According to Saju Mathew, M.D., a primary care physician at Piedmont Physicians Group, interval training is one of the best forms of cardiovascular exercise to challenge your body and burn maximum calories.
“When we show up at the gym, a lot of us go to one or two of the [cardio] machines and try to grind it out at a moderate pace for 30 to 45 minutes,” he says.
While any amount of exercise is beneficial, if you’re truly trying to become fit, you need to push yourself, he explains. Put another way: If you want six-pack abs, interval training is a must.
Dr. Mathew suggests the following interval training routine:
Instead of 30 minutes on one machine, choose three different machines, such as the stair stepper, rowing machine and treadmill. Spend 10 minutes on each machine and try to do two rounds. If this is too much, start with one round and work your way up as you build endurance.
You can also try these cardio interval training routines designed by a Piedmont exercise physiologist.
Thanks to a process called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), interval training can help you burn more calories even after you’ve finished your workout.
“If you get on a treadmill and walk for one minute, then run for three minutes as fast as you can, you’re going to increase the consumption of oxygen to your red blood cells,” he says. “It’s like you prime the red blood cells to keep burning calories even after you’re done with the workout.”
If you’re crunched for time and want to get into the best shape of your life, interval training can help you reach your goals.
“Try to change it up,” says Dr. Mathew. “When your body gets used to working out the same way, you’re not really pushing yourself to that maximum limit.”
For more fitness tips, visit the Living Better fitness page.