Are you bored with your workouts? Spice up your workout routine with High Intesity Interval training!
High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT for short, has become very popular in the training world. One of the reasons it has become so popular is the convenience. HIIT workouts are very time efficient when compared with regular steady state cardio. A HIIT session will rarely last more than fifteen minute, and the popular Tabata variant of HIIT only takes four minutes. These quick workouts easily fit into busy schedules.
HIIT is not only a cardio workout either. The intensity of the activities allows some elements of strength conditioning to be incorporated into the intervals. This allows people to work on their cardio as well as increase strength and muscle tone at the same time.
There are also great fat burning effects of HIIT. The metabolic benefits of HIIT workouts have been shown to last for up to 24hour and to be equivalent to the benefits of standard cardio workouts of longer durations.
But as always, there is a downside. HIIT is hard. It can often be a shock to people how hard a short workout at high intensity can be. But the hard work pays off, so we’ve put together some tips on getting started with HIIT to help get the most out of training with HIIT sessions.
Ease into HIIT
Unlike strength or cardio workouts and programmes, HIIT does not have a beginner's level. It is recommended to have a baseline level of cardio fitness to be able to cope with the demands of the intensity of HIIT. A person currently doing cardio workouts three times a week should be fine, but people who haven’t completed very much cardio training may need to boost their fitness first. Aim to be able to work at around 7 A baseline level of cardio fitness is necessary to be able to cope with the demands of this intense exercise. This should not be an issue for three-times-a-week cardio trainers, but people who are out of condition should concentrate on boosting their cardiovascular fitness through conventional channels first. Aim to be able to exercise at a moderate pace for thirty minutes without a break.
Even with a baseline level of fitness, it is still best to slowly introduce intervals into your standard cardio workout. For a normal jog, start adding a thirty second sprint into the session every five to ten minutes, increasing the intensity of the sprint and shortening then length of time jogging or ‘resting’ between intervals until following a standard HIIT program.
An alternative for people who already have a good level of fitness is to start off at an intense level for a very short period of time and gradually increase the duration of the HIIT workout as they adjust to the intensity. It is still important to remain aware that pushing too hard too soon may have negative consequences such as injury or delayed recovery.
Don't forget to warm up!
Warm ups should take place before any exercise, and particularly if you’re going to be working at a high intensity. A good warm up will get blood flowing to your muscles to reduce the likelihood of injuries. Practice repetitions of the movements to be done in the intervals to practice technique and get your body ready for the workout.
HIIT can incorporate many different exercises and works a lot of muscle groups while improving overall fitness. This is great, but like most things, too much can be a bad thing.
These types of workouts place a lot of stress on the body so proper recovery is important to lower the risk of injury and avoid HIIT places a lot of stress on the body, and a proper recovery is vital to lower the risk of injury and avoid endangering hard earned muscle gains. Using different types of workouts in your exercise routine can help get around this problem.
While strength exercise can be a big part of HIIT, it is no substitute for strength training. This goes for both men and women. Strength training not only increases lean mass but also helps to increase fat loss. The key to a sculpted physique is a solid strength program, and even better muscle burns more energy than fat. This means people with greater muscle mass burn more energy at rest, so lifting weights is a great way to boost your metabolism.
Lastly, and most importantly, doing the same exercise day in, day out is a sure-fire way to get sick of it. A sustainable exercise program that you will want to continue to do should contain different types of workouts to keep you interested.
To get the most out of your training it is necessary to do a bit of planning. So we’ve established you need to do a variety of different types of training. But what type you do and when you do it will also impact your results.
Standard cardio sessions are workouts you can get through without much effort when you’re feeling a bit sore or need a rest. HIIT is very different in this regard. The muscles are working much harder a HIIT session. Therefore it is quite common to be sore the day after an HIIT workout day.
Taking supplements like BCAAs or protein after your HIIT session can help support your recovery. However smart planning can help you recover more effectively. A good rule is don’t train legs the day after sprint intervals. You will get much more benefit from training legs once they have recovered from the sprint intervals fully (1-2days).
Written by Gemma