People often think of exercise as a time-consuming task that takes over your whole day. New research is showing that this doesn’t have to be the case. As many of us spend more time at home, exercising in short spurts can be what we need to do to keep our muscles from wasting away.
For many people, it isn’t necessary to spend a big chunk of your day at the gym. Exercising periodically throughout the day, even for a few minutes at a time, is a practical solution for staying fit while staying home.
Interval training can benefit nearly anyone. The science shows that when appropriately adapted it can help elite athletes as well as people with chronic health conditions.
Interval training is a time-efficient way to exercise. It can be adapted to meet a variety of health goals ranging from weight loss and metabolic flexibility to muscle gain and endurance.
About Martin Gibala, Ph.D
Martin Gibala is a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and the author of The One-Minute Workout. His main interest is the physiology of exercise, including the effects of training and nutrition, and application to health and performance. Martin’s research ranges from basic studies on cellular mechanisms to applied studies on health and performance. He regularly publishes in peer-reviewed journals and speaks at scientific meetings.
What is Interval Training?
Simply put, interval training is a style of exercise that involves pushing hard for a few seconds in between longer breaks. While this sounds revolutionary, it’s nothing new. Many elite athletes have been training this way for decades. Regardless of your level of fitness, there’s a role for interval training in your life.
Martin explains how nearly everyone from Olympic athletes to those with heart conditions can adapt this type of workout to their benefit. Even if it’s just walking for a few seconds in between resting, there can be a huge benefit for some people. This type of exercise can be as intense or gentle as necessary.
Interval Training as a Helpful Alternative
Through his many studies, Martin has found that the intensity of exercise is often more impactful than its duration. That’s not to say that there’s no place for steady-state cardio workouts. What it does suggest is that, for many of us, interval training can serve as an effective alternative.
How can you implement interval training at home? Let me know in the comments below!
In this episode
- What interval training is and how anyone can do it [2:27]
- Applying interval training to any fitness level [4:30]
- What you can learn from a VO2 Max test [9:27]
- The differences between aerobic and anaerobic interval training [12:35]
- Managing your recovery time to maximize your outcome [17:27]
- Interval training’s potential to improve muscular health [23:16]
- Comparing the results of interval training to endurance training [29:50]
- Why moving well is more important than moving often [36:28]
- Taking advantage of interval training in the time of COVID [45:20]
“Interval training is not only for elite athletes…. Many individuals can safely perform interval training, including individuals with cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, and many other chronic conditions.” [4:13]
“If you have twenty minutes to train, that’s a good sweet spot. It’s of sufficient duration.” [16:24]
“Just get out there and do something. Vary it up. If you like the same interval workout all the time, go for it. But variety is generally going to be better for you. Mix it up and don’t worry about the details so much.” [19:01]
“There’s nothing magical about interval training, but it can just speed things up a little bit in terms of the time invested for the relative benefits.” [25:17]
“How hard you work out is more important than how long you work out.” [31:18]
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