The best way to a better gym workout

Many of us find it easy and convenient to go the gym simply to hop onto some cardio machinery and ‘zone out’ for 30 minutes to an hour.  This is possibly the worst use of time.  Let’s have a look at the simple but effective way to boost those workouts, interval training.

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Interval training essentially pushes the body above it’s usual steady state intensity for short periods.  This can be anything from 100% all out effort for 10 seconds to 85% effort for 10 minutes.  Whatever method you use it’s important to understand the intention.

Intervals burn more fat

Most people on cardio machines want to burn fat.  Intervals effectively stimulate fat burning  and essentially produce a longer ‘afterburn’ effect.  It’s that simple.

Intervals boost fitness more

In order to produce any change in fitness we need to overload the body in some way.  Pushing the heart rate higher increases cardio function and efficiency.  In most cases due to the increased intensity, less overall time needs to be spent doing it.  Good news all round.

How to incorporate intervals

This depends on your weekly training, but for the majority of us a good rule is to do intervals no more than twice a week.  Intervals are not for the unfit or faint hearted.  If you are unsure, get advice from a medical professional before attempting high intensity work.   Also make sure you are well warmed up, at least 10 minutes should do it.   Here are a couple of simple ways of doing intervals within your workouts…


Equal work/recovery  —    Work at 90% for 60 seconds then at 50% for 60 seconds.

Pyramids   —   Work for the following with equal recovery.  1-2-3-4-3-2-1    Do a 1 minute effort then 1 minute recovery, 2 minutes/2 minutes recovery etc.

Go by distance  —   the rower is good for this but any cardio machine works.  Work hard for say 500m and take a note of your time.  Go off, do some weights etc then come back later and have another go trying to beat your last time.


Need more advice or want to incorporate these properly?  Come and see us