Why Interval Training?

PowerHouse Hit the Deck™ is an interval training workout. Interval training is a very effective way to improve your fitness, build your energy capacity, increase your ability to tolerate stress, and to teach the body to recover from stress more efficiently. Interval training can be defined as repeated bouts of high-intensity exercise with intermittent recovery periods. This type of training allows for a higher total volume of high-intensity work. In every day life, your heart rate does not stay at the same rate — it fluctuates greatly throughout the day depending on your activity as well as stress levels.

What will it do for me?

Doing bursts of hard exercise not only improves cardiovascular fitness, but also the body’s ability to burn fat – even during other low or moderate intensity workouts. (Journal of Applied Physiology, May 2007)

You can burn more energy in a 30-minute interval training workout than if you were to do 30 minutes at a sustained, moderate heart rate.

You are increasing the body’s ability to tolerate stressful situations by exposing it to stress and then training recovery. It helps with any kind of stress — mental or emotional — as well as physical. You are training your body to recover from stress as quickly as possible.

Many people (myself included) report that time seems to go by more quickly when interval training. You are mentally focused on getting your heart rate up, then getting it down, instead of how much total time is left in your workout.

How hard should I be working during my high intensity intervals?

You should be able to talk and breathe at the same time, though not sing and breathe at the same time — about 80-85% of your maximum heart rate. It should be uncomfortable, but not painful.

What should the lengths of my intervals be?

Have fun with it! You can go by time, distance, landmarks, how you feel or even songs on your iPod. Guidelines vary, but the high intensity phase should be between 1 to 5 minutes and recovery periods should be just long enough for you to feel recovered. Over time you would want to spend more time in your high intensity phase and less time in your recovery phase. For example, one of my favorite interval workouts is dictated by my iPod: after warming up I find a song I like, and then I go hard for the duration of the song. When the song is over, I decrease my intensity and begin shuffling through my playlist until I find the next song that inspires me. As soon as the new song starts, so does my interval.

I like to walk — can it be an interval training workout?

Any workout can be made interval. All you have to do is increase and decrease the intensity. For example, if you like to walk, stride out and swing those arms for 4 blocks, then slow down for 1 block. If you swim, go hard for 5 laps, then decrease your intensity for 2 laps.

Interval training is not for everyone. Consult your physician before starting interval training or any intense physical activity.

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