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Let’s talk about interval training!
There are plenty of reasons to try interval training. I can’t really speak scientifically as to why it targets stomach fat, or boosts your afterburn. I tend to take all of this internet nonsense precisely at face value and all I can say is, it does appear that interval training has health benefits. I can’t approach it from any kind of knowledge-based standpoint, but I can speak as someone who doesn’t know much about exercise and has a hard time motivating herself to do it. And the number one reason I do interval training is, it’s less boring! You can look up specific workouts (like this one for running, this one for stationary bike or this one for an elliptical), but I usually just wing it. If you’re trying out intervals in order to boost your endurance, maybe you should try a specific workout, but if you’re just trying to play around with interesting workouts, then I’d recommend putting your own spin on it. Here are a few things I’ve picked up as a total exercise novice:
– Don’t overestimate yourself. The first time I tried doing intervals with a jogging/ sprinting workout, I made a playlist that alternated fast songs with slow songs, thinking I would sprint for a fast song and jog for a slow slong. In reality, I was only sprinting for about thirty seconds, waiting two songs, and doing it again.
– Be flexible and trust your body. If you have to stop, stop. If you tucker yourself out and don’t give yourself any recovery time, the workout is going to end a LOT faster.
– Pick a visual goal rather than a time goal. This is especially good for people like me who don’t have any discipline. If I tell myself I’m going to sprint for thirty seconds, then I start slowing down after ten or fifteen and then I slow down EVEN MORE after thirty in order to convince myself that I was running fast. If I’m sprinting towards a specific place, however, I’ll run faster because I know the agony of sprinting will be over more quickly. You might need to play with these visual goals–you could surprise yourself by how quickly or slowly you get to a certain landmark.
– Interval training doesn’t just have to be sprinting. Especially for people like me, who need to keep themselves entertained. I do laps with skipping, laps with side shuffles, and laps where I do awesome air punches and kicks the whole time. People look at me funny and I’m all, “so what?”
– Stretch stretch stretch. I stretch before and after. This is especially important if you’re just starting out, or if you’re switching your method of cardio. I used to only be able to run a mile TOPS during a workout, so I stuck with the elliptical and built up my cardio endurance. The first time I went back to the track, I could run two and a half miles. I was so excited that I flew out of there without stretching, and I could barely walk for two days.
– Make a good playlist. My playlists usually have songs from the following categories: interesting songs that keep me distracted from running, songs with great beats, songs that are awesome and motivating, and songs that remind me why I’m running in the first place. I think it’s important to change up your list as much as possible so it never gets stagnant, and experiment with different kinds of music–for instance, I can get a surprisingly good workout listening to a musical soundtrack, because the story keeps me distracted (my favorite is Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog). I’ll leave you with an example of a playlist I use for a half hour work out with ten minutes of stretching. Happy intervaling!
(1)A-ha — Take On Me
(2)Missy Elliott — Fix My Weave
(3)Le Tigre — Deceptacon
(4)White Lion — Tranformers Theme
(5)Outkast — B.O.B.
(6)Bon Jovi — You Give Love a Bad Name
(7)Battles — Ddiamondd
(8)Mindless Self Indulgence — Wack!
(9)Prince & the Revolution — Darling Nikki
(10)Scorpions — Rock You Like a Hurricane
(11)Joe Esposito — You’re the Best Around