How to Add Intervals into Your Cardio Workouts

The post is sponsored by Zappos. Thank you for supporting the brands that I love, and who help to make this blog possible. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

Lace up those shoes ladies because today we are talking about how to incorporate intervals into your cardio workouts!

I’ve had a few questions about “intervals” in the weekly schedules, so I wanted to cover it in detail with you and explain HOW to add them into your cardio workouts, and WHY they are so important for reaching your goals.

P.s. A new challenge will be starting VERY shortly, I know you ladies have been dying for another one — so there will be another one starting October 1st! Stay tuned for details! 😉

The Basics

Just about any cardio routine can be easily modified into an interval training workout. Whether you like running, cycling, swimming, climbing the stair master, boxing, rowing, or even roller blading, snowshoeing, or stand up paddleboarding, you can integrate intervals into your workout favorite heart pumping routine.

For example, say you currently set the stair climber at the gym to a certain speed and put one foot in front of the other for 30 minutes. To add in some intervals, try ramping up the speed and jogging up the stair climber for 30 seconds, then lowering the speed back down to your normal pace for 1 minute, and repeat. Or instead, try finding an actual set of stairs, jog up one flight, then walk back down, and repeat 10 times. You’ll immediately notice that your physical exertion level is wayyyy higher than your normal, steady pace.

If your looking for some serious results in your workouts, then interval training will be a great addition to your current fitness routine.

How Will Interval Training Workouts help Me Reach my Goals?

When you’re working in those “high intervals” — aka the anaerobic zone (where you are gasping for breath) — you’re increasing the “fat burning” response in your body. This is actually called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC.

EPOC is basically an oxygen debt for your body. It’s the amount of oxygen required to restore your body to its normal, resting metabolism. Basically it means your body will continue to burn calories long after you’ve finished exercising — possibly even 24 hours after your workout!

By continuously changing intensity levels during your workouts, you’re challenging your body to perform above of its normal capacity, which increases your endurance and fat burning. YES, PLEASE.

How to Add Intervals into Your Workout

Start Slow – Start with shorter intervals to start and also short workout times total, for example, if you’re truly working hard on those high intervals, a short 10 minute workout can be just as beneficial as a longer, steady-state workout. Start with 20 seconds high intervals, and recover for 60 seconds.

Don’t Skip the Warm Up – You’ll be pushing your body just past it’s limits during those high intervals, so making sure your muscles are sufficiently warmed up, and lightly stretched will help to prevent injuries. If you’ll be running for example, take and SUPER easy jog or a power walk for 5 minutes, then work on some dynamic stretches, BEFORE your interval workout. Also, be sure to cool down after your workout to prevent blood pooling and lightheadedness after your workout.

Use an Interval Timer or App – During you’re workout you’ll be working your booty off, so the last thing you’ll want to do is continuously look down at your watch. Try using an interval timer like this one, or use an app on your phone — I like this app — to help you stay accountable and on track during your workout.

Don’t Train Back to Back Days – Because you’ll be working so hard during your interval workouts, you’ll be careful you don’t overtrain — this can lead to injuries. You’ll be building up a lot of lactic acid during your workouts, so at most, try adding interval workouts two to three times per week on nonconsecutive days. On non-interval days, do some steady-state cardio, or try another type training like yoga or Pilates.

Keep Intervals Short – The shorter and more intense your intervals are the better. In other words, 3-5 minutes isn’t an interval. And interval should be between20-06 seconds and a high intensity that you can not sustain much longer than that. When you’re just beginning, try a 1:3 ratio for your intervals — for example work hard for 20 seconds, and then recover for 60 seconds. As you progress, start working down to a 1:2 ratio, and then even a 1:1 ratio.

Wear the Right Gear

You’ll also want to make sure you have the right gear to stay comfortable and even prevent injury.

My personal favorite interval workout is running, so it’s important that I choose both running shoes and clothing that helps to keep me cool during my workout AND prtects the tiny muscles and ligaments in my feet.

I’ve been LOVING new Brooks Revel shoes. These on-trend flat-knit runners are made with a revolutionary material that gives breathability and comfort. No matter how you pound the pavement, the shoe feels comfortable and secure all day — which is perfect for intervals AND even just walking around town or grabbing aa coffee after my run! 😉

The sole has just the right softness and adapts to each runner, thanks to BioMoGo DNA cushioning that disperses impact away from the body. So not only are they super trendy looking, but they are built for performance, which is crucial for your workouts.

Plus, let’s talk about these shoes?? I’m obsessing over white/black/gray athleisure right now, and these shoes can go with ANY outfit.

For warmer weather I love wearing the Chaser shorts to keep my cool, and the Greenlight Capris for chillier days. Both are super comfortable, and the fabric is amazing — the capris even have TWO back waistband posckets to hold your keys, some cash or even your debit card!

And then let’s talk about the Distance Tank Top in the color Dahlia (LOVE this amazing color for both summer AND fall!) Super cute, and I even feel like it could totally be worn out for sinner with some white jeans. Yes??

I picked all of my Brooks gear up from Zappos, which is SO convenient. They have FAST and FREE shipping, and amazing customer service. Not to mention a 365 day return policy…what?! How amazing is that??

Super convenient with a crazy schedule like mine to be able to shop online and know they have my back and can get me the gear I need FAST.

What’s you favorite interval workout?

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