36 Pittsfield Road
Lenox MA 01240
(413) 637-1414
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Quote: “In order to be wealthy, you must be healthy”


How can interval training benefit me?


Interval training is a method of periodically raising your heart rate to a higher than normal intensity followed by a slightly lower intensity, but higher than resting.  This sporadic up and down heart rate rising can benefit just about anybody who exercises.  Whether your goal is to improve overall fitness, cardiovascular endurance, playing tennis, soccer, bringing boxes up from the basement, riding a bike up a hill, skiing, boxing or mixed martial arts.  The overall sporadic intensity closely simulates almost all sporting events and if your goal is overall health improvements, this will have a cumulative higher calorie burn minute for minute usually compared to steady state training. 

What interval training does?  Lets say, for example, you are a recreational tennis player, during tennis you will sprint for the ball forwards a little then back pedal to set position again and maybe sprint sideways for a return serve.  The ball may go out of play, your heart rate comes down and then you serve again only to sprint a little again, jog a little and then ball out of play, rest again.  During the time of the serve and play, your heart rate may raise up to 60% of your max all the way up to as high as 80,90 or 100% of your max.  Then followed by a brief recovery back down to maybe 40-50% and repeated throughout your match.

So for the athletic component, the importance of interval training is imperative to specific success with in your desired sport.  To go jog a long slow run will have a next to zero correlation to the demands placed on your cardiopulmonary system of up and down continually as a long slow run will have.  There are proper systematic percentage intensity protocols for training elite athletes to avoid over training and under training.  For the recreational exerciser you cannot go wrong for the most part of varying your intensity. 

Now the benefits to the overall heath of body fat reduction or improved health.  The higher demand of intensity for an hour long vigorous walk or weight training can have a total higher net calorie burn from a proper interval training workout compared to a steady state workout.  This can be done in many different ways.  There is no wrong way to interval train.  For example, an hour long bike ride one could ride quickly up all hills then steady on the straight away, for running you could sprint sporadically throughout your jog picking landmarks every so often, during your weight training you could perform your desired target exercise (high heart rate) followed by a active recovery of single leg balance exercise (lower heart rate).  The possibilities are endless, the bottom line is at the end of the exercise hour you will have a total cumulative calorie burn of more than just a slow steady state of training.  Now sometimes we can deceive ourselves of actually how much we are getting from the calorie burn of exercise.  It would take a 150lb person 1 hour-long intense workout to burn about 400 calories.  That same 400 calories can and sometimes does get put right back on in 5 minutes after exercising with a calorie filled drink and a light snack.  Do not mistaken yourself into thinking working out will allow you to burn off the calories you ingest.  It most certainly will have an overall weekly cumulative effect but one must still have overall negative calorie consumption with their body to lose weight.  If one does a little of more calories burned followed by less calories eaten this will equal an overall negative calorie balance at the end of the day/week.

By: J.D. Reber M.S. & B.S. Exercise Science, CSCS & NASM- CFT


Remember, eat healthy and live wealthy!

Personal training in Lenox, MA