HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) may seem a little chaotic at first. With all the information provided on HIIT, starting from scratch can be a daunting task. However, a little planning can make all the difference! Train smarter, not longer by following these 5 tips:
Tip #1 Start Slow & Build Up
High-intensity intervals are extremely effective at blasting calories, boosting metabolism and burning fat, but they can be tough on the cardiovascular and nervous systems. Age and fitness level can have an impact on how quickly we recover.
If you are new to intervals- start with 1 or 2 high-intensity sessions a week to avoid overtraining. This will allow the body to replenish its energy stores while adapting to the increased workload.
Tip #2 Mix It Into What You Love
HIIT can be accomplished through almost any exercise. If you love lifting, incorporate weights. If you love the treadmill, do HIIT with walking and sprinting. Doing what you know and love will decrease your chances of mental fatigue. Doing what you love will also prevent workout boredom. NOTHING is worse than dreading a workout!
Tip #3 Pick a Plan
When it comes to intervals, most of us can use some help trying to figure out what program will work for us. There are a lot of fancy names (Tabata, Little Method, etc.) but I suggest simply picking intervals based on your fitness level.
For example, if you are doing weight training intervals I would suggest 30 seconds of high intensity work and 30 seconds of rest. If you are doing HIIT on the treadmill, I would suggest 1-minute of high intensity sprinting followed by 1-minute of walking.
The important thing here is to increase your heart rate via high intensity work then decrease your heart rate with a short rest period.
Tip #4 Keep on the Clock
Use a stopwatch, wristwatch, or a smartphone app to push through and get the most out of each session. When performing high-intensity work, it is tempting to go until we feel that familiar burn- and then stop to catch our breath. Most people are poor judges of time under fatigue, your mind will quit before your body does. That is why it is important to keep a clock with honest, hard intervals to prevent stopping too soon.
I use the smartphone app, Seconds -it is pretty straight forward and easy to use.
Tip #5 Make Small Changes for a Big Challenge
If you have a few months of HIIT under your belt, it is time to tweak your workout. In fact, everyone should tweak their workout every once in a while because it keeps your body guessing. A few small changes can make all the difference! Increase the incline on the treadmill or wear a weighted vest. Increasing your ratio of work-to-rest will also build more endurance, even by increasing your workload by just a few seconds.