Sunday, September 22, 2019

Cheat Sheet: HIIT & When To Eat

 Are you planning to start doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and you're curious about how to handle the nutrition and eating aspect? Or maybe you already have a HIIT routine and you think your diet might be hindering your results?

Either way, you're probably wondering how you can boost your nutrition to maximize the benefits you get from your training. Knowing when to eat and what nutrition to focus on can make a huge difference.

Here are the tips to maximize your health benefits during HIIT.

Know Your Goals

A HIIT routine can help you keep your heart rate high and burn fat more quickly than longer steady-state workouts. A HIIT routine can boost your metabolism for up to 48 hours after you stop working out.

The reason this style of exercise is so popular is that many people are very pressed for time. HIIT can allow you to get great results in a very short amount of time.

Like many workouts, though, you have to eat right in order get results. The goals of HIIT involve cardio workouts and fat-burning, so you’ll need to eat in a way that supports those aims. Your pre- and post-workout food will be middle to high in carbohydrates and will also include some protein.

Here’s how to set up a successful HIIT eating plan.

Pre-Workout Nutrition

Unless you love being sick, you should not eat directly before a HIIT workout. Your body won’t have time to absorb the food and nutrition before you exercise, and you won’t get the benefit you’re looking for.

Whether you do your HIIT routine in the morning or later in the day, you’ll need to plan your pre-workout eating plan. The best idea is to eat a carb and protein meal or snack an hour or so before your workout.

Ideas for this pre-workout nutrition include:
  • Peanut butter and crackers or toast
  • Cottage cheese and fruit
  • Yogurt with granola
  • Nuts and raisins

If you feel light-headed or lethargic during your HIIT workout, your body is telling you that you don’t have enough carbs and energy for it to draw on. Continue to work on your eating schedule until you feel strong and are able to work out intensely the whole time.

Post-Workout Meals

After you do a HIIT routine, your body needs to replenish. Your body used a lot of glycogen to keep you going during that intense workout, and now it’s time to recover.

You need to recover in both your muscles and your energy, so once again you should mix carbs with protein. Many people like to eat a small protein snack within 20 minutes of finishing the workout, and then eat a full meal with complex carbohydrates a few hours later.

You can enjoy a protein shake, eggs, meat, or other high-protein food shortly after the HIIT routine. Don’t let the day’s busyness cause you to forget to eat your full meal, though!

Some complex carbs and protein you can use include:
  • Chicken and rice
  • Multigrain bread with lean meat and fresh fruit
  • Cereal with soy milk and fruit
  • Whole-wheat crackers with fruit and cheese

Having a full meal a few hours after your workout will help you keep your metabolism high and keep your energy up as you move through your day. If you skip your post-workout food, you’ll experience fatigue, soreness, and low blood sugar.

Support HIIT With Overall Nutrition

You probably realize that you need to support your workout routine with overall good health. Taking care of your body in ways that reduce fat, maintain energy, build muscle, and more is a 24/7 endeavor.

The best way to eat is with a well-rounded diet that takes advantage of all the recommended food groups. You can focus on lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

It’s important not to eliminate any food groups or follow eating fads if you want to practice HIIT in a healthy way. Your body needs all kinds of nutrient, including carbs and protein, in order to function in a high-intensity workout.

If you don’t have enough fuel in your body, you will unfortunately end up burning muscle instead. That will undo all the hard work you’re putting in to reach your goals. Be sure that all of your meals and snacks help support your goals and provide your body with enough energy to support your health.

Stay Hydrated!

Another mistake a lot of people make when they are pursuing a HIIT routine is that they don’t drink enough water. During your workout, be sure you take drink between your sets. You don’t want to drink so much you feel ill, but you need water to keep going.

If you don’t drink enough water, you’ll feel fatigue, muscle cramping, and you can also be contributing to muscle breakdown. Considering you’re trying to get stronger, that’s very counterproductive.

Remember that your muscles are 75% water, and water also helps cushion vital organs in your body. You can’t afford to wait until you’re thirsty. Drink water before, during, and after your workout.

Make Nutrition Part of Your HIIT Commitment

The whole purpose of HIIT or any other workout program is to make your body healthier. You simply can’t do that if you don’t have the right eating schedule and nutrition to go with it.

If you think that not eating will boost your HIIT burn, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. What you’ll experience instead is fatigue, muscle loss, and a foggy mind. Low blood sugar can cause dizziness and disorientation.

When you eat properly surrounding your HIIT workout, you'll avoid unnecessary injuries as well. Unfortunately, those who don't rebuild their muscles properly with nutrition find that they have more pulls and strains.

Your body works really hard for you. Be sure that you take good care of it. Eat regularly, and be sure your meals include plenty of protein, complex carbohydrates, and fruits and vegetables. Drink a lot of water, both during your workout and throughout the day.

Your HIIT workouts can make a big difference in your life if you combine them with great eating habits.

If you're getting started with HIIT, be sure to check out Sprinterval.


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