A Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced Cardio Interval Training Program

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Want to boost your fitness results? Interval training is the fastest way to do it. With interval training, you’re using short bursts of intense movements for up to a minute, then bringing your heart rate and intensity down for a few minutes until you’re ready to increase the intensity again. The entire workout can be less than 20 minutes but the impact is huge. You can do this with little or no equipment and the results come quickly.

Here’s an interval training program using just cardio (no weights, machines, plyometric movements, etc.). It’s a great way to shake up your existing cardio routine, while allowing you to spend less time working out and getting greater results. 

How often: Can be done daily but change the times that intervals are added.

How long: Less than 30 minutes (this varies, depending on your fitness level).

Stretching: Stretch the quadriceps (front of thighs), hamstrings (back of thighs), and calf muscles before and after.

Beginner

Using the RPE system (Rate of Perceived Exertion), you’ll be rating your exertion on a scale of 0-10. A 0 means you’re sleeping and a 10 means you need to get to an emergency room, so let’s leave both of those numbers out of the equation, okay?

Using the RPE system, here’s an example of a cardio interval workout you can try using a treadmill, Stairmaster, elliptical or bike:

1. For the first few minutes, go at a pace you consider anywhere from a 1-3

2. For the next 3 minutes, increase your intensity (raising the incline, resistance or speed) to a level you consider a level 4

3. For 1 minute, increase the intensity to a level 7

4. Now recover for 3 minutes at a level between 4-5

5. You’ve recovered by this point, so give it another minute at a level 7

6. Bring it down for 3 minutes to a level 4

7. Repeat this cycle (steps 2-6) for another round or two

8. Bring it down to a level between 1-3 to cool down

Intermediate

Still using the RPE system to rate your exertion, use the same format as above with these changes to your intensity:

1. For the first few minutes, go at a pace you consider anywhere from a 1-3

2. For the next 3 minutes, increase your intensity (raising the incline, resistance or speed) to a level you consider a level 5-6

3. For 1 minute, increase the intensity to a level 8

4. Now recover for 3 minutes at a level between 5-6

5. You’ve recovered by this point so give it another minute at a level 8

6. Bring it down for 3 minutes to a level 5

7. Repeat this cycle (steps 2-6) for another round or two

8. Bring it down to a level between 1-3 to cool down

Advanced

Same idea as above but your intensity is much greater. Use this format for an intense cardio workout:

1. For the first few minutes, go at a pace you’d consider anywhere from a 1-3

2. For the next 3 minutes, increase your intensity (raising the incline, resistance or speed) to a level you consider a level 6- 7

3. For 1 minute, increase the intensity to a level 9

4. Now recover for 3 minutes at a level between 6-7

5. You’ve recovered by this point so give it another minute at a level 9

6. Bring it down for 3 minutes to a level 6

7. Repeat this cycle (steps 2-6) for another round or two

8. Bring it down to a level between 1-3 to cool down

Through interval training, you’ll see dramatic changes to your level of fitness… and how you look in those skinny jeans. Ready to try it? I’d love to know, comment and share!

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