We all know just how important it is to stay healthy, however the demands of modern day life often keeps us away from the gym (honestly who has the time some days?). On a mission to look after ourselves better, we spoke with resident personal trainer, Aaron Rolley of IFC Personal Trainers, to get his advice on how best to fit exercise into our busy mama schedules (and his less is more approach really had us intrigued!).
Q1. What is interval training and why is it the best way to fit exercise into my schedule?
Interval training is a method of exercising that involves short bursts of hard physical activity followed by recovery periods. So instead of pounding the pavement for an hour for example, you would walk at a moderate speed for 3 minutes and then run fast for 1 minute, before walking at a moderate speed again for 3 minutes and so on. Interval training is a great way for mamas to get the benefits of an hour of exercise in less than half the time!
Q2. What are the benefits of interval training?
Latest research suggests that a high quality 20-minute interval circuit can deliver the same results as an hour of jogging or traditional weight training! Besides being a time efficient way for busy mamas to exercise, interval training speeds up your metabolism, makes you strong (not big!) and keeps you looking nice. It boosts heart health, increases insulin sensitivity and improves your aerobic capacity, helping you run after your mini monkeys for longer! If all of this is not enough to get you moving, this method of training boosts the hormones that are responsible for burning fat and keeping you happy. Nice!
Q3. Why is interval training better for me than an hour of jogging or cycling?
It’s quick, time efficient and fun! Interval training pushes your heart rate higher faster; it super charges your metabolism for up to 24 hours after a workout and is varied in its very nature (no boring gym routines here!). It’s also a great way to try a ton of different exercises that can help sculpt and shape your body.
Q4. Do I need to go to the gym to interval train?
Absolutely not! While having gym equipment at your disposal certainly helps, interval training is incredibly portable so can be done anywhere and with very little equipment. Whether you prefer to exercise at home while bubs is sleeping, at your nearest park or even at the beach, getting a work out is as simple as tying up your shoes laces and getting stuck in. Look for props like stairs, park benches (coffee tables!) or even hilly streets to help with exercises like tricep dips, push-ups or pull-ups.
Q5. How do I get started?
Basically, you’ll be working at two speeds, intense and recovery, which you alternate for your desired workout time. Most people tend to start with a 3 to 1 ratio (so that’s 3 minutes of light exercise alternated with 1 minute of intense exercise). As fitness improves you can alter the ratio to cut down the time between intense exercises (either a 2 to 1 ratio, or even a 1 to 1 ratio). When you are working at high intensity it needs to be hard work — if you can still carry out a conversation you’re not working hard enough!
One example of an easy interval workout could be to run up a set of stairs (high intensity), walk back down (low intensity) before running up the stairs again (high intensity). You can do this for any type of exercise you enjoy, but it’s best to choose exercises that use a lot of muscles at once, like cycling, swimming, running or even squatting!
Another way to create an interesting interval workout is to combine upper and lower body exercises. Using the above example, after you run up a set of stairs, do 6 push-ups at the top, before slowly walking down the stairs. The stair running sculpts your lower legs and buttocks, the push-ups help shape your chest and arm muscles, while the walk down the stairs is your recovery time so you can do it all again!
See you in the gym mamas!
Aaron Rolley has a degree in Sports Science and has been personal training for almost 20 years. As the founder of IFC Personal Training, Aaron is renowned for his approach to building fitter, stronger, and leaner bodies in a fun and safe environment. You can contact Aaron at (+65) 9431 7880 or at [email protected].