Friday, November 23, 2018

7 Tips for Your Next High-Intensity Interval Training Workout

High-intensity interval training is taking the world by storm, claiming the spot of number one fitness trend in 2018 according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Each year’s list of trends is determined after consulting with over 4,000 exercise and medical professionals around the world, so you can rest assured that this trend is legit! If you’re joining the huge number of exercise enthusiasts who love HIIT, check out the following tips to improve your next workout.

1. Never forget to warm up and cool down.

You may love HIIT because it saves time, but don’t think that you can just skip out on a few minutes of warming up and cooling down. Warm up with stretches, some walking, a few bodyweight exercises, and other movements which will mimic the exercises you plan to use during your HIIT workout. This will steadily increase your heart rate and body temperature, priming your muscles to work and helping to prevent injury.

Cooling down is just as critical. Walking or stretching at the end of an intense workout will prevent you from feeling faint or even passing out.

2. Consider your pre- and post-workout meals.

No matter your current diet, you absolutely should not forego nutrition prior to and after any high-intensity interval training. Having a snack full of carbs, fiber, proteins, and fats a couple hours before your workout will provide your body with the fuel it needs to keep you going during the most difficult intervals.

Half an hour after you’ve finished exercising, your body will be working hard to repair muscle. Help it out with more carbs and proteins!

And, of course, always stay hydrated before, during, and after your workout.

3. Wear proper shoes.

Because HIIT workouts involve a wide variety of movements—up, down, backward, forward, and side to side—a regular running shoe probably won’t offer you the kind of support you’ll need. In fact, the extra padding included in running shoes may actually hinder your ability to perform the movements necessary in a HIIT-style exercise routine. Instead of running shoes, keep your eye out for a pair of shoes designed to withstand the quick changes in motion that are frequent in HIIT workouts.

4. Don’t overdo it.

Sometimes, you may find yourself in a workout groove. You’re pushing yourself hard, listening to your preferred gym playlist to hype you up, and feeling good—why stop when you’re in the zone? Because of HIIT’s high demand, a HIIT workout shouldn’t last more than 30 minutes. If you think you’re able to last longer, you’re probably not pushing yourself hard enough.

5. Be self-aware.

If you’re just starting out with HIIT or if you’re new to regular exercise, don’t attempt more than one HIIT workout per week. HIIT is, just as the name suggests, extremely intense. Attempting multiple HIIT workouts in a short period won’t allow your body time to recover and puts you at a higher risk of injury. Instead, enjoy a different kind of workout on the other days of the week that you exercise. As your endurance increases, feel free to add one or two more HIIT workouts to your weekly routine and modify each workout itself to an appropriate intensity for your fitness level.

6. Keep intensity high.

How do you know whether or not your high-intensity interval training is actually, well, intense enough? The simplest way to tell whether or not you’re pushing yourself to the max is to attempt talking during your higher-intensity intervals. If you can manage more than a few words, push harder! If you exercise with a heart monitor, your target heart rate should be between 80% and 90% of your max.

7. Use larger muscle groups.

The primary goal of HIIT is to use most of your body with little rest, pushing you into an anaerobic state. The best way to do this? You guessed it—full-body exercises.
Challenging larger muscles groups like your legs ensures that you’ll see demonstrable increases in your heart rate—exactly what you want from your HIIT workout. Plus, exercises which target these larger muscle groups tend to be more intense.

The best thing about HIIT is its flexibility, meaning that you can always improve your HIIT workouts to better cater to your current fitness needs. Utilizing these tips can be a process, but there’s no doubt that they’ll help you reach the next level!

Sprinterval is a training app for iPhone and Android that gets you into Sprint Interval training. Check it out!

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