How to properly integrate interval training into your workout program

If you’re looking to get started with interval training, it’s going to be essential that you are incorporating it into your workout session properly.

If you’re looking to get started with interval training, it’s going to be essential that you are incorporating it into your workout session properly.

Many people, unfortunately, make some big mistakes as they go about their interval training sessions, which can lead them to become injured, overtrained or just not enjoying the process as they should.

Let’s walk you through some quick tips on how you can best add interval training to your program to receive optimal benefits.

Start with one session per week

First, as you just begin with interval training, you’ll want to start with just one session per week. This way you can see how your body reacts to it and add more sessions from there. You can really suffer from a case of ‘too much, too soon’ when it comes to interval training, so you really need to be careful here with this factor. Once you can easily complete that single session, then you can go ahead and add a second to the weekly workout schedule.

Keep intervals and

weights separate

Next, you also need to always do your interval training on a different day than weight lifting.

While if you were more advanced, you may be able to do upper body weight lifting and then finish up with intervals, generally speaking, it will be too much for most people. As both weight lifting and interval training are very stressful on the central nervous system, you need enough down time between them to recover properly.

Avoid stacking intervals

with leg training

Speaking of down time, that brings us to our next point: Avoid doing a leg training day and then intervals the next day or vice versa. Doing this could compromise leg strength and recovery, leading to less than optimal performance in your second workout.

Always try and separate them by one day of rest whenever possible.

Preferably this would be a completely off day of all training, but if you had to, an upper body workout between them could work as well.

Always warm-up

Make sure when adding intervals to your training protocol that you never neglect to do a proper warm-up either.

While with usual cardio training, you might have been able to just get right into it without too much warm-up since the intensity wasn’t all that terribly high, with interval training, it’s just not the case.

Skip over that warm-up and you can count on being injured in no time.

So there you have the main points to know and remember as you do your interval training workouts. Keep these in mind and you can make sure that you see optimal fitness progression and keep injury free.

Cabel McElderry is a local personal trainer and nutrition coach. For more information on fitness and nutrition, visit the Fitness F/X website at

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