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What Are Fat Burning Interval Training Workouts?

By: Craig Ballantyne

What the heck are fat burning interval training workouts? And why aren't more people doing them?

The other day I saw a pack of joggers shuffling along the streets of Toronto, and I wanted to go over there and yell at the top of my lungs, "If you want to lose weight, why aren't you doing fat burning interval training workouts?!"

It seems interval training for fat loss just still hasn't caught on with everyone. So today, I'll explain...

What is interval training?

How can you do interval training for fat loss?

Who can use interval workouts for fat burning?

We've been using interval training since way back in the late '90s when I was just getting involved in the fat loss industry. I was also using it with athletes but you don't have to be an athlete to do interval training.

A beginner can do interval training because all interval training means is that you're going to do hard exercise for a short interval and then you're going to bring the exercise intensity down to lower than normal intensity, recovery intensity for a very short period as well.

I like to use this example, a beginner who regularly walks on a treadmill at say 3.5 miles per hour, they would do their interval training at a short, hard interval of maybe 30 to 60 seconds at 3.8 miles per hour and then they'd drop all the way down to 3.0 miles per hour for a minute recovery.

So a minute hard, a minute off and that's interval training for a beginner. That's how you do fat burning interval training workouts.

It's still safe and it's still going to be effective in increasing more what I call life-specific fitness because really anytime we do activity in life, it's generally not a Sunday stroll.

We're either climbing stairs or maybe we're walking faster, trying to run and catch the bus, but we're not just going at a slow steady pace most of the time.

That's why I say interval training is more life-specific or life-applicable in terms of its fitness benefits.

Also, research shows that interval training does work better than slow cardio for fat loss. For a more advanced interval training session, it can be done on any type of equipment - obviously, beginners can as well - or you can do it outside, you can do hill walking or hill sprinting or running around the track or you can do mountain biking or you have do biking inside on a stationary bike or elliptical.

You can do anything you pretty much want here that can be done in short bursts and then recover.

You start with your warm-up, your regular warm-up; you make sure you're really nice and ready to go, especially if you're doing running because running at high speeds can lead to injury. That's why I like actually people do interval training on the bike because you can't fall off it unless you're really uncoordinated and you really aren't going to get hurt.

However, sprinting at high velocities of movement can lead to injury a lot more than just biking against resistance. That's simply why I like the bike.

After you do your warm-up for 5 minutes then you would go into your first interval and I like to say exercise at an 8 out of 10 intensity level - compare that to a 6 out of 10 which would be regular cardio - so you're doing it a couple notches higher than cardio.

Go at your interval pace for about a minute and then take anywhere from a minute to a minute and a half break down at a very low recovery pace. I don't care who you are or how fit you think you are, you need to take it EASY during your interval training for fat loss recovery breaks.

That's a big key here is a lot of people with the cardio mentality think they have to keep their heart rate up high and they work too hard in the recovery period, but if you were running on the treadmill at say 7 miles per hour for your work interval, I'd like you to drop down to a 3.0 miles per hour walk or if you're biking and it's Level 10 on a stationary Life Cycle, then take your intensity all the way down to a Level 3 out of 10 for your recovery.

Go very easy, it should be as easy as possible during your recovery period so that you work very hard during the work intervals. That's all we care about.

It's not how high your heart rate stays constantly elevated, but that you work hard recover, work hard recover, and then you only need to do about six of those intervals, then do a cool down, stretch any tight muscle groups, and that's it for the interval training.

It really should take about half the time of a normal cardio workout and you're going to get more fat-burning results.

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