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Interval Training Or How I Survived Minutes And Seconds

After 6 months training with my personal trainer I showed up for our Saturday session and she informs me that we are to begin four weeks of Interval Training. This consists of a series of exercises that generally last for 20 reps or 3 minutes followed by a one minute recovery time. During this training I am wearing a heart rate monitor so that the proper medical authorities can be contacted if my heart begins to gyrate out of control! What follows is a station by station recap of one tough workout.

Stationary bike: 3 minutes total maintaining 90 rotations per minute. First minute at a difficulty setting of 4, on a 1-15 scale, second minute at a difficulty setting of 6, and the third minute back at 4. No problem. Treadmill: three minutes in total at 6 miles per hour.

One minute at a 5 percent incline, one minute at a 7 percent incline and one minute at a 5 percent incline. No problem. Sim cycle: for those readers that are not familiar, this is done while sitting on a balance ball and the sim cycle is a hand crank "bicycle". Picture a miniature bicycle with no wheels and no handle bars, just the pedals.

One minute at maximum capacity, one minute recovery, one minute at maximum capacity. Only a small measure of doubt starting to creep into the brain and body. Jump rope: when was the last time I jumped rope? Let's see, that would be just about never. The requirement here was 2 consecutive minutes.

In reality this took at least 7+ minutes due to basic rope jumping incompetence. However, by week four 2 minutes in about 4 minutes time was doable. Doubt level starting to increase measurably.

Push ups with a 20 pound medicine ball: one hand on the ground the other on the ball. Push up then roll the ball to the other hand. Repeat 20 times. Oh my! Stair stepper: on a difficulty level of 6 the goal is to climb 30, yes thirty, flights of stairs in under three minutes.

First week time was 2 minutes and 53 seconds. This is something we all do everyday right? We climb a 15 story building in less than three minutes. Now I am feeling whipped. But I do get a full one minute recovery before the next exercise.

Treadmill: yes treadmill again. 6 miles per hour with the first minute at a 5 percent grade, the second minute at a 7 percent grade and the third minute at a 5 percent grade. Somebody help me here.

I am actually paying for this torture. What am I nuts? Sim cycle: yes, again. One minute at maximum output.

Rest one minute then another minute at maximum output. I am scanning the gym for the oxygen masks like they have on the sidelines of NFL games. Jump rope: 2 consecutive minutes. Now I am looking for someone to injure but I would not have any strength to swing at them. Bridge knee tuck on balance ball: don't make me explain.

Trust me when I tell you that it is hard, works the core and is the END of the interval training session. My trainer informs me that my maximum heart rate was 178, that our workout took 58:11 and that I burned 773 calories. She wishes me a great day. I am unable to reply since I am almost completely incapacitated.

Rest easy though, by week four I am able to respond with a grunt and a wave. Truth be told I am feeling pretty good that I completed this. Just not at that 58:11 moment of the day.

R. Adam Shore writes about Physical Fitness along with Health and Fitness from a consumer point of view. His insights will guide your way through Fitness issues facing all of us. For additional information and articles about Interval Training be sure to visit Physical Fitness Articles at

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