For many of our fans who have attended our boot camp classes, you’ve experienced a type of work out that involves short periods of intense exercise followed by light exercise or rest. You may think its just the way we run the class, but actually there is a method to the madness.
You see we are programming intervals, and what Arthur and I are so diligently watching on the heart rate screen is that you are all working anaerobically and then recovering to an aerobic zone. In the world of personal training, we call it interval training.
Interval training provides the body with intense bouts of exercise followed by light bouts of activity to allow the body to recover. During the intense bouts of exercise, the body is in need of delivering oxygen to the working muscle more quickly as the demand placed on the body becomes greater and greater through the duration of the exercise. You will see your breathing rate increase as the working muscles are seeking more oxygen, and then of course your heart rate will increase too to deliver that oxygenated blood to the working muscles. During interval training, as the exercise intensity increases there is a point when the body can no longer deliver oxygen to the working muscles quick enough; so our body instead uses our Anaerobic (without oxygen) energy system. Think of your Anaerobic energy system as the stuff already stored in the tissues for fuel (its like a stop and the ‘convenient store, instead of the grocery store- simply quicker energy).
When we train anaerobically our heart rate is increased, our breathing is labored, and its difficult for anyone to sustain intense exercise for very long. So, if it feels intense and it’s hard to sustain, why even bother training this way? Well, there are MULTIPLE benefits to training this way.
1- Your body burns up to 5 calories for every liter of oxygen consumed
*When we increase our heart rate by doing more intense exercise, we increase our oxygen intake, and therefore increase our caloric burn.
2- What goes up must come down!
*When we increase our heart rate and oxygen consumption during intense exercise, our body will seek to go back to it’s homeostatic state. We burn many calories to get back to our resting state, through replenishing cellular supplies with much needed nutrients, and using up nutrients to repair the worked tissue.
3- Increased aerobic capacity
*When training in the various heart rate gears and you go up and down frequently, it allows us to increase the strength of the heart as a muscle, as well as improve cardiac output during and after exercise. One long term benefit will be an increased anaerobic threshold, or the ability of the body to utilize fat and oxygen for fuel without turning anaerobic too quickly; allowing us to sustain exercise for longer before feeling fatigued.
4- Increased Lean Muscle Mass
*By doing interval training we are stressing the tissues at the cellular level, promoting growth and regeneration both hormonally and structurally.
So, before you think you need to go out and do a long sustained workout at a steady state intensity; ask yourself if you want more bang for your buck and keep it short and sweet and to the point, loaded with high intensity intervals!