FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Many people try to get rid of unwanted pounds in a hurry. Consequently, everywhere you turn magazine articles, books and exercise DVDs promise fantastic weight loss in a short amount of time. How true are these statements? Can a person really take off a substantial, noticeable amount of weight in record time?

To achieve rapid results, we have to recognize that no weight loss exercise is complete without it having some sort of cardiovascular component attached to it. Exercising the heart muscle helps speed metabolism. Combining cardiovascular exercise with an intense burst of a strength move creates muscle conditioning and metabolism-revving harmony. If you are trying to lose weight in a hurry, your style of exercise is interval training. Unlike circuit training, interval training
applies intense conditioning for a specific amount of time and is followed with a sufficient recovery time so that you can do it again and again and again.

This style of training pushes the heart and targeted muscle area so intensely that it creates change.

Your current fitness level will determine how aggressive you will need to be with your interval training. Beginners will not have to work as diligently to see results as intermediate or advanced exercisers.

To make this workout a success, you want to focus on the bigger muscles in your body. When we use bigger muscles, we use up intramuscular energy. Bigger muscles store more of this energy than smaller ones, so if you use larger muscles, you get greater weight loss results.

Also, the longer you can work the interval, the more weight loss you can expect. Intervals that are more intense and longer yield more energy output. Your body will work harder to replace the energy lost -- that equals weight loss.

Basic interval tips:
-- Aim for 60 to 75 second intervals
-- Recover actively. Do not just stop and rest; instead do a lighter version of the move for 60 seconds while heart rate comes down.

The exercises

1: Plyo jumping jacks --These jumping jacks are explosive because of how high the feet come off the floor. They are doable because they are performed in slower motion, forming somewhat of a squat with each repetition. Just think of doing slow jumping jacks with wide leg landings. Recovery: step out, out -- in,in.

2: Mountain climbers -- Go to pushup position with the hands on the floor holding a weight in each hand. While in pushup position begin to alternate knee tucks to the opposite elbows at a fast pace. Keep your shoulders down and your midsection steady. To make this move less challenging you can have your hands on a bench and you do not have to hold the weights. You can also go slower, but you have to do the move on your toes. There is not a knee option.
Recovery: walk the mountain and bring hips up and relax arms more.

3: Squat shoulder press -- This exercise is used with a heavy barbell or heavy dumbbells. As you
squat down the arms are down. As you come out of your squat, do a shoulder press move. This move is tempo paced to slightly fast. You need to be able to control the weight you have selected, especially because you will be doing a squat down, press up move. Recovery: do a smaller squat and press up without any weights.

4: Lateral hops -- Hop or jump from side to side about 4 feet or more. You will land in a stick motion like a gymnast dismounting (not bouncy). Use light hand weights and push the body off in a ski like motion each time. Recovery: release the weights and don't jump so far apart.

5: Raised reverse lunge pulse -- Place one foot on a 6-to 8-inch workout bench or step bench and the other foot on the floor. Hold medium to heavy weights in the hands. Begin to squat pulse down and up while alternating hammer curls for your biceps. Recovery: do smaller pulse, release weights.

6: Jumping jack pushups -- On the floor in pushup position on your toes; jack your legs apart
and together at a rapid pace. You are holding onto heavy weights, which are on the floor. Try to keep your body low and do not let your buttocks stick too far up. Recovery: move in slow motion without the weight holding.

7: Plank pop ups -- On the floor in pushup position; with one move pop up out of push up and
onto your feet. You will stand about three-fourths of the way up. Then go back into push up position and repeat the move. Recovery: walk out into plank and walk back up out of plank.

8: Tap the waist -- This move is for the entire abdominal area. Begin on your back arms extended overhead. Place the hands on the waist; then sit all the way up (hands are still on the waist); simultaneously reach the arms forward and draw the right knee in and tap your ankle. Next, tap your waist and go back down with the arms extending over head. Recovery: do the move slowly

The eight exercises above can be used to create a total body interval training workout. Remember to train hard. You must give it all you have if you want to make a change in your body. Also, aim to perform your interval for no less than 60 seconds, and if you can, for 75 seconds. Push yourself, but don't overdo it. The more you train this way, the more efficient you
will become, and you will be able to last longer in your intervals.

The second component to successful interval training in nutrition. Check out next month's column for nutritional tips that enhance your interval training.

Got questions? Email me at Pamela.Greene1@us.army.mil.

Page last updated Thu March 1st, 2012 at 00:00