabolism.
Lastly, it can also help if you plan to lose weight quickly.
1. Interval Training is found to be beneficial for burning excess fats
As mentioned, interval training involves alternative fast and low workout sessions.
During the high intensity or fast workout, a lot of carbohydrate reserves present in the muscle get exhausted.
Thus it becomes necessary for replacement of these to occur for the functioning of the muscle.
After the interval training is done and during the recovery sessions, fat is utilized by the body as a replacement for carbohydrates.
In this way, excess fats are burned up by the body, and hence it eventually leads to weight loss.
According to a study conducted, it’s especially found to be beneficial for abdominal fat loss.
It was found in the study that women with relatively low fat undergoing interval training for 12 weeks lost about 0.12 kg of abdominal fat.
Whereas for men with relatively more fat, the greater abdominal loss was reported.
Thus it’s beneficial in burning fats in the body, especially abdominal fat.
What does this mean? The high-intensity exercise followed by recovery workout helps the body in burning fat, which is utilized by the body in replacement of carbohydrates lost during a high-intensity workout.
2. It helps in effective oxygen utilization by the body and hence boosts metabolism
Interval training has been found to be beneficial in improving the uptake of oxygen by the lungs and cells of the body.
According to studies, it has been found that high-intensity workout followed by low-intensity workout gives sufficient time for lactate removal from the muscle.
This also improves the effective utilization of oxygen by muscle cells thereby helping in lipid peroxidation of fatty acids thereby reducing fat area.
The targeted muscle includes legs, shoulders, back, and arm depending on the type of workout being performed. In general, all major muscle groups are
Due to replenishment and effective utilization of oxygen during short intensity workouts, the metabolism of the body is also improved, and hence it helps in weight loss.
What does this mean? The effective utilization of oxygen by the body helps to improve body metabolism and hence promotes weight loss in individuals.
3. Interval Training helps to enhance the endurance level of the body
According to studies conducted, it has been found that high-intensity workout followed by low intensity helps to promote greater adaptations through cellular stress to work out for a longer duration.
Also, effective functioning of the heart and the entire cardiovascular system is seen, thus proving good endurance levels to work out for a longer duration.
This way it helps to promote weight loss by improving their performance.
The same study also indicated that the risks of various cardiovascular diseases could be reduced through interval training and hence is beneficial for obese people who are at risk of it.
What does this mean? The improvement in the workout regime is seen due to enhancement in the endurance levels thereby promoting weight loss.
4. Interval training helps to promote weight loss in a short time
A study done by the American College of Sports medicine indicates that higher calories are burned for a short duration if one practice interval training.
Also, variety is seen in the type of short to long intensity workouts and hence promotes one to try out new forms.
This helps provide motivation for one to work rapidly thereby helps people in regularly performing the exercises and eventually weight loss is found to occur in short duration.
What does this mean? The variety in the exercise and expected better results motivates one to strive hard, causing weight loss in short duration of time.
How to practice interval training?
High-intensity interval training can be a strenuous exercise for beginners. Hence it is advisable to start with one workout a week in the beginning.
Once you get accustomed to it, you can perform it 3 to 5 times a week. Let’s have a look at a few of the exercises.
1. Mountain Climber exercise
Start in push up position, keeping your back completely flat. Then bring your right knee to the chest and then do the same with left. This is one cycle.
Repeat this cycle 15 times for one set. Do three such sets.
Take 10 seconds after each set.
Watch it here
2. Tabata jump rope exercise
Do this in the form of two-foot jumping, left-foot jumping, right-foot jumping, and alternative jumping in convenient order for 20
Take 10 seconds rest between each after repeating each for 3-5 times.
This is one set. Do 2 to 5 such sets.
Watch it here
3. Sprint Interval Workout
Sprint 100 meters. Then walk or rest for 60 seconds. You can decide the distance based on your convenience.
Repeat this one set for 5 to 10 rounds.
Watch it here
4. Squat Jump exercise
Position your body in standard squat form. Balance your body and then jump up explosively. Finally, return to the original position and take 10 seconds rest.
Repeat this ten times. Do at least three such sets.
Watch it here:
Many such exercises have been done for such type of training. One can start it with the help of a fitness instructor.
There are certain things to keep in mind when doing interval training.
An individual new to this type of exercise should start slowly and then later increase the number. It is advisable to start with one interval training exercise a week along with another exercise.
Otherwise, it may lead to chronic pain, soreness, and even fatigue if too much of it is done at first attempt.
People should set the recovery periods as per their convenience or as instructed by practitioner instead of comparing with other people.
The short duration recovery for one may not be enough for the other. It may lead to muscle cramps and can cause further injuries like tendinitis.
If suffering from heart diseases or metabolic health dysfunction, please consult a health practitioner before practicing high-intensity interval training.
People should also make sure to perform warm-up exercises before directly going for interval training to avoid cramps and muscle pain.
Overall if done appropriately and as per the guidance of a practitioner, it’s safe and effective for weight loss.
Interval training has been found to be a fast and efficient way to improve the overall fitness of the body.
It helps to promote weight loss by providing strength and endurance to the body to work out for a longer duration.
Interval training increases effective oxygen utilization by the body and hence helps in burning fats at a faster rate.
One must start with this type of exercise at a slower pace and then move on at a greater pace to avoid muscle pain and cramps.
Interval training should be followed by a proper diet schedule to enjoy its benefits for weight loss.