T Nation

Women's Transformation Program, Cardio Progression

Hey Coach,

I’m confused on how to implement the Intervals in the intra-workout beginning in week 4.

Could you please explain when to do the intervals and if they replace the steady state?


If you have both steady-state and intervals listed, you do both The intervals are done right after the steady-state and they are done after the session.

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Hey Christian,

Quick question about the RPE of those intervals sessions:

Let’s say for example you start on week 4 with 45sec/15sec x 5 where 45 seconds is moderate pace and 15 sec is very intense, does that mean:

  • for running: 45 sec jogging/15 seconds all out sprints or 45 sec walking/15 sec fast running (high effort but just under sprinting).

  • for cycling: 45 sec easy biking/15 seconds all out sprints or 45 sec easy biking/15 sec fast cycling against resistance (up a hill for example).

Or would you recommend both interpretations based on cardiovascular fitness? For example someone who is very overweight or inexperienced will most likely injure himself on sprints.

I’m asking because it’s so easy to make mistakes with interval protocols and I’d like to do it right.


Running : You cant sprint all out for 15 secs and only rest for 45 secs. It will turn into 15sec fast running, as you say this is high effort but not sprinting. If you are reasonably well conditioned you can run this protocal at Maximal Aerobic speed (aka velocity at VO2 max).Check out how to identify this speed for yourself, essentially it is a time trial for approx 5 mins with the resulting speed in m/s applied during intervals.
If cardio fitness is limited just do the fast/jog method until you are a bit out of breath at the end of each jogging rep and try to sustain.

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Thank you sir for your feedback, cardio training and progressions really aren’t my forte. It took me a while to realize that sprints actually are really neurologically demanding so you can’t properly recover from them in 45 sec and go again. Guess that was a brain fart lol.

For the running part I automatically defaulted to jogging/fast running. For the cycling part i’m still wondering if sprinting is not possible. A popular protocol is the 8 seconds on/12 seconds off. I believe the intention of the protocol is to go all out for 8 seconds, rest 12 seconds and go at it again for 8-20 minutes. Because the duration is only 8 seconds of maximal effort, you don’t produce lactate so you can keep on pushing.

Efforts at (short duration) max intensity, whether on bike, running etc, will use the phosocreatine energy system. This runs out of supplies in around 6-10 secs. its why sprinters begin to slow down after about 70m. You need 2-3mins to recharge this system.
So a cycling protocol of 8secs/12 secs for 8-20 mins is not sprinting. It is fast cycling, as per fast running.
There is nothing wrong with going fast rather than sprinting. One should not get too hung up about terminology. The important things is not to get mislead into attempting a sprinting protocol when you are really doing intervals. Sprinting is training like Usain Bolt, not intervals like Seb Coe.
Sprinting as used by some on T-Nation is sometimes misleading.

By the way, long sprinting as per 200m or 400m is even more painful. Try racing 200/400 as a sprint and doing it again after 30 secs.

That sounds absolutely brutal. I’m just going to leave those distances to the crazy conditioned freaks (with respect) out there as my goals are more of a hypertrophic/body composition nature by means of strength training.

Thank you for putting things in perspective though and taking the time to share your experience with me. It is much appreciated!