Is interval training really the best type of exercise for weight loss?
Everyone seems to have an opinion, but is there solid scientific evidence anywhere?
In this study, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19731176, published on PubMed, it shows that the group that did interval training lost the most fat, as opposed to the continuous aerobic group or the non-exercising group.
Here’s another one from the University of South Wales,http://www.unsw.edu.au/news/pad/articles/2007/jan/Fat_exercise.html. In this study they report that, “The group which did around eight seconds of sprinting on a bike, followed by 12 seconds of exercising lightly for twenty minutes, lost three times as much fat as other women, who exercised at a continuous, regular pace for 40 minutes.”
What is interval training?
Interval training is basically exercise which consists of some sort of aerobic exercise at high intensity for a short period of time, followed by a low intensity exercise for a short period of time. Then you repeat doing that cycle several times, typically between 5-9 times. The periods of time are normally anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes for the high intensity part—intense enough so that you cannot maintain a normal conversation. The less intensive part or “recovery” part depends on your fitness level, but usually from about the same amount of time to about double the amount of time (or more if needed, but if much more is needed, then you need to back off on the intensity for the high intensity part).
Some benefits to interval training as opposed to long, slow aerobic training are more weight loss, healthier lungs (according to Dr. Al Sears), and less time taken up in exercise. Check out Dr. Al Sears’ “pace” program and his info on lung health here.
What about other types of exercises?
Every type of exercise has its’ benefits. Weight training has benefits. Stretching/flexibility exercises have benefits. Traditional cardio has benefits. Weight loss just isn’t one of their top benefits.
For one type of exercise for weight loss, interval training reigns as king. If you want to do a combination of exercises, all the better! In fact, some experts feel that combining weight training with interval training is even better for weight loss than interval training alone. But even saying that, if you are new to exercising, only have time or energy or motivation for one type of exercise, then interval training is it!Please note, if you are extremely unfit, “intense” exercise for you may simply be walking faster. Please consult your primary physician for clearance on beginning any exercise routine, but especially an intense routine like this or if you have any doubts about your current level of fitness or health.