Interval Training Workout to Burn More Calories

Blurred people running on treadmill
Blurred people running on treadmill. yellowdog/Getty Images

One of the best ways to make your cardio machine workouts more fun and effective is to change your settings throughout your workout. By doing this, you only have to focus on one interval at a time which keeps you in the present moment, allowing you to keep your attention on what you're doing instead of what lies ahead.

This interval workout involves both high intensity intervals and lower intensity recovery periods.

  This type of workout involves changing the settings on the cardio machine of your choice throughout the workout to keep things interesting, help you burn more calories and build endurance quickly.  You'll also increase your afterburn, the number of calories you burn after your workout.  

For this workout, you'll alternate increasing your incline or resistance for your work sets with sprints. By doing this, you're working building power with the increased incline/resistance and building endurance with the sprints.

You can do this workout using any cardio machine or you can even do this outside. If you don't have a hill nearby, you can use a staircase or you can just do all sprints. 


If you have any medical issues, injuries, etc. make sure you see your doctor before trying this workout.

How To

  • Begin with a thorough warm-up to get your body ready for the workout. If you need more than 5 minutes, take it.
  • Perform each interval, using this Perceived Exertion Chart to monitor intensity and work at the suggested Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE).
  • For a more advanced and longer workout, repeat the intervals twice
  • End your workout with a cool down and a stretch

You can also use your Target Heart Rate Zones to monitor your exercise intensity.

TimeThe WorkoutRPE
5 MinutesWarm up:  Start with a moderate pace to gradually warm up3-4
2 MinutesBaseline:  Increase incline/resistance and speed to slightly higher than comfortable pace.5
2 MinutesPyramid Up:  Increase the incline/resistance 2% every 15 seconds7
2 MinutesPyramid Down: Decrease incline/resistance 2% every 15 seconds7
1 MinuteSprint:  Move as fast as you can8
2 MinutesBaseline5
2 MinutesPyramid Up:  Increase the incline/resistance 2% every 15 seconds7
2 MinutesPyramid Down: Decrease incline/resistance 2% every 15 seconds7
1 MinuteHill Sprint:  Increase incline/resistance by 8-10%, keeping speed moderate until you reach Level 8 RPE8-9
2 MinutesBaseline: Decrease incline/resistance to baseline5
2 MinutesSprint:  Move as fast as you can8
2 MinutesBaseline:  Decrease speed to recover back to baseline5
5 minutesCool down3-4
 Total Workout Time: 30 minutes 


One thing to keep in mind is that, as the workout progresses, you may need to adjust your settings to stay at the suggested perceived exertions. For example, on the last 2-minute sprint, you may not be able to go as fast as you did for previous sprints because your body is fatigued.

The important thing is to choose the settings that allow you to work at that level of intensity.

Over time, you may challenge yourself and try staying at the same levels for each interval, but don't be a slave to your settings.

Similarly, if the suggested increases in incline or resistance aren't enough to get your heart rate up to a higher level of intensity, feel free to go higher or push harder during those intervals. You may notice that some days, the workout is easier and other days it might be more challenging.

Every day is different, so do your best and adjust the workout accordingly. Make sure you give yourself an easier workout or a rest day after doing an interval workout. Too much interval training can cause overtraining or even overuse injuries.

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