Introduction to Physical Exercise and Interval Training
Burn baby Burn!
For many years my training programme would involve hours and hours in the gym followed by hours and hours of pain! No gain without pain was the mantra that would play over and over in my head!
As the years passed by, that pain would show up as torn knee ligaments or a ruptured Achilles tendon. Broken this and battered that, pulls and strains of all description. My poor body was broken!
Thankfully I discovered a new way of training which gives better results from less time in the gym!
Interval Training is the name and it is the only way to train! It is also known as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
What is Interval Training?
It is a form of cardio vascular exercise that alternates between short intense anaerobic exercise and moderate or less intense recovery periods. Cardio vascular is simply the ability to deliver oxygen to the working muscle.
Aerobic and Anaerobic are two terms which may be new to you but will help you target each element of your fitness level. It may also help structure your training programme.
Aerobic and Anaerobic essentially are terms used to describe two different energy systems in the body.
Aerobic – operates in the presence of free flowing oxygen.
Anaerobic – operates without the presence of free flowing oxygen.
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This involves a cardio vascular type of exercise where the intensity is at such a level that it allows you to get enough oxygen into the muscle cells. It relies on recently consumed carbohydrates and dietary fat as a food source and converts this in to energy. Aerobic exercise is sustainable for longer periods of time than anaerobic forms of exercise.
Due to the incredibly high intensity of this form of exercise, the body is unable to keep up with the oxygen demands of the working muscle cells and cannot efficiently break down food sources to utilise as fuel.
Consequently the body turns to an alternative fuel source of stored muscle glycogen. This is the stored form of carbohydrates in the muscle cells. The anaerobic system works without oxygen but the by-product is lactic acid.
As lactic acid builds, your body enters ‘oxygen debt’. It is during the recovery or rest phase that the heart and lungs work together to ‘pay back’ this oxygen and breaks down the lactic acid.
If you have very little glycogen stored in your reserve due to a low-carb diet for example, you will likely struggle with anaerobic exercise.
Aerobic exercise includes longer distance running, jogging, cycling, swimming, skating and robust walking.
Types of Anaerobic Exercise
It is worth mention here however that anaerobic exercise is a type of exercise which can be performed with most fitness equipment. Although I have categorised cycling as an aerobic type of exercise above, you can very easily adapt it to your high intensity interval training (HIIT) using a bike or any elliptical machine.
Indeed this is my favourite method and personal choice for my own anaerobic training programme. I love it and cycling is my life!
I hope you understand the fundamental differences between the two energy systems working at a cardio vascular level. Let us move onto the subject of interval training and why it is best for weight loss and as you will discover, so much more!
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