Maximize Weight Loss With Paleo Workouts and Interval Training

Unlike most other exercise programs, the Paleo diet does not advocate long workout routines and extended cardio workouts. Instead, the Paleo diet suggests high intensity interval training (or HIIT) that mimics the types of activities that someone might have gotten while hunting on foot during the Paleolithic era.

Why Do Paleo Workouts Use Interval Training?

Interval training is a type of physical training that involves sporadic spurts of energy. Imagine short, powerful bursts of activity that are limited, intense and cross-functional followed by rest periods of low activity. The idea is to push your body to near-maximum exertion and then let it momentarily rest and recover before pushing it to the max again.

The key to effective interval training is the rate of recovery. The faster your recovery rate, the better conditioned you are and the better your physical results will be. Rather than increasing the length of your workout, the idea is to safely increase the intensity of your workouts and decrease the time intervals needed for recovery.

What are the Benefits of Paleo Diet Workouts With Interval Training?

When it comes to interval training, saving time is just the beginning. With high intensity interval training, it’s easy to think that because you’re working out less you’re burning less calories, but in fact, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, high-intensity workouts burn more calories than longer, low-intensity ones. It’s a matter of working smarter instead of harder to maximize results. And, according to the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, people who use interval training for cardio and muscle toning eat less (up to 500 calories less per day) and have lower cortisol levels (the fat hormone that’s caused by stress) than those who don’t.

And weight loss isn’t the only benefit. According to Cardiology Today, a study on the effects of exercise found that interval training was especially effective for combating metabolic syndrome disorders that lead to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In fact, the study found that aerobic interval training resulted in higher improvements in insulin sensitivity, aerobic capacity and HDL (the good cholesterol) levels than standard, moderate-intensity workouts.

Basically, it’s really, really good for you.

Sample Paleo Workouts

So, now that you know why you should follow a Paleo workout plan that includes interval training, it’s time to learn how.

There are a lot of ways you can add high-intensity interval training to your workout to make it Paleo. Whether your preferred cardio method is walking, running, swimming or biking, the general idea is the same: alternate between sessions of high activity and low activity. Depending on your fitness level, that may mean a brisk 30-second jog followed by a one-minute walk, or a full-on three-minute sprint followed by a one-minute jog. The specifics of your workout will depend on your fitness level and willingness to push your limits, and if you ever want to increase the intensity of your Paleo workout, you can always incorporate weight training.

The sample workout routines below show some options for how you can cycle your activities. They can be applied to just about any cardio activity you like but remember that each should include a 3-5 minute warm up and 2-5 minute cool down to minimize the risk of injury.

Standard Interval Variation. The idea here is to repeat identical periods of low intensity and high intensity. A typical standard interval variation workout might look like this:

  1. 1 minute high intensity (fast walk, fast run, high-speed spin, etc.)
  2. 1 minute low intensity (slow walk, light jog, relaxed spin, etc.)
  3. Repeat steps 2 and 3 another six to eight times (alternating between one minute of high intensity and then one minute of low intensity activity)

Pyramid Interval Variation. The idea here is to lengthen the burst of activity from 30 seconds to 90 seconds then back down to 30 seconds. A typical pyramid interval variation might look like this:

  1. 30 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
  2. 45 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
  3. 60 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
  4. 90 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
  5. 60 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
  6. 45 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity
  7. 30 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity

Further Reading About the Paleo Diet

  • Weight Loss: How to Succeed on the Paleo Diet
  • Lose Weight and Enjoy Healthy Foods with the Paleo Diet


WebMD. Interval Training: How to Do It (November 18, 2010).

Military.com. “Five Benefits to Interval Training” (November 18, 2010)

Cardiology Today. “Interval Training May be the Best Type of Exercise to Affect Metabolic Syndrome” (November 18, 2010).

Men’s Health. “Plan Your Cardio Workout.” November 18, 2010).

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