The Undeniable Benefits of Interval Training to Burn Fat

There’s a great debate going on in the fitness world, and depending which side you listen to, it could have a strong impact on your fat-burning goals. For those new to exercise – those who are looking to shed fat and get fit – taking the wrong advice could turn a worthy, well-meaning goal into a much more time consuming task than necessary.

Fast Walking Interval TrainingI’ve heard it said time and again that low intensity exercise puts the body into a ‘fat-burning zone’. I’m not arguing that point. By all fitness and medical research accounts, that’s perfectly true. Working out at low intensity keeps the heart rate at a normal pace, resulting in a higher metabolic rate, which translates to the shedding of more fat with each calorie burned.

As great as that sounds, those who laud the ‘fat-burning zone’ theory often fail to account for the fact that low intensity exercise burns fewer calories overall. And if you’re burning fewer calories, you’re effectively burning less fat at the same time.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have those who extoll the benefits of high intensity training. A strong cardio workout gets the heart pumping fast, therefore is able to burn a lot more calories. But it doesn’t have nearly the same effect on the metabolism, which is why we see so many people performing hardcore workouts each week with very little results in the way of burning fat. In fact, these people often gain weight because they are adding heavy muscle to their body faster than they are shedding fat-induced pounds.

In order to get the most positive results from your workout, the best solution is to undertake interval training.

What is Interval Training?

The concept behind interval training to is to transition between low intensity and high intensity forms of exercise. This allows the heart rate to remain stable during low intensity exercise, elevating the metabolic rate and fat burn, but intermittently increasing the heart rate to burn more calories.

When you combine the two, the end result is a higher rate of overall caloric and fat burn.

When is it Safe to do Intervals?

There’s another common myth circulating that interval training is only for people who are already fit. That’s simply not true. Interval training is for everyone. Research has proven that interval training has great benefits in a multitude of areas, including cardiovascular health, sensitivity to insulin, and HDL cholesterol (i.e. good cholesterol).

When you think of high intensity versus low intensity workouts, don’t get scared that you’re going to have to put your body through something it’s not ready to handle. High intensity doesn’t mean the same thing to one person as it does to another. It all depends on your current fitness level.

If you’re not already fit, transitioning from low to high intensity could be as simple as walking slow and walking fast. So long as your heart rate increases during a fast walk, you’re experiencing high intensity. The moment you begin to run out of breath, switch back to a slow walk.

For those who are already fit, it will take a bit more effort to get the heart rate up; maybe switching from a fast walk to a jog, or a jog to a run. For regular runners, you might want to try running up and down stairs to convert to high intensity.

 

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