Week 3 of the Younger In 8 Weeks workout program adds interval cardio into the mix. This week you’ll begin building your endurance by upping your total cardio sessions to total three to five times per week, incorporating intervals into two or three of those sessions. Intervals will help get your blood circulating, raising your heart rate and burning even more calories. Here’s exactly how to add intervals to your cardio workout safely and effectively.
Continue your work by waking up with the Sunrise Stretch. Throughout the entire Younger In 8 Weeks program, this is going to be your constant. Rise to meet every morning by getting a good, deep, energy-boosting stretch. Make the Sunrise Stretch an automatic part of your morning routine.
Each time you work out, no matter how far along you are in the eight weeks, begin with the Dynamic Warmup. It will prepare your cold muscles for the workout ahead, preventing injuries and making sure you get the most out of the work you put into taking take of your body. The Dynamic Warmup increases flexibility and range of motion. It only takes a few minutes to run through the four-move routine from Week 2, but taking the time to warm your muscles is going to set you up for success.
Interval cardio provides your body with a roller coaster of intensity to get your heart rate up and provide ample recovery time. The best part about incorporating interval cardio into your fitness routine is that it can be applied to any type of cardio that you’d like. Biking, running, walking, swimming, using the elliptical or any other kind of cardio that works for you can be arranged into an interval workout.
In an interval cardio routine, after a warm up, you’ll increase the intensity of your workout for a period of time to get your blood pumping, then back off for a few moments, then ramp it up, then back it off. Then you’ll cool down for a few minutes before ending your workout. It’s not something to be entered into lightly, however. Interval cardio can be intense and may initially feel overwhelming. If you’re new to interval cardio, start with the beginner routine and work your way up to an advanced level slowly.
In the beginner routine, start with a five-minute warmup of your chosen cardio. (This, of course, comes after the Dynamic Warmup highlighted in Week 2.) This cardio warmup should feel like a two or a three on a scale of one to 10 for the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). After that, you’ll work for 10 minutes at a moderate intensity, about four to five RPE. For nine minutes, you’ll alternate your intervals: one minute hard at six to seven RPE and two minutes easier at four to five RPE. This will alternate through three times. Cool down for six minutes.
The intermediate level of interval cardio starts the same way as the beginner, with a five minute warmup at two to three RPE. Work at your chosen cardio at a moderate level, aiming for four to five RPE, for eight minutes. Switch between one minute intervals of pushing hard at six to seven RPE and two minutes of active recovery at four to five RPE for a total of twelve minutes. That’s four times through. Then cool down for five minutes.
Once you’ve made it to the advanced level of interval cardio presented in the Younger In 8 Weeks program, you’ll find yourself with less time to rest between bouts of intense activity. Begin your workout with the same five-minute cardio warmup you did as an intermediate and a beginner. Keep moving with eight minutes of moderate activity, clocking in at around four or five RPE. Here’s where things get different. For the 12 minutes you’re engaging in interval training, you’ll be alternating between 90 seconds of high-intensity cardio at six to seven RPE and 90 seconds of an easier four to five RPE activity. You’ll work through this four times. Cool down for five minutes and give yourself a pat on the back.
For flexibility stretches to complete after your workout and a foam roller routine to ease sore muscles, see the Younger In 8 Weeks program.