In recent years, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts have become all the rage, and for good reason. HIIT provides a number of benefits, including increased fat loss and post-workout calorie burn, greater results in a shorter period of time, and an ability to burn fat without sacrificing muscle mass. It’s no wonder everyone’s jumping on the HIIT bandwagon!
It’s true that lots of people are utilizing HIIT workouts. But, not everyone is utilizing them in a way that actually allows them to see results.
Five HIIT Tips To Help You See Results and Stay Safe
If you’ve been doing HIIT for a while and aren’t seeing improvements — or if you want to start doing HIIT but want to make sure you’re doing it properly, keep reading for five tips that will help you see great results and stay safe.
#1. Warm Up and Cool Down Properly
As with any workout, in order to see the best results from your HIIT sessions, you need to make sure you’re warming up and cooling down properly.
A good, dynamic warm-up will increase your core body temperature and loosen up your joints so that you can move them through a full range of motion without any discomfort.
Remember that your warm-up should consist of dynamic movements (such as bodyweight lunges and squats) rather than static stretches (holding one stretch for an extended period of time).
Static stretching before a workout can increase your risk of injury — save it for after your workout when you need to relax and bring your heart rate down.
#2. Make Sure You’re Pushing Yourself Hard Enough
In order for HIIT workouts to be effective, you need to make sure you’re really pushing yourself during each workout interval. Research shows that people see the greatest results when they’re pushing themselves to at least 90 percent of the VO2max.
The reason HIIT intervals are so short (30 seconds is, generally speaking, the longest they should last) is because you’re pushing yourself so hard.
If you get to the end of 30 seconds and feel like you could keep going, you’re not working hard enough and won’t see the greatest benefits from your workout.
#3. But, Make Sure You’re Also Taking Breaks
While you should be pushing yourself hard during your workout intervals, you should also be letting yourself rest during the rest periods.
Rest is an essential component of a HIIT workout — if you’re not resting, you’re just doing intense cardio, which will not yield the same results since you won’t be burning as many calories.
The rest periods aren’t just for calorie burn, though. You also need to take those breaks to make sure your body is prepped and ready to perform at maximum effort during the next interval.
#4. Don’t Do HIIT Too Often
Because they’re so intense, HIIT workouts are definitely not something that you should be doing every day. Generally speaking, you should only be doing HIIT 2-3 times per week, at most. If you’re a beginner, just one session (if that) is plenty.
Doing more than that will hinder your ability to work out at maximum capacity and will increase your risk of injury since you won’t be giving your body sufficient time to recover.
Remember, too, that HIIT is not for everyone. Everybody is different, and, if you don’t feel ready to make it a part of your routine, it’s okay.
#5. Wear the Right Shoes
Finally, if you want to stick with HIIT long-term, make sure you’re only doing it when you’re when you’re wearing proper shoes. Otherwise, you’ll likely find yourself in an office with your doctor, who will be diagnosing an ankle sprain and requiring you to avoid workouts altogether for a few weeks while you let your injury heal.
For HIIT workouts, it’s best to wear supportive, cushioned running shoes that will keep your ankles, knees, and hips safe as you push yourself.
HIIT is a great form of exercise for people who want to take things up a notch or see results quickly. In order to see those results and avoid injuries that could sideline you completely, make sure you keep these HIIT tips in mind during your next workout.