4 Good Reasons to Use Interval Training
You have probably heard about it, but when it comes to cardio, it is often recommended to try interval training. Please note that this type of training can also be used by beginners.
What IS interval training?
Interval training is made of two distinct phases: the period for intensity, and the rest period.
To get a better picture, imagine a runner whose cruising speed is 10 km/h over several km.
Generally speaking, the intensity period will consist of running at a speed greater than 10 km/h for X minutes (or seconds), and the rest period will last Y minutes (or seconds) at a speed inferior to 10 km/h. In short, the runner will never run at his cruising speed for any given distance.
Why use this type of training?
1. It promotes weight loss
Interval training burns more calories than continuous endurance training, especially because it allows for a greater training volume at a higher intensity. Your metabolism will also stay higher in the hours following your workout, therefore increasing your energy expenditure at rest.
2. It is more mentally challenging
Having periods of effort mixed with rest periods makes it possible to approach training as several small steps instead of a long and monotonous stage. Each time you are in the intensity phase, you are looking forward to your next rest period, and each time you get to the rest period, you get to think that time goes by too quickly.
3. It improves VO2 max
VO2 is a unit of measure corresponding to the maximum volume of oxygen that a person can use per minute. Beyond this intensity, the athlete will not be able to provide a sustained effort for more than 5-6 minutes. It has been proven that interval training improves VO2 max. At the same time, it will allow you to improve your capacity to increase your intensity, therefore burning more calories during each workout.
4. It improves the capacity to tolerate a sustained effort
You will have to train at an intensity that is higher than your capacity for a long period. By doing so, you will go through more physical discomfort during the period of effort than you would by performing continuous endurance training. However, the more you do it, the better it will get. And once you get to that point, your tolerance for any given situation will be increased.
If in doubt, ask your trainer which type of interval training would be best for you, taking into account both your current level of fitness, and your objectives.
See you soon!
By Xavier Jutras
 Measured in ml O2 / kg / min