Intervals for Cardio


Interval Training Frequency

Training Frequency

The recommended training frequency for weight loss (reducing body fat) and improving fitness is 3 days per week.  However, experienced and fit individuals can cut back and train 2 days per week to maintain lean body mass and fitness.  You can also train 4 days per week if that is congruent with your personal fitness goals.  Or instead of being confined to a weekly schedule you can opt to train every 3rd or 4th day which gives you 2 or 3 days of rest in between workouts.

Scheduling Workouts

Spread out the training sessions as much as possible.  This gives the muscles and nervous system more time to recuperate between training sessions.  So if you are training 3 days a week it is better to train on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday than say Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, or even worse yet Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Training Cycle

I recommend training for 8 to 12 weeks straight followed by taking a 2 week break period.  The break period gives your body and mind much needed recuperation that helps prevent overtraining and mental burnout.  If you don't take periodic breaks from training you'll definitely run yourself into the ground and lose motivation.

Sample Interval Training Routine:

Train on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 10 weeks straight, then take a 2 week break period.

Adding Variety

To add variety to your interval training routine, you can alternate weeks or training days with various pieces of cardio equipment or with any suitable physical activity.  For example, one week you can train on an exercise bike and then on an elliptical trainer the next week.  Then one week you might want to go outside and do some running intervals on a park trail.  If you prefer more frequent variety you can alternate training days with different training methods.

The last way to keep your interval workouts fresh is to frequently change up your work and rest intervals as well as sets.  What I mean by this is just don't do the Tabata protocol all the time or you will get bored and burned out.  So if you did 8 sets of 20 second work intervals by 10 second rest intervals one week switch up your routine by doing five sets of 60 second work intervals by 30 second rest intervals the next week.