How to optimize your fitness training program with Interval Training?

How To Optimize Your Training Program With Interval Training

The aim of all sports and fitness practices is to improve performance and health. Interval training allows both at the same time, is short and easy to set up, and can represent for many athletes a new challenge to achieve!

What is interval training? How to add it to your fitness training?

Interval training consists of one or more series of exercises alternating with recovery periods. By this alternation, it will be possible to increase the workload at high intensities, and therefore increase the gains of your workout.

This type of workout is applicable to different fitness training aspects, such as strength building, technical training, and also conditioning.

Interval training must be adapted according to each athlete, according to these possibilities, the goals to be achieved, and their sporting practice.

Be careful, however, if you are starting to train again after a long break or if you are starting to practice sports, it is recommended that you first go through a general strength building phase, of at least 8 weeks before starting interval training exercises in a high intensity; interval training is intense for your body, so you will reduce the risk of injury as much as possible, training on the solid bases gained in your general strength training.

In the same way, experienced athletes, do not overuse the fractionalized training. This type of fitness session is very effective, but be careful not to overtrain.

Conditioning using interval training

Interval training has many benefits for any athlete and is not just for champions looking for performance.
Conditioning is necessary to enhance speed or anaerobic endurance. Interval training is one major cardiorespiratory training paradigm. This type of training is fundamental for improving performance in any sport.

Fractional training is also interesting to break the monotony of training and find new motivation; training at high intensity is very demanding, requiring a lot of motivation and determination, whatever the level of sport practiced.

A new challenge to be accomplished at each training session!

This type of training also can improve cardio-respiratory capacity (aerobic or anaerobic) and power, delays fatigue and shortness of breath (recovery of part of the oxygen debt), and offers the possibility of sustaining a higher intensity over a longer period of time.

After 3 weekly sessions for 12 weeks. Studies have proven an improvement in body composition, less fat and more muscle, as well as aerobic power. The loss of fat mass, goes hand in hand with the reduction of cardiovascular risks, while the increase in muscle mass goes hand in hand with the improvement of insulin sensitivity and the metabolism of glucose in the muscles, also postponing the risk of diabetes.

How we will plan your personal fitness training including an interval training session?

Your workout will depend on your objectives and your sports practice and will be defined according to your needs, with your personal training coach.

As the exercise duration increases with the use of shorter rest periods, there is a shift toward more use of aerobic energy, which results in an increase of aerobic ability. Interval training programs using various interval durations and rest periods can be designed to address the anaerobic and aerobic metabolic needs of a wide variety of sports and activities.
The number of repetitions per training session varies with the training goals, interval duration, and fitness level of the trainee, but typically somewhere between 3 and 12 intervals are performed per session.

Your workout will depend on your objectives and your sports practice and will be defined according to your needs, with your fitness coach.

First, it is essential to warm up for 10 to 15 minutes (link to the article on warm-up) before starting a workout, in order to prepare your body for the effort, focusing this warm-up on the type of exercises to be done during the planned workout.

There are 4 parameters to take into account when preparing your workout.

  • The intensity of the effort
  • The number of repetition
  • The nature of the recovery (light or moderate)The total duration of the workout

The intensity and duration of the effort and the duration of the recovery are established according to your metabolism and your sports objectives, and can be precisely defined when programming your training sessions with your coach.

Additionally, interval training for some activities can include a sport-specific attribute, such as shadow-boxing for boxing, running for sprinters, or runners… This type of training enhances both the motor skill and the conditioning component needed for performance in a particular sport.

In the meantime, you can refer to the « BORG scale », (Rate of Perceived Exertion, see the illustration in this article) to vary your training intensities.

Your first interval training session: an example of an original session to start with during your next fitness training.

Here is an example of a session to be carried out at home, practical for winter, to improve your anaerobic capacities.

Material: Tabata application, allowing you to plan the intervals of your session precisely without worrying about the time during the session.

Once your warm-up is over, alternate these 3 exercises for 30 seconds at maximum intensity (8 – 9 on the BORG scale) followed by 1:30 minutes of passive recovery. Then repeat them from 3 to 12 times.

. Jumping Jacks
. High Knees
. Skipping

Before starting your session, set yourself a goal and try to stick to it!

Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions, and have a good training session!


  • « Physiologie et méhodologie de l’entrainement » – Editions De Boeck – Veronique Billat
  • « Designing Training Resistance program » – Human Kinetics editions – Steven J. Fleck, PhD & William J. Kraemer, PhD