If you have read my article called Exercise: Essential, then you can
skip down to the next section, called How to do Interval Training. Read on if you need a reminder of the basic principles of exercise for weight loss. Skip to the bottom to find a link to the whole article on Exercise.
Aerobic exercise is fat burning exercise. As you do some activity using large
muscles (legs, especially) that raises your heart rate but still allows you to breathe
normally, your body will burn fat with the oxygen you’re breathing. However, your
body will only burn blood-sugar at first, because it’s easily available. So, to get to
the fat-burning stage, you have to exercise for at least 20 minutes, preferably 30
minutes or more. Walking and bicycling at a gentle pace are examples of aerobic
activities. Read more in my article on Aerobics.
Anaerobic exercises are high-intensity exercises that get your muscles working
hard, and you will have trouble breathing. The word “anaerobic” means “without air”,
meaning that you will be breathing fast, but still not getting enough oxygen to
properly fuel your muscles. This leads to muscle strengthening, but it also means
that you’re burning blood-sugar only, not fat, and you end up with lactic acid that
will make your muscles feel like they’re burning. Weight training and sprinting are
You can keep doing aerobic exercise longer than anaerobic exercise, and you’ll burn
about equal amounts of calories overall doing either. Aerobic exercise burns those
calories from fat during the exercise. Anaerobic exercise only burns blood-sugar,
but burns a lot of fat later (the rest of the day) to replace the energy. Is it possible to
combine the two, so that you can burn fat while exercising, and keep burning the
rest of the day? Yes, with Interval Training.
How to do Interval Training
The “intervals” in Interval Training are alternating periods of high-intensity exercise
with low-intensity rest periods. This allows a person to keep exercising for at least
30 minutes to kick in the effects of aerobic activity, but it is also intense enough to
strengthen the heart and provide the long-term fat burning of high-intensity
exercise. The idea is simple, but ingenious, and amazingly effective.
You can do interval training using a time-measure or a distance-measure. If you
prefer to run indoors in a gym’s track, then there is probably a clock to watch while
running, so time would be more convenient to keep track. If you prefer to train
outdoors, it may be inconvenient to look at your watch every few seconds, so going
by distance will probably be easier. If you use time, you should run as fast as you
can for one full minute, then walk for two minutes. After that, run again for one
more minute and rest by walking for two minutes. Keep repeating this three-minute
cycle until 30 minutes have elapsed overall. If you prefer to chart distance, you will
want to run about a half-mile, then walk for one-quarter mile, and keep alternating
Benefits of Interval Training
World-class athletes already know that Interval Training is the best way to improve
almost every aspect of running performance. The fist effect is that high-intensity leg
exercise, like running, will make your legs stronger. That means more muscle mass,
and each gram of new muscle will burn that much more fat every minute of every
day. The second effect of high-intensity training is what people call “cardio”. That’s
short for cardio-vascular training, meaning that your heart as a muscle will grow
stronger. This will prevent many forms of heart disease, as well as improving
circulation, which has benefits for many aspects of life.
The most important benefit of Interval Training is that it is the single best way to
improve your VO2-Max. That is the volume (V) of oxygen (O2) that you take with
your deepest breath (max). VO2-max is the best measure of fitness and endurance.
Increasing your VO2-max with interval training will give you greater endurance for
everything you do, and the higher your VO2-max, the less you will feel that heat or
pressure on your lungs when you exercise. Believe me, after interval training for a
week, you will know without a fancy test that your VO2-max is improving, and soon
you’ll feel the improvement with every training session. It’s a great feeling.
Drink a little water during every rest period. If you forget your water bottle one day,
you will definitely notice that you cannot run as fast or as long. The difference is
Using the time method is better than distance to keep yourself honest, because as
you get faster, your half-mile will turn out to take less and less time. So, to keep
improving your performance, and keep losing weight, you should either get a
stopwatch, or else keep making your running intervals farther and farther (to make
sure they still last a whole minute).
As your VO2-max increases, you may be tempted to make your workouts last longer
overall, or to make the high-intensity periods last longer. You should do neither of
these things. Your goal should be to keep intervals of 1-minute of running
separated by 2-minutes of walking, and keep increasing the intensity of each
running interval. If you make every interval a sprint for one full minute, and keep
that up for 40 minutes, you are already a superhero. Longer workouts risk
breakdown of tissues and a high burden on your kidneys and other organs. And if
you make each interval longer, you may not be pushing your speed the most you
can, which is where the benefits are.
At the other end of the scale, if you’re just starting interval training, go easy. Too
many men start off too fast and burn themselves out within 10 minutes. That will
not benefit you. Warm up with a fast walk or a gentle jog for 10 minutes or so.
Then, try your first interval. It should be for one full minute, but just try for a pace a
little faster than a jog. Then walk for two minutes. For your next interval, just try to
maintain that fast jog pace for another full minute. Then walk again for two
minutes. Don’t sit down or stop if you can avoid it, keep walking to recover. On your
third interval, try just a little faster. If you can’t make it for the full minute, you have
just found out where your zone is. The key isn’t to try to sprint right away and only
be able to go for 20 seconds. You have to do the full minute at a constant pace, as
fast as you can sustain for one whole minute. I guarantee that it will be pretty slow
your first time. But try it again the next day, and you will be better. By the end of
two weeks, you’ll be amazed how much more fit you’ve become. I promise.
If you don’t think you’re up for Interval Training yet, read my article on Exercise which you can find on the Mr. Weightless Site.
David “Mr. Weightless” McCormick is the founder of Weightless Products, the best weight loss plan online. In his series of articles, he covers everything every man needs to know to lose weight fast and keep burning fat. There are no banners, no pop-up ads, no need to sign up, all articles are available in full for FREE. Wait Less for Weight Loss, visit the best weight loss program for men [http://www.weightlessproducts.com] today!