Are you ready to give interval workouts a try but are unsure of how to keep track of your intervals without interfering with your workout? I’m happy to tell you that using an interval timer is easier than you think.

An interval timer allows you to set two (or more) periods of time of differing lengths.  One period is for work (high intensity) and one period is for rest or active recovery (low intensity).  By alternating these two time periods, you’ve set up the intervals of your workout.

Yes, it’s really that simple!

If you don’t have an interval timer on your sports watch (my beloved Timex Ironman, cheap as it is, has this feature), grab an app for your smartphone. All of the interval timer apps are more or less the same, and many of them are free.  They allow you to set a high intensity period and a low intensity period, repeated for as many times as your workout requires.

Remember that you may want to have some transition time in between your intervals.  If you’re moving through various pieces of equipment or changing body positions (standing, prone, sitting), including an interval of transition time will make your workout run more smoothly.

Apps differ in how complex they get. Some allow you to set as many different intervals as you want, some add in warm up and cool down intervals, and others offer only the basic structure described above.  Some apps allow you to program what exercises you want into each interval, and with a text to speech function the app alerts you as to what exercise to switch to at the next interval. Other apps allow synching of music to each interval.  Dig around in the app store and see what features align with your needs.

One of the reasons so many people enjoy interval workouts is that using an interval timer takes much of the thinking out of the structure of the workout. It’s as simple as waiting for the timer to beep (or whistle or chime) and then moving on to the next activity.  For people who struggle with fitting in fitness, a good interval timer means a great workout can be had even while watching your favorite TV show.

How simple is that?!

There is an affiliate link in this post. I recommend only products I’ve used myself, either for personal use or with my Balance Personal Fitness Training clients.