What is Interval Training
for Fat Loss
By: Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer
The other day I saw a pack of joggers shuffling along the streets of
Toronto, and I wanted to go over there and yell at the top of my lungs, "If
you want to lose weight, why aren't you doing interval training for fat
It seems interval training for fat loss just still hasn't caught on with
everyone. So today, I'll explain...
What is interval training?
How can you do interval training for fat loss?
Who can use interval workouts for fat burning?
We've been using interval training since way back in the late ‘90s when I
was just getting involved in the fat loss industry. I was also using it with
athletes but you don’t have to be an athlete to do interval training.
A beginner can do interval training because all interval training means is
that you’re going to do hard exercise for a short interval and then you’re
going to bring the exercise intensity down to lower than normal intensity,
recovery intensity for a very short period as well.
I like to use this example, a beginner who regularly walks on a treadmill at
say 3.5 miles per hour, they would do their interval training at a short,
hard interval of maybe 30 to 60 seconds at 3.8 miles per hour and then
they’d drop all the way down to 3.0 miles per hour for a minute recovery.
So a minute hard, a minute off and that’s interval training for a beginner.
It’s still safe and it’s still going to be effective in increasing more what
I call life-specific fitness because really anytime we do activity in life,
it’s generally not a Sunday stroll.
We’re either climbing stairs or maybe we’re walking faster, trying to run
and catch the bus, but we’re not just going at a slow steady pace most of
That’s why I say interval training is more life-specific or life-applicable
in terms of its fitness benefits.
Also, research shows that interval training does work better than slow
cardio for fat loss. For a more advanced interval training session, it can
be done on any type of equipment obviously, beginners can as well or you
can do it outside, you can do hill walking or hill sprinting or running
around the track or you can do mountain biking or you have do biking inside
on a stationary bike or elliptical.
You can do anything you pretty much want here that can be done in short
bursts and then recover.
You start with your warm-up, your regular warm-up; you make sure you’re
really nice and ready to go, especially if you’re doing running because
running at high speeds can lead to injury. That’s why I like actually people
do interval training on the bike because you can’t fall off it unless you’re
really uncoordinated and you really aren’t going to get hurt.
However, sprinting at high velocities of movement can lead to injury a lot
more than just biking against resistance. That's simply why I like the bike.
After you do your warm-up for 5 minutes then you would go into your first
interval and I like to say exercise at an 8 out of 10 intensity level
compare that to a 6 out of 10 which would be regular cardio - so you’re
doing it a couple notches higher than cardio.
Go at your interval pace for about a minute and then take anywhere from a
minute to a minute and a half break down at a very low recovery pace. I
don't care who you are or how fit you think you are, you need to take it
EASY during your interval training for fat loss recovery breaks.
That’s a big key here is a lot of people with the cardio mentality think
they have to keep their heart rate up high and they work too hard in the
recovery period, but if you were running on the treadmill at say 7 miles per
hour for your work interval, I’d like you to drop down to a 3.0 miles per
hour walk or if you’re biking and it’s Level 10 on a stationary Life Cycle,
then take your intensity all the way down to a Level 3 out of 10 for your
Go very easy, it should be as easy as possible during your recovery period
so that you work very hard during the work intervals. That’s all we care
It’s not how high your heart rate stays constantly elevated, but that you
work hard recover, work hard recover, and then you only need to do about six
of those intervals, then do a cool down, stretch any tight muscle groups,
and that’s it for the interval training.
It really should take about half the time of a normal cardio workout and
you’re going to get more fat-burning results.
About the Author
Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training fat loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Men’s Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines, and have helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training workouts that will help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit www.TurbulenceTraining.com
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