HIIT Training can give some amazing results if performed correctly. However, there are a few essentials that you need to consider before starting HIIT. For instance, features like the duration of this routine, the equipment you require and the extent to which you need to go in terms of intensity of the workout are important.
What Equipment To Use In HIIT?
Beginner HIIT training can be fairly effective with just your body weight, but as you move along, you may want to introduce some equipment into your routines.
HIIT training can be done using an assortment of methods. You can work with anything from a Stairmaster to a bike or treadmill and even incorporate sprinting, bicycle sprints or elliptical workouts.
But whichever machine or activity you choose, you need to do it hard, fast and only stop when you feel that you can’t possibly push any further.
A popular choice for HIIT in this regard is a treadmill. It is best to use a curved treadmill since this provides a full body workout. Another common choice for high intensity workouts is the stationary bike to accelerate heart rate and keep it pounding there.
An arm bike is also a good machine to use during high intensity workouts. Working out on this machine requires maximum effort and wrestlers have been using it for building their strength for a long time.
However, if you do not have the budget for all these machines or a gym membership, you can simply get a jump rope. A jump rope will get your heart rate up and keep it there for the duration of the workout.
If you want to follow a somewhat no-equipment HIIT plan, then stick with moves like jumping jacks, sprinting or sprinting in place, and high knees to get your heart going.
How Intense Should The Workouts Be?
High intensity workouts are cardio workouts that are aimed at getting the maximum effort in a short period of time. The key is to keep the intensity levels at the maximum.
But for the workout to be effective, you need to determine your own intensity level. For a beginner, the intensity of a HIIT routine will be different from someone who has been doing it for a while. The sets are short in duration, ranging from 20 to 90 seconds but they require full body force. If you feel that you can continue a routine for more than 30 minutes, then chances are that you are not working at maximum intensity.
HIIT is more popular as compared to other methods because it burns calories more rapidly. It has been seen through research that the more intense a workout is, more fat is burnt. Normally, fitness experts judge the intensity level suitable for a person using the RPE scale or the rate of perceived exertion scale.
This scale basically has a 1-10 spectrum, with 10 being the point where you give the workout everything you have got. Every person needs to determine where they stand on this spectrum and try to move to 10 by gradually upping the intensity of their workouts.
How Restful Should The Rest Periods Be?
While most people do find this strange, rest periods are imperative in a HIIT workout session. Without rest periods, you cannot get the full benefits of the workout. Once you are done with one set of exercise, your body needs to recover before it can perform the next set.
The mechanism for HIIT is that the body first goes into an anaerobic state during the high intensity workout. During the rest phase, the body is forced to recover to aerobic conditions. This shift between the two conditions consumes a lot of energy and results in fat burning.
The HIIT rest period does not have to be full rest. You can also have an active recovery period, such as a plank or walking in place. The ratio that most fitness experts follow is a one to two ratio. For every one minute of high intensity workout, you have to take a recovery period of 2 minutes.
To see if your workout is going well, you need to see if you can talk and exercise at the same time. If you have the energy left to talk while working out, then there is something that you are not doing quite right.
As you progress and your body becomes used to high intensity workouts, you can make some changes in the sets and rounds of sets. You can either add another set to your workout plan or you can decrease the recovery period between the sets.
To get maximum benefits, make the recovery periods active. For example, for the two minutes recovery time that you get, spend one in a plank and the other in full rest state.
How Long Should The Workouts Be?
The duration for a HIIT workout will vary from one person to the next. It also depends on the kind of workout you are doing.
For example, a Tabata session lasts for only 4 minutes. This routine was developed by a Japanese scientist and is very popular among the HIIT group. Normally, a high intensity training session can last for up to 30 minutes.
However, you do not have to work out constantly for 30 minutes. Break up your workout session into working time and recovery time or split the workout into two to three workouts. Make every workout for 6 to 7 minutes and incorporate recovery time in between to make the total duration up to half an hour.
If you do not have recovery time in between, you will most probably get bored of doing the same thing again and again. Plus, overdoing high intensity workouts can be problematic since it may result in injury. As such, you have to plan out your workout properly.
How Frequently Should You Do HIIT Workouts?
Just like training any of your muscles, you don’t want to train chest every single day. So, you should not perform HIIT workouts daily because it is practically impossible to get maximum results by not allowing your body to recover. If you perform high intensity workouts every single day, it can poses the risk of injury.
This can also happen because you are not giving your muscles and the entire body enough time to repair before diving into another wear and tear session. If you are doing too much of it, your mind will also not be on the same track. You are bound to feel fatigue and that will affect the performance in subsequent workout sessions.
It is advisable to perform HIIT two to three times a week. The key is to give your body a one day recovery time between the sessions. For example, if you are doing intense leg workouts, you will not have sufficient energy to work out the very next day. So, keep the next day for rest or do some light yoga instead.
How To Prevent Muscle Burn During HIIT?
The aim of a HIIT session is to burn fat and not muscle. Therefore, to prevent muscle burn, there are a few things that need to be considered. Firstly, it is absolutely essential to take rest days. These days will give your body and your brain to recharge and prepare for the next workout session.
Another important factor to consider is nutrition. To benefit from any workout, it is important that you’re constantly fueled with proper nutrition. You need to take in ample amounts of proteins as they aid in the repair process of the body. Protein supplements are also a great way of preventing muscle burn. They contain amino acids that are then used by the body as building blocks for repairing damaged muscle fibers or to make new ones.
Fitness pros also recommend getting sufficient sleep. Your body heals itself while you sleep. Proper sleep will keep you active for the next workout and it also gives the body some time to repair itself before the next session.
So to reap the maximum benefits of a HIIT workout session, it is imperative to know the basic dynamics of the routine. The duration, intensity and rest periods are all important factors that need to be kept in mind when performing high intensity workouts. Neglecting even one of these factors may pour all your hard work down the drain.