Interval Training Kicks Up The Workout

If your clients are looking for a faster and more effective way to burn fat, lose weight, or build muscle, interval training is the solution. By implementing short bursts of intense activity in your client’s workout, they will quickly enhance their workout routine and meet their weight-loss goals.

Interval training is defined by the American Council of Exercise as “alternating short bursts of intense activity with active recovery”. Active recovery is a less intense form of the original activity. The short bursts of intense activity are known as anaerobic activity (without oxygen) and the active recovery is known as aerobic activity (with oxygen). Interval training utilizes both forms of activity which is one of the big advantages of this type of training. (Source: American Council on Exercise ).

What are the benefits?

Interval training burns more fat! If your client maintains a constant moderate workout, their weight-loss often plateaus. By adding interval training to the workout routine they can increase the amount of fat burned by over 30 percent, even during low-intensity workouts. (Source: Science Daily ).

Interval training helps improve cardiovascular fitness. Because interval training incorporates aerobic activity as well as anaerobic, it helps control blood pressure, increase energy, and burn more calories.

In a study done by the University of Guelph, researchers found that after implementing interval training into a workout, cardiovascular fitness increased by 13 percent (Source: Science Daily ).

Interval training adds variety. Psychological benefits cannot be overlooked. Interval workouts are a great way to break up monotonous routines whether a client is trying to build muscle or focus on weight-loss.

Interval Training for Beginners

If your client is a beginner to interval training, a good understanding of the basics is crucial for a safe and effective workout.

In order to avoid injury and to ready the muscle for interval training, warming up is essential. A warm up should consist of at least five minutes of a light activity such as walking, jogging, biking, or elliptical. Afterwards, perform a few stretches to complete the warm up. Do not stretch a muscle cold before warming up.

There are four essential components to interval training: intensity, duration, recovery, and repetitionsl. A basic interval training program includes these four variables and should be adjusted to fit your client’s goals. For now, we’ll focus on the first two.

Intensity levels for interval training range from 1, no intensity at all (standing still), to 5, a light jog, and to 10, called an “all out” intensity. Interval training beginners should never reach 10 and instead remain in a comfortable intensity zone.

Duration of the interval should be determined by the trainer and by the client’s stamina or energy level. It could range from 2 minutes for beginners or 15 minutes for more experienced clients. For example, if your client typically walks 2 miles in 30 minutes he/she can increase the intensity of their walk or run for a few minutes and then return to their original speed (Source: American Council on Exercise ).

Just as your client must warm up his or her muscles before the workout, they must also cool down the muscles with a light five minute aerobic activity. This will help promote recovery from the interval workout.

Interval training is a great way to energize and revamp a client’s current workout routine and produce better results. However, it is important to remind your clients that a balance of exercise and a healthy diet combined with interval training promotes greater weight loss.


These resources are for the purpose of personal trainer growth and development through Continuing Education which advances the knowledge of fitness professionals. This article is written for NFPT Certified Personal Trainers to receive Continuing Education Credit (CEC). Please contact NFPT at 800.729.6378 or [email protected] with questions or for more information.