Am I Working Hard Enough During My Interval Training?

How hard do you have to work during your interval training sessions to trigger weight loss? There’s a tremendous amount of confusion around interval training, and if you get the intensity wrong, you could be missing 90% of the benefits attributed to this very powerful tactic in your fat loss toolbox.

Remember, the main objective of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is not to burn calories during the workout but to change the hormones in such a way that triggers the body to want to get leaner.

Think of it as imitating the crisis of being chased by a lion…

If you reach a certain threshold (i.e. OMG! I’m going to get eaten if I don’t run REALLY fast threshold), the body will want to become leaner in order to increase the likelihood of evading predators in the future.

So, although you don’t need to work to the point of being sick to your stomach, you should come close. At each interval you want to push the envelope to the edge of exhaustion…you want to feel the burn and then push through the burn as long as possible before you go back to the recovery phase.

Here’s a great technique to make sure that you reach that threshold to where you’ll trigger a shift in hormones that will cause your body to get leaner…

  1. Determine to do a 16 minute interval session and take a little notebook to the interval session to keep tabs.
  2. After a warm up, reset the timer on the treadmill.
  3. Now sprint as hard as you can as long as you can (OMG Threshold) and then bring it down to a walk (not a jog).
  4. As soon as you’re ready sprint again…perform an all out sprint until you can’t sprint any more then walk again…
  5. Repeat this process for the full 16 minutes and then log the distance and the calories burned in your notebook.

Your goal at the next session will simply be to beat the “distance” and/or “calories burned”  from the previous session. Again, we aren’t interested in the calories burned  or distance as much as we are in working harder than the previous session! If you beat your previous score (calories or distance) every time you do an interval session, you’re almost guaranteed to reach the true fat loss threshold within 2-4 sessions!

Give it a try, you’ll be blown away by this technique.

About the Author Dr. Ray Hinish

Dr. Ray Hinish is a nutritional pharmacist, certified personal trainer, & certified Lifestyle & Weight Management Coach. He currently practices in Baltimore, MD, where he owns and operates a wellness center and natural foods restaurant. His mission is to help folks to live their health potential so that they can pursue their passions with confidence and endless supplies of energy!

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