• Peak For Life Team

Interval Training classes…cardio and why you are missing out.

Spin classes are just one of our cardio options at Peak for Life

For many gym goers the mention of ‘Cardio’ can send shivers through their spine! Cardio is often associated with sweat and hard work, neither of which are that inspiring. Many of us feel afraid we will be unable to keep up with the level of the group or stereotype the exercise as ‘running’.

Why do Cardio?

What we can be sure, is that many of us would welcome an increase in self-confidence. We would be happier to feel in more control over our environment. Cardio work helps bump up the production of your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Lowering the symptoms of mild depression and anxiety, it can also help improve your sleep that is often disrupted by stress and depression.

What is Cardio?

Cardio can refer to a circuit-based class where running can be absent altogether if that is your preference. Our Peak For Life trainers are skilled enough to produce varied exercise programs. The nature of the exercises is often more repetitive and the heart rate likely to rise, in turn placing a higher demand on the cardiovascular system. Examples from our own Peak for Life group fitness schedule would be our ‘Interval Training-IT classes’, a small group fitness class that could involve any combination of indoor cycling (Spin), boxing, rowing, body weight exercises and/or running. We also offer separate 'Spin' classes; a great way to exercise at your own pace within our community.

How much exercise should I do?

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that most adults engage in moderate-intensity cardiorespiratory exercise training for 30 min per day, 5 days per week. Alternatively, a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity exercise for 20mins will have similar effects over 3 days per week. (Ewing et al, 2011).

Can I not do cardio training on my own?

When the weather outside is less than inviting, a prolonged exposure to the elements is enough to put us off. Of course, with the right level of determination you could push through it but you just might be missing out on the increased benefits of working in your own fitness community.

Haskel et al (2007) research advises that we can accumulate moderate-intensity physical activity in bouts of ≥10 min to attain the daily goal of 30mins per day. This is where interval training can boost your cardio program.

Interval training is hard to do on your own, there are many environmental distractions. Being involved in Peak for Life group fitness class can enhance the benefits. Interval training is a pattern of exercise that varies intensity within the bout of exercise. Commonly used with athletes it has shown to have a greater rate of improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness than one single sustained exercise duration (Ciolac et al, 2010; Croft et al, 2009; Gormley et al, 2008; Helgerud et al, 2007). More specifically, Nybo et al (2010) found interval running more effective that sustained running of around 150mins per week. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people in our small group fitness classes will really help you enhance the benefits of cardio exercise.

Benefit from Longer term Weight Loss

Research evidence points out that moderate-intensity exercise between 150 and 250 mins per week will be effective at preventing weight gain but more (above 250mins per week) is needed to see significant weight loss. (Donelly et al 2009). Similarly, the ACSM recommends a minimum of 150min per week of moderate-intensity to improve health but 200-300 mins for long-term weight loss. Adding a cardio circuit into your weekly routine could certainly make that difference.

Reduce the risk of disease

Regardless of your health motives we should all be aiming to reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease. Think of your heart as a muscle, regularly challenging such a muscle strengthens it. Stofan et al (1998) showed that all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality rates in healthy middle-aged adults were approximately 60% lower in persons with moderate compared with low cardiorespiratory fitness.

Resistance training does not enhance weight loss but may increase fat-free mass and increase loss of fat mass and is associated with reductions in health risk. Existing evidence indicates that endurance physical activity or resistance training without weight loss positively affects risks to our health. (Donelly et al 2009)

Peak Points!

  • Don’t be afraid of cardio samll group fitness, it might just be want you need.

  • Vary your classes, try to include at least one cardio class per week to your fitness program

  • Benefit from longer term weight loss and reduce your risk of disease

  • Reduce your stress and improve your sleep, try our cardio classes!


American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2010. p. 366.

Haskell WL, Lee IM, Pate RR, et al. Physical activity and public health: updated recommendation for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007;39(8):1423-34.

Garber CE, Blissmer B, Deschenes MR, et al. Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2011;43(7):1334-1359. doi:10.1249/mss.0b013e318213fefb.

Donnelly JE, Blair SN, Jakicic JM, Manore MM, Rankin JW, Smith BK. Appropriate Physical Activity Intervention Strategies for Weight Loss and Prevention of Weight Regain for Adults. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2009;41(2):459-471. doi:10.1249/mss.0b013e3181949333.

Stofan JR, DiPietro L, Davis D, Kohl HW 3rd, Blair SN. Physical activity patterns associated with cardiorespiratory fitness and reduced mortality: the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study. Am J Pub Health. 1998;88(12):1807-13.

Ciolac EG, Bocchi EA, Bortolotto LA, Carvalho VO, Greve JM, Guimaraes GV. Effects of high-intensity aerobic interval training vs. moderate exercise on hemodynamic, metabolic and neuro-humoral abnormalities of young normotensive women at high familial risk for hypertension. Hypertens Res. 2010;33(8):836-43.

Croft L, Bartlett JD, MacLaren DP, et al. High-intensity interval training attenuates the exercise-induced increase in plasma IL-6 in response to acute exercise. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2009;34(6):1098-107.

Gormley SE, Swain DP, High R, et al. Effect of intensity of aerobic training on V˙O2max. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008;40(7):1336-43.

Helgerud J, Hoydal K, Wang E, et al. Aerobic high-intensity intervals improve V˙O2max more than moderate training. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007;39(4):665-71.

Nybo L, Sundstrup E, Jakobsen MD, et al. High-intensity training versus traditional exercise interventions for promoting health. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010;42(10):1951-8.

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