The Benefits of Intervals and Interval Timers

Congrats to April Sorrow (@AprilS_2010), the winner of the giveaway! Thanks to everyone who entered. Now that you’re thinking about intervals, let’s see how you can use them to achieve your goals!


For people wanting to lose weight and/or increase stamina while retaining muscle, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) really does live up to its promises. It’s a proven way to (1) increase your metabolic rate, (2) torch the same number of calories in much less time than conventional cardio, and (3) break through plateaus.

Studies show the claims are true – quick workouts in which you vary the intensity and pace are just as effective as hours on a cardio machine or endurance activity. And research shows that you don’t always need to make it an “all-out” effort as previously believed (see my article on HIIT).

A good example of timed intervals is Tabata, an eight-minute workout that involves 20 seconds of intense effort with 10-second rests. Tabata can include plyometrics, body weight exercises, resistance exercises, cardio machines, or any other exercise you can do fast and with good form. Tabata is just one example, however; intervals can consist of many different combos of paces and exercises.

When you consider the benefits, it’s not surprising that the interval timer was born. Using a stopwatch or cardio machine to time intervals can be frustrating and counterproductive. Trying to watch the clock while resetting it after every interval can reduce the actual work you’re doing.

I bought a Gymboss interval timer recently for that very reason. I wanted to get my weight-loss clients doing Tabata and timed intervals so that we could strength train and burn mega calories. The Gymboss timer lets me do this seamlessly, without delays between intervals, and has saved me from staring at my watch instead of watching my clients. The timer automatically cycles through intervals you preset so that you can get a more intense, effective workout. I will definitely be using the Gymboss myself for weight lifting, Tabata, and kettle bell circuits.

My prediction is that once you start doing intervals using a structured, easy tool, you’ll become addicted to this effective exercise method. That’s why I want to give away a brand-new Gymboss, thanks to Jake at Gymboss.

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Like Workout Nirvana on Facebook.
  2. Like Gymboss on Facebook.
  3. Comment on Gymboss’ Facebook page – you must tag Workout Nirvana in the post – and tell them what inspires you to stay in shape or get in better shape.
  4. Leave a comment back here letting me know you did it :).

The winner will be chosen by random drawing this week. Good luck!!

29 thoughts on “The Benefits of Intervals and Interval Timers

  1. Thanks for mentioning the Gymboss. I’ve liked, liked, and commented, and I really wouldn’t mind having one of those bad boys to take the guesswork out of intervals. When I’m just using my watch, it’s all too easy to decide to take just another 30 seconds or another minute of steady-state . . . having the timer would help me stick to the protocol.



  2. Suzanne – that sounds like a really cool product! Just this morning, my personal trainer brought up the importance of intervals work for cardio to compliment the work we are doing in terms of strength training. Would love to learn more about Gymboss and have liked their FB page (as well as yours) and left a comment. Interesting post! .


  3. I did all of the above, though I can’t say it actually tagged you in my FB post. Must be something I need a computer for, not a phone.


  4. Did all of the above 🙂

    Lisa Sts
    ‎Workout Nirvana Sent me. I’ve always loved working out. Knowing that I can inspire someone to work out is what keeps me going!! I’ll always be an athlete at heart 🙂


  5. This is the first time I have heard about Gymboss and I am not that familiar with it actually.. Thanks anyway for the big help here..


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