Interval Training For Fat Loss

At the gym the majority of people I see who are looking to lose weight spend most of their time doing steady state aerobic exercise on the elliptical trainer or treadmill and focusing on the calories they are burning in each workout session.

However, this is a very time inefficient way of looking to lose fat, because as soon as you step off the elliptical trainer or treadmill the calorie burn of your workout stops.

With my personal training clients I focus on training methods that aid in continuing their calorie burn long after the workout is over, which can be done through anaerobic interval training. Studies show that anaerobic interval training is more effective at burning fat, and maintaining and building muscle mass than long lower intensity aerobic workouts.

At its simplest level, interval training refers to a period of work followed by a period of rest. The key to anaerobic interval training is intensity – a period of HARD work followed by a period of rest.

Below are some examples of anaerobic interval training using gym-based cardio equipment:

Elliptical trainer:

  • Warm up with 2 minutes at a steady pace.
  • Perform 8 x 20 second sprints (or going as fast as you can) with 40 seconds recovery.
  • Cool down with 3 minutes at a steady pace.

Rowing machine:

  • Warm up with 2 minutes at a steady pace.
  • Perform 6 x 30 second sprints (or going as fast as you can) with 30 seconds recovery.
  • Cool down with 2 minutes at a steady pace.

So if you’re looking to get into shape and tone up, give some anaerobic interval training a go! And keep an eye out on my blog over the coming weeks where I will delve more deeply into the area of fat loss and the best ways of achieving it!

NOTE: anaerobic interval training is hard work, and if you have any cardiovascular problems or other health concerns, anaerobic interval training will not be suitable.

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Comments (4)

  1. Hi Megan!

    Thanks for this handy tip. I have been training so hard at the gym 6 days a week – you may have noticed that I normally do classes with an instructor. One disturbing issue I am experiencing is that no matter how hard I train I never get thinner or lose weight. I am approximately 163cm tall and weigh between 61-63kg. Any tips? And also, do you know how I should be able to get a flatter tummy and trim my wobbly love handles?

  2. Hi Sumon,

    I was going to recommend you reading my latest post on Weight Loss Vs Fat Loss, but I see you have already read it! Not knowing your diet (as diet plays a big part in fat loss), I can only make recommendations on your exercise.

    Understanding a little about your exercise history, I think the biggest issue is that your body has adapted to the exercise you do. Doing the same classes each week, it doesn’t long to adapt. You need to keep making changes to your program and keep up the intensity.

    I would definitely recommend getting into some interval training (i will post up some workout programs in the coming weeks). I’d also consider (and apologies for plugging my own services) getting some personal training… at least for a little while to get a better understanding of the exercises you should do and the intensity you should do them at. I recommend personal training to you, as I know that you like group classes as they can be motivating, and training by yourself doesn’t always have the same motivating effect.

    Hope this helps.


  3. This is very useful, Megan. Thank you. I guess part of the big problem lies with my diet. I exercise a lot but on the other hand, snack in the middle of the night. When I avoided snacking late in the evenings, I would detect a loss in my weight the next morning. I guess I will have to bite the bullet and train myself to stay away from food in the evenings!

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