The basic weight loss method behind cardiovascular exercise (or any kind of exercise, really) is, as you know, a matter of catabolism (The metabolic breakdown of complex molecules into simpler ones, often resulting in a release of energy). Essentially, if you can design your body to require more energy, your body will respond by breaking cells down to deliver it; and that method (metabolism: In some substances within your body are broken down to yield energy for vital processes while other substances, necessary for life, are synthesized.) burns calories during exercise. Simple, right? So with that in mind, something called interval training neatly fits in with our overall exercise plan.
Interval training is simply a adding high-energy burning component to your exercise plan on an infrequent, or interval, basis. For example, you may be at a stage where you can jog for 20 minutes every other day, and thus put your heart into a cardiovascular zone during this time you exercise.This, obviously, is going to help you boost your metabolism and thus burn calories/energy. But let's rev up your metabolism a bit with one simple trick, during that 20 minute jog, you add a 30 second or 1 minute sprint. Why? Because during this 30 seconds or 1 minute, you give your body a bit of a jolt.
Not an unhealthy jolt; remember, we're talking about quick short bursts here, not suddenly racing around the track or through the park! By giving your body an interval jolt, it automatically - and somewhat unexpectedly - has to turn things up a notch and to compensate for your extra energy requirements, the body will burn more calories. It's essential for you to always keep in mind that interval training only works when it's at intervals. This may seem like a strange thing to understand, but it's actually very straightforward. The process hails to our ancestors times (caveman days) when the body would store energy for when it was needed, either to run to hunt or run to survive.
The body tries to hold that store energy (body fat) for survival, thus interval training tricks the body into burning the stored energy (body fat). The metabolism-boosting benefits that you enjoy as a result of interval training while exercising are primarily due to the fact that your body, suddenly, needs to find more energy and calls upon the stored energy (body fat). While your metabolism is chugging along and supplying your energy needs during your cardiovascular exercise, it all of a sudden needs to go grab some more energy for 30 seconds or a minute; and in that period, it will boost your metabolism as if it were given a huge boost.
As you can see, if you suddenly decided to extend your 30 second or 1 minute sprint into a 20 minute sprint, you simply wouldn't experience all of the benefits of interval exercise. Yes, your body would use more energy if you extend yourself to the higher range of your aerobic training zone. But your body won't necessarily get that boost that only comes from interval training. So your ultimate goal with interval training is to give your body a healthy energy boost where your body suddenly says to itself: "Hey! We need more energy (body fat) here FAST, we increased our heart rate from 180 beats per minute to 190 beats per minute! Let's go to any available cell, like those fat cells down at the waist, and convert them to energy so that we can get the energy that they need!" Remember (sorry to be repetitive, but this is very important): the whole point of adding interval training to our exercise routine is to give your body a sudden, limited, healthy jolt where it needs more energy - quick! This keeps the metabolism from adjusting to our exercise routine and not releasing that stored energy that sits on our waist line, we call belly fat. That is why when you exercise you hit that ugly plateau where you would not burn any body fat and seem to maintain your weight, you need to add some type of interval exercise to your exercise plan to start dropping that stored energy.
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