High Intensity Interval Training. An alternative to steady state cardio.


A word that (somewhat unnecessarily) produces feelings of fear and terror in gym goers around the world.

Ok, so maybe fear and terror aren't quite accurate, but nonetheless people are certainly worried about doing cardio. You know, ‘cause you’ll lose all your gainz, brah’

But seriously, I think the inclusion of some form of cardio can be important for both the weekend warrior and athlete alike. 

Cardiovascular, or Aerobic, training can improve your general physical preparedness, which in turn can directly improve your recovery both between sessions, and during sessions, which is going to improve the overall results of your training. Not to mention there are obvious health benefits that are associated with having a well-developed cardiovascular system (reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes for example...). And of course, for the more athletic populations, having a well-developed aerobic system is essential to performing well.

Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly enjoy cardio all that much. I don’t really like sitting in the gym, staring at a wall, turning my legs over and over for hours at a time. And don’t even get me started on running (I am not a particularly good runner..).

So what can I do?

Let me introduce High intensity interval training .

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High Intensity Interval Training

Combines short bouts of high intensity activity with short (sometimes longer) bouts of low intensity activity or inactivity. A simple example would be running and walking, where you might run quickly for 30s and then walk for 60s for a duration of 20 minutes.

It’s a relatively simple concept that has shown to significantly improve aerobic capacity, aid fat loss and improve cardiovascular function.

And the best bit?

It takes very little time!

Now in saying that, most protocols are difficult, and can be quite taxing, and as such may it may not be suitable for the relatively untrained individual. For them building a solid foundation of aerobic capacity through lower intensity aerobic work may be a more beneficial way to go, before commencing higher intensity intervals.

Now, here a couple of protocols that I like to use regularly that you can quickly introduce into your own training. I typically use these with running if im outside or on the stationary bike if im at the gym, although there is no reason they cannot be used on the rower or X-trainer if that is your preference.

Example 1.

2 sets of 15s High intensity (80-90% max speed) 15s rest (inactive) for 8 minutes duration, with 4 minutes between sets.

Example 2.

60s of high intensity (~70% max speed) with 90s light intensity activity, for 20 minutes.


Just like that, 2 easy protocols that can be implemented into your week that take less than 30 minutes each.

Ideally undertaking this sort of interval training twice per week is enough to improve aerobic capacity and help body composition goals.

If you like to do cardio and weights in the same day, I would recommend using one of these after your weight session, as doing it before is likely to leave significant fatigue and impact your ability to perform in the gym.

There you have it, a brief spiel on Interval training.


If you would like to find out how to incorporate interval training into your workout you can contact me here.