If you love hitting the gym but find yourself busy more often than not, high-intensity interval training (otherwise known as HIIT) could be the perfect answer to your troubles. HIIT induces an excellent caloric burn and also provides a great workout to both the cardiovascular and nervous systems.
Because of the sheer amount of information available on HIIT, beginning on your own can be a tough road to travel. The following are six major tips that will help you start your HIIT journey off on the right foot.
Choose an Established Plan
Interval training can be tough to implement into a usable program on your own. That’s why it is recommended to start with an already established routine such as The Little Method or the Tabata Protocol. Both of these will increase the overall effectiveness of your workouts while also providing that much wanted metabolism surge.
Beyond the two mentioned above, there are many tried and tested routines out there that have been developed by trainers specifically with the beginner in mind. Using a pre-made interval training plan for the first couple months of training can make the entire process much easier to deal with, especially in regards to tracking progress.
Don’t Rush into HIIT
Although high-intensity intervals are extremely effective at burning fat and increasing your metabolism, they can take their toll on the nervous and cardiovascular systems. Everything from a person’s age, gender, or fitness level can affect how well they recover from their sessions.
For those who are just starting their HIIT plan, be sure to do so at a level that is not too rough on the body. Beginning with one or maybe two weekly high-intensity gym sessions is recommended in order to curb overtraining. Doing this allows for the body to adapt to the new workload, while also letting it recover and restore energy which is vital to any type of workout plan.
Blend HIIT with Other Routines
Recent research has shown that steady-state cardio takes twice as long as interval training to give the metabolism a boost. 15 minutes of intense intervals is not a comprehensive exercise plan though. Interval training should really be supplemented with other kinds of workouts that you already are familiar with. For example weight-lifting, endurance training, yoga, and traditional kinds of cardio could all be enriched by adding some interval work into the mix.
Stopwatch Your Workouts
A great way to ensure that you get the most out of your HIIT is to use a stopwatch to time yourself. Whether you are in the weight room, the swimming pool, or on a treadmill running remember that having an eye on your stopwatch can keep your workout honest. Let’s face it, humans can be relatively poor judges of time, especially when they are fatigued and giving 100% effort. With a clock to keep yourself honest, your interval training will be that much more effective for you.
If you have a couple months of quality HIIT, switching some variables up in your routine can make a world of difference. Some examples could be wearing a weighted vest while lifting or running, or increasing the incline on the treadmill. Another excellent way to add some changes to your routine (as well as build killer endurance) is to heighten the work-to-rest ratio for certain exercises or even the entire session.