High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a popular form of exercise that alternates short periods of intense exercise with short recovery periods (1 minute or less). HIIT can be performed solo at the gym or at home. Because these interval workouts burn more calories per minute than steady-state exercises like walking, jogging or cycling, they can improve your cardio fitness and burn fat quickly.
HIIT is a very effective way to workout, so it can benefit all kinds of people across a range of fitness and experience levels. But take caution, you need to ease into a HIIT workout and not jump in over your head out of the gate.
Crawl, Walk, Run
Like with any workout, you need to take the crawl, walk, run approach with a HIIT workout. This type of workout is intense in nature due to the fact you are only resting 1 minute...or less in between each exercise. Be cognizant of your heart rate while conducting a HIIT workout. PACE YOURSELF! That is the key. As with any workout, be sure you are hydrating. Beginners can benefit from learning the ropes at in-person classes or by taking an online program from a reputable trainer, which helps you become more familiar with the format, exercises and intensity. Check your local area for classes at well-regarded gyms, or search online for on-demand programs with plenty of positive reviews.
High-intensity interval training can be stressful on the body, especially if you’re not used to it. You must be absolutely sure that you take the proper amount of time to recover from each session. In the beginning I recommend no more than 3 sessions a week, every other day. This will give your body 1 full day to recover. HIIT requires, in my opinion, more warm up and stretching prior to the workout. It is imperative that you warm up and stretch before conducting any type of HIIT.
There are a bunch of benefits from doing HIIT, but one of the more interesting ones is that HIIT helps you burn calories even after you are done exercising. Several studies have shown HIIT’s impressive ability to increase your metabolic rate for hours after exercise. Some researchers have even found that HIIT increases your metabolism after exercise more so than jogging and weight training. In another study, HIIT was also found to shift the body’s metabolism toward using fat for energy rather than carbs.
If you have never done HIIT, I highly encourage you to try it once. Mixing up your workouts and changing up your exercise routine is a proven technique for optimizing your fitness
Yours in Fitness and Health!
Joseph Teti | Founder of T1 Performance Nutrition