How To Lose Weight Faster With Interval Training

Interval Training for Weight Loss

 

Not too long ago, I had the privilege to write a column in SweetsFoods.com on the subject of bike trainers to lose weight. In the comments section there was a bit of a discussion on the subject of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) as a means to maximize weight loss.

In this article I’d like to dig deeper into what defines HIIT, some of its benefits, and a few more example workouts that a person could do on an elliptical machine, a rowing machine, a stationary bike trainer, or a host of other exercise equipment.

 

Interval Training for Weight Loss

 

What Is This HIIT?

A quick excursion over to Wikipedia reveals that ‘real’ HIIT is closely defined as multiple short bursts within a workout, interspersed with efforts done at a medium intensity. The entire workout shouldn’t take more than 15 to 20 minutes.

Good for HIIT…but there’s a bigger ‘interval’ world than that. I know this because interval training has been a mainstay during different times in my life. Times when my objective was to run track races as fast as possible or to ride bike races faster than my opponents or to coach others to do these things.

Although it seems as though the mainstream fitness world is just now getting turned on to intervals, there’s nothing new about the concept. However, the ‘abbreviated’ form of intervals known as HIIT won’t be sufficient to get a competitor much further than the back of the pack.

A little bit later in the article I’ll give a couple of examples of HIIT and the type of intervals used by competitive athletes.

 

Kick Start Your Weight Loss Efforts With HIIT

For exercisers who’d like to increase the rate at which they’re losing weight, a few sessions of HIIT per week will work wonders. The ‘magic’ is in what happens even long after the workout has ended.

Allow me to relate my personal experience to illustrate how intervals can accomplish what strict cardio training can’t…or at least what takes a whole lot more effort to accomplish with cardio training.

After running my last race long ago at the 1984 Olympic Trials marathon, I stayed in shape running 5 to 10 mile runs at a cardio level of exertion. But although I was maintaining a good fitness level, my weight was inching upward.

It wasn’t until my kids started to run competitively that I again incorporated higher intensity runs in the form of intervals into my exercise regimen. Running alongside them when they did hill repeats was a whole different world than just running at a steady pace.

One of the great effects of the workouts was that my metabolism remained elevated for hours after those ‘interval’ sessions. Well into the evening, my heart rate would still be about 20 beats per minute higher than normal.

And along with the elevated heart rate came a burning of body fat. What hours of cardio running couldn’t accomplish, a few sessions of interval workout got done.

 

How About Some ‘Interval’ Examples?

Now that I’m involved in cycling, many of my interval workouts are done on my Kurt Kinetic fluid trainer. While I love that particular model, another high quality trainer like the CycleOps Fluid 2 will serve handsomely as well.

A short disclaimer– Any time you initiate an exercise program it is wise to clear it with your doctor. This is particular appropriate with interval training since this style of exercise is quite strenuous.

Here’s a ‘classic’ short High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout-

  • 5 minutes easy pedaling.
  • 10 minutes, alternating very hard 10 second efforts with 10 seconds of easy spinning.
  • 5 minutes easy pedaling.

Here’s the type of interval training that an athlete competing in bike races would do-

  • 10 minutes easy pedaling.
  • 2 minutes hard pedaling, followed by one minute easy pedaling.
  • 4 minutes hard pedaling, followed by two minutes easy pedaling.
  • 6 minutes hard pedaling, followed by three minutes easy pedaling.
  • 8 minutes hard pedaling, followed by four minutes easy pedaling.
  • 6 minutes hard pedaling, followed by three minutes easy pedaling.
  • 4 minutes hard pedaling, followed by two minutes easy pedaling.
  • 2 minutes hard pedaling.
  • 10 minutes easy pedaling.

The first example is what can be done to kick-start a person’s metabolism into burning fat for hours after the workout. The second example is the kind of torture that serious athletes have to do to get the most out of themselves to compete at the top of their potential.

There are innumerable variations of ‘interval’ training, one of which may add an element of intensity you’ve been missing from your workouts. If you’re looking to burn off body fat, this style of exercise has a lot of merit.

You should think about giving it a try.

 

About the Author:

Ron Fritzke - bike trainersDr. Ron Fritzke looks for and writes about cycling gear, always on the lookout for the best bike trainer, on his site, Cycling-Review.com. Besides his private Chiropractic practice, he’s on the Sports Medicine team at the College of the Siskiyous. A former 2:17 marathon runner, he now races his bike in Northern California

 

 

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Belinda

You’re getting all psyched up again. I had bought one of those interval timers…and then remembered I don’t like running. =) Though my sync cycling class does this. Great information!

    Ron Fritzke

    After writing a few articles about the benefits of intervals, I got on my trainer the other day and did ’20 seconds very hard, 10 seconds easy’ for four minutes. It kicked my butt… I was reminded of how powerful this style of exercising can be.

    Your terminology ‘sync cycling’ was unfamiliar to me. I Googled it and here’s what one studio had to say about their version of sync cycling-

    “We are all about good music, having fun and working out!”

    Hey, why didn’t I think of that? My workouts seem to be about hurting, grunting, sweating, and preparing to beat someone in a race. I think I’m missing something! 🙂

    Stay fit,
    Ron

claudia

I actually was about to give up blogging because I added 15 unwanted pounds cooking and eating too much! Two people and all this food doesnt make a svelt body! So, I actually bought a bike, started riding, also a treadmill, eat more fresh fish and vegetables and lost 10 pounds in two and half weeks and feel great! I love the bike ride its fabulous, tones you and this is a great post with long term results not short term… now its maintaining… and will power~ thanks enjoyed this one

Ron Fritzke

Hi Claudia,

At first I couldn’t figure out exactly why blogging made you gain weight. Then I went to your site and saw all of the excellent recipes that you’ve come up with…and I guess taste tested too!

I’m glad that you’re exercising, losing weight, and back in the blogging mode.

Ron

Steve

Determination and hard work are the two important factors when you want to achieve your goal particularly on weight loss. This is what fitness enthusiast should take note if they wanted to achieve their desired shape.

Rosa

I always try to keep my weight down by not overeating. Being a foodblogger, I am constantly tempted by food…

I regularly go out for walks and ride my mountainbike. Very efficient when it comes to burning calories.

Cheers,

Rosa

Joanne

Intervals are a great workout to add to an exercise regimen. They get the heart pumping and allow you to recover so you can go again. The best part about intervals is that the last one is always the easiest. 🙂

    Ron Fritzke

    “The best part about intervals is that the last one is always the easiest.”

    Boy, isn’t that true. When I was doing hard-core training as a long distance runner, it was commonly said, “Anyone can do the last one”. So I considered the next to last one the last one, which of course anyone could do…and so on. 🙂

Amy

Thanks for this information. I was looking for something new to try at the gym. I especially love the fact that the workout is only 20 minutes long, but also that it keeps working long after you have stopped! Wish more things in life worked this way – lol.

    Ron Fritzke

    Give the interval style a go, you’ll get a lot out of it.

    Kind of off the subject, but I was just reading that 30 seconds of sprinting (all out effort on a bike trainer, or stationary bike would do just fine) increases human growth hormone upwards of 500% over the resting baseline.
    Here’s the link.

Linda

I really like those interval workouts. I do it 1 time in the week. Tuesday I do a normal fitness workout and on Thursday I do a fast interval training.

Keep on the good work!

norma

I find that lately I am not motivated. I found this information quite interesting and will look further into it. Your the man, gera!

Laarni

I think sports, exercise and proper diet are really applicable in loosing weight.

Ron Fritzke

Let us know if any magic happens…

bbrian017

Hello Ron. ‘The entire workout shouldn’t last more than 15 – 20 minutes’. I like that! I’m like that with blogging sometimes, I blurt out a ton of posts and then rest a while watching the results of my efforts come in. Then, at a later stage, another HIIT is necessary.

On a training level, I like fast bursts of training and then taking it easy. I think it gives you a great balance in training and help you not to burn out.

I think you’re advice to first submit your training program with your physician is very wise. Thanks for the training program!

    Ron Fritzke

    Thanks for the kind words, Brian. I went over to your blogging site and discovered a very valuable plug-in for my wordpress-based site.

    Thanks,
    Ron

isabella

Great article of HIIT! A friend of mine has been inviting me on their work out, told they’re doing Interval training. Now I understand what it actually mean!

Maechelle

i will definitely try riding a bicycle now after reading this. I have been constantly at war with my body and i think this will work for me.

Ron Fritzke

I think that you should see something happening before long.

Just out of curiosity, why don’t you measure your heart-rate one hour after a non-interval workout and then measure it one hour after an interval workout to see if there’s any difference.

Ron Fritzke

…all good points. Like anything, there are no absolutes. Interval training will be ‘dreadful’ for some people, but not for others.

I got off of work this evening and the thought of getting onto my bike trainer for an hour, or an hour and a half was too much to consider. However, I was able to psych myself up for eight times thirty seconds at maximum intensity.

I see that on your website there is an article regarding the merits of standing more in order to burn more calories. While that is good for many people, I come from a background of running and cycling competition which necessitates workouts of an hour, two hours, and even up to four hours on the bike.

So there is room for everyone…those who gain from merely standing more often and those who are seeking to achieve maximum performance.

Regarding the over-training…a heart-rate that is elevated upon awakening in the morning is certainly one of the signs of over-training, so your point is well taken.

Regarding dehydration…while it is certainly a possibility, I find it amusing to see water bottles being carried around with the same fervor as bags of gold would be.

It is important to stay hydrated, but it makes me wonder how we used to run two hour runs without any water at all. And this was in an era in which I ran a 2:17 marathon at Boston and only got 50th place (1983).

So…stay hydrated, but don’t obsess about it.

Thanks for stimulating some conversation,
Ron

Ron Fritzke

Give it a try…it has worked for me even though I’m no longer competing.

Ron Fritzke

Bob,

Sounds like it’s working great for you!

For those who aren’t familiar with the unit of measurement called a ‘stone’; there are 6.35 kilos to a stone, and 14 pounds to a stone…

Ron Fritzke

Sounds great, Tim…I’m glad the article got you motivated to increase your fitness even more!

Gabriel Gutierrez

losing weight is not that easy..having only a training is not enough to lose weight, it need also determination and motivation to lose weight..if you want to lose weight you need to work for it..

(Edited URL)

Ron Fritzke

Hi Mary,

I started at a very low body weight while competing, so a certain amount of gain was ‘natural’, and I was running between five and ten milers, not all ten milers every day.

Anyway, give intervals a try…

Ron

Dave Pilgrim

This seems to makes real sense to me. The most weight I ever lost was in high school for track. The coach made us run every day for an hour doing interval training. So great post. It reminded me of that sucess and that I need to not reinvent the wheel, but just do what works.

Ron Fritzke

You’ve got that right. I can psych myself up for a half hour on the trainer with no problem…but I know that there’s going to be some suffering in there!

Charles

Hmmm, anyone here tried Spinning, its is an intensive 45 minutes cycling session. I find that it works for me and a lot of my friends. Doing it just once a week can make a whole lot of difference and it works for all parts of the body, keeps your stomach and thighs in good shape.

    Ron Fritzke

    Hi Charles,

    Using spinning classes is an excellent way in which to do interval training. I’m glad it works so well for you and your friends.

    By the way, the furniture on your site is beautiful.

    Ron

Ron Fritzke

Kyle,

Best of luck in the marathon. Which one are you doing, and have you done any before?

Ron

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