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Calories Burned From High Intensity Interval Training

author image Allan Robinson
Allan Robinson has written numerous articles for various health and fitness sites. Robinson also has 15 years of experience as a software engineer and has extensive accreditation in software engineering. He holds a bachelor's degree with majors in biology and mathematics.
Calories Burned From High Intensity Interval Training
A couple is jogging outdoors. Photo Credit: Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Interval training is a type of physical training in which you alternate short bursts of intense activity with longer intervals of much lower intensity. Athletes traditionally use interval training to improve performance for sprints, and fitness enthusiasts use it to burn calories. You can calculate your calorie expenditure during interval training with standard gender-specific formulas.


Calorie expenditure formulas may use your heart rate to determine your calorie expenditure rate. This approach is most accurate when your heart rate is greater than 90 and less than 150 beats per minute. This requirement makes it important to keep your heart rate above 90 bpm during the recovery phase of your interval training.


The calculation of your calorie expenditure from your heart rate requires you to have a heart monitor. Most heart monitors today include a heart rate recorder as a standard feature. This allows you to obtain your average heart rate and the duration of your interval training. You may also need additional equipment to perform your interval training. In the case of sprint intervals, you would need a running track.


Put your heart monitor on and perform some type of light exercise to get your heart rate above 90 bpm. Turn your heart rate recorder on and begin your interval training. For sprint intervals, you might run one lap around the track at full speed followed by another lap at a recovery pace. Complete your interval training and turn your heart rate recorder off.


The calorie expenditure formulas require your average heart rate during interval training in bpm and the duration of the session in minutes. They also require your age in years and your weight in pounds.


The following equation from the Journal of Sports Sciences calculates the calorie expenditure for women: Calories = [(0.074 x Age) + (0.4472 x Heart Rate) – (0.05741 x Weight) – 20.4022] x Time / 4.184.

Men use the following equation: Calories = [(0.2017 x Age) + (0.6309 x Heart Rate) – (0.09036 x Weight) – 55.0969] x Time / 4.184.

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