Skip to main content

Burst and Interval Training for the Holidays

Share This article

With the Holidays upon us and our free time cut short with decorating, family activities, commitments, and of course shopping, it makes it difficult to find the time to exercise.  Don’t be worried, because Burst or Interval training can solve that problem, as well as others.

Burst and interval training are short, intense workouts that activate the anaerobic, fast twitch muscle fibers of your body.  This helps trigger a greater release of growth hormones (GH) and testosterone, two important hormones needed to burn fat and increase lean muscle.

A major benefit of burst or interval training is that your workout time can easily be cut in half.  Instead of a 30-60 minute aerobic or strength training session – you can reap some of the same benefits in basically half the time.  The time element is enough to give burst training a try, especially during the Holidays.

What makes burst and interval training so appealing are the results.  Shorter workouts, increased fat burning, and added lean muscle…who could ask for more!  What makes it all possible is the increased surge of GH and testosterone.

 Applying Burst Training to Resistance Training 

Burst training is more commonly associated with strength training and can be applied many different ways.  The key is to pick 2-4 ‘compound’ exercises, and cycle through those exercises over the next 5-15 minutes.  Compound exercises are movements that utilize several different muscle groups such as push-ups, pull-ups, squats, jumps, clean and presses, etc.

You could perform a set of push-ups, pull-ups and squats…one right after the other with very little rest in-between and then rest for 2-5 minutes.  Do it again a second and third time…that’s all!  It may take you 10-15 minutes to cycle through three complete sets.
It’s important to stress the muscles enough during each exercise.  You could do anywhere between 5-25 repetitions depending on the exercise and your level of fitness. If you’re not exhausted, in need of rest after a complete series…you didn’t make it stressful enough on your body.
Another way to burst through a workout is to perform the same three exercises for the next 5-10 minutes straight and only rest about 10-30 seconds between each set.  Do the same number of repetitions each time.  You might do sets of 7 or 12 push-ups and pull-ups depending on your level of fitness.  Whatever number you choose, it’s a different way of stressing the body. 

Interval Training and Cardio

Interval training is used more with aerobic exercises.  Like burst training the key is to activate the fast twitch, anaerobic muscle fibers.  Instead of a 30-45 minute walk, jog, bike or elliptical workout.  Warm up for the first 5 minutes as you would normally.  Than accelerate your speed to 80-90% of your maximum speed for 30-60 seconds.  After that short, quick surge rest and recover for 2-5 minutes.  That’s considered one ‘interval’ now do that again no more than 8-12 times. 

Your current level of health and fitness will determine how fast and how long you can go, as well as, how long you need to recover. Those who are in better physical condition may be able to push themselves for 60 seconds and only need to rest for two minutes.  Others will benefit by performing a short 30 second surge with a 4-5 minute recovery time. 

FYI…Burst and Interval training is not for the beginner or novice. You don’t need to be an elite athlete either, but check with your doctor before you begin any workout program. Your heart rate will definitely elevate, so don’t let your ego get in the way.  It’s fun and feels good to accelerate and push your body.

Please understand, Aerobic training (low to moderate intensity) is important for cardiovascular and overall health, and is definitely a must.  However, it doesn’t trigger as much GH and Testosterone, because it predominately activates the slow twitch, aerobic muscle fibers.  

Greater Stress means Greater Rest

Exercise is a form of stress.  It’s physical stress, so don’t forget that with additional stress being thrown on the body – you will need additional rest.  That may be hard to find during the Holidays, but you need it otherwise you could be setting yourself up for over-training, adrenal fatigue and of course possible injury.

That being said, give burst training and interval training a try.  You may be surprised how much you like it.  Best of all you can perform burst or interval training any time of the year, not just during the Holidays.

Share This article

About The Author


Dr. Len Lopez is a nutrition and fitness coach who takes a more natural, holistic approach Eating Right and Training Smart. He is an author and inventor who occasionally takes the time to run a race or two with his wife and kids in the greater Dallas area.