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 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, 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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