By Stephenie Karony

Wednesday, March 31, 1999

How to make better
use of workout time

QUESTION: What are the advantages of interval training?

ANSWER: Interval training enables an exerciser to make more efficient use of workout time.This better use of time helps ensure long-term adherence to an exercise program.Interval work also makes it possible to continue reaping benefits from a workout program and burn more calories.

Interval training involves repeating combinations of slow, moderate and fast-paced exercise.The term usually applies to aerobic type activities.

A typical interval workout might look like this:After a vigorous warm-up, an individual would run hard for a period of time -- the runner decides for how long.This is followed by a period of running at a less strenuous pace. The runner slows down enough in the third phase so recovery can occur.Then the entire cycle is repeated.An example: if your run lasts 45 minutes, you could run a five-minute interval at a fast pace, another at a moderate pace, and a third five-minute interval at a slow pace, then repeat the sequence two more times.

Interval training is flexible --you don't need to follow the above prescription for either the duration or the order of fast, moderate and slow intervals.You can mix up your intervals any way you like, and can even omit the moderate-pace segment.The important thing is that both the hard and recovery phases occur.

Little by little, this method of training builds up speed and endurance, without the risk of injury.The variations in one's pace helps prevent boredom, and this factor alone encourages continued effort.

Interval training really involves the athlete. Persons doing bicycling intervals have to pay attention to their pacing,their breathing and how they're feeling.This, in turn, helps the cyclist feel more in charge.

It's important to take it slow when you're first starting out.You definitely want to leave your comfort zone, but you never want to push so hard that you cause pain.Pain will work against you anyway -- no one wants to keep exercising when they're hurting. Always do a good warm-up before you start intervals. This increases your heart rate and stroke volume.It raises the body's core temperature, and it gets the blood flowing to the working muscles -- all this in preparation for the work ahead.

Q: When food packaging has nutritional claims like "low calorie," "low cholesterol" or "high fiber," does it really mean anything or is this just commercial hype?

A: In fact, these claims do give you valuable information.The FDA now regulates and defines almost all nutritional claims.Here are the amounts per serving needed to qualify for such claims:

Bullet Calorie free -- Fewer than five calories per serving.

Bullet Low calorie -- 40 calories or less.

Bullet "Lite" or "Light" -- fewer calories or 50 percent less fat than normal for that particular food.

Bullet Light in sodium -- 50 percent less sodium than the norm.

Bullet Fat free -- Less than gram of fat per serving.

Bullet Lowfat -- 3 grams or less of fat.

Bullet Cholesterol free -- Less than 2 mg. of cholesterol and 2 or less grams of saturated fat.

Bullet Low cholesterol -- 20 mg. or less of cholesterol and 2 or less grams of saturated fat.

Bullet Sodium free -- Less than 5 mg. sodium.

Bullet Low sodium -- 140 mg. or less sodium

Bullet High fiber -- 5 grams or more fiber.

Stephenie Karony is a certified health
and fitness instructor, a personal trainer and the author of
"Body Shaping with Free Weights." Send questions to her at
P.O. Box 262, Wailuku Hi. Her column appears on Wednesdays.

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