How does one create an interval training workout?

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It’s simple to turn a current workout into a fat-burning, muscle-building, results-oriented interval workout. A person starts by deciding what a comfortable pace is for her current cardio workout. This is the baseline. Then she gradually begins increasing intensity from that baseline level. When a person feels that she's working hard (80–90% of her maximum heart rate), she stays at that level for one minute. After one minute, she reduces her intensity down to about 60% of her Max HR and recovers for two to three minutes. That’s one interval. Now kick it back up to the higher intensity for another minute, repeating the cycle five to 10 times.

Do not schedule interval-training workouts more than twice a week. The remaining days should be spent on weight training and one or two slightly longer cardio workouts at baseline level. Here are a few examples of how to use interval training in a workout.
  • Cycling: After a warm-up, cycle for one minute in middle to high gear to raise intensity level to 80-90% of Max HR. Immediately drop down to low gear for two minutes for the recovery phase. Repeat the interval five to 10 times.
  • Kickboxing: While kickboxing in itself is an interval-type workout, a person only gets out of it what she puts in. During the punching and kicking segments, work hard to keep your intensity level high. During the shuffling and bobbing segments, slow way down -- perhaps slower than the instructor dictates -- to allow complete recovery and to put more power into the next work phase.
  • Sprinting: After an adequate warm-up, sprint for one minute at top speed. Then decrease pace to a walk, and recover for two to three minutes. Repeat the interval five to 10 times.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.