Interval training is the best workout for fat burning, where you need to alternate between a short burst of hard exercise and a short period of easy recovery. For example, after a 3-5 minute warm-up of moderate cardio, you’d do 1 minute at a slightly harder than normal cardio pace and then bring the intensity down to a cool-down pace for 1 minute. Alternate back and forth 6 times and then do a 3-minute cool-down. That is what interval training is all about. It’s short, fast, and effective.
Studies have shown that interval training offers higher fat burning and weight loss than normal, slow cardio. In fact, not only does interval training work better for fat burning, but the interval training workouts are much shorter and require far less workout time than normal cardio workouts. However, many are reluctant to switch from ineffective cardio to fat burning intervals as according to exercise machines (which are not even 100% accurate), a higher amount of calories is burned with the old way. They are also hung-up on the marathon mentality of always having an elevated heart-rate, which they think is the most important component of a fat burning workout. But that is not true. Instead, the most important workout factor is how much “WORK” is done. If you increase the intensity of the work, as you do in interval training, then you will do more work and put more stress on the muscles. Heart rate goes up and then comes way back down during recovery. By doing so, more fat is burned. What one should know is that the heart rate need not stay constant for 30 minutes for that to happen.
One of the biggest problems many have with interval training is that they do not rest enough during the recovery period. Because they are addicted to an elevated heart rate, they skimp on the recovery, by either exercising too hard or recovering too little. This leads to a decrease in the intensity used in the work interval and that might lead to less total work or total fat burning done in that session.
Therefore, the quality and intensity of the work interval should play an important role when doing interval training. This is to say the only time exercising is mainly done during the work interval. On the other hand, during the recovery interval, one should go as slow as possible without stopping. This allows your heart rate to recover and for you to be prepared to work really hard in your next work interval. So an interval training workout is a time of extremes. You should be going at an 8/10 or 9/10 intensity level in the work interval, and dropping down to a 3/10 in the recovery period. To give you a perspective, a normal 30-minute cardio workout would be considered a 6/10 intensity level. Try it out yourself!