The Ultimate Guide to Interval Training

From the track to CrossFit, interval training is gaining steam everywhere — and for good reason. Alternating bursts of intense activity with periods of no- or low-intensity activity (known as active recovery), interval training effectively bumps up the heart rate, burns more calories and fat, and is more efficient compared to steady-state cardio (like jogging at the same pace for an extended period of time). No matter your fitness level, or preferred way to exercise, just about anyone can try out interval training.

What is High Intensity Interval Training?

High intensity interval training (HIIT) involves exercising at a high intensity (for 30 seconds to several minutes) then recovering with low intensity exercise for 1-5 minutes 1. While athletes have trained with intervals for decades, recent research points to short bursts of all-out intensity (coupled with short periods of rest) as an effective way to improve cardiovascular function and physical performance in less time than exercising with the same intensity for a full workout 2. Bottom line: high intensity means getting the job done in a jiffy.

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