High Intensity Interval Training has been making huge waves in the fitness community and you’ve probably heard of it or at least know what it’s all about. It involves short bursts of crazy high intensity cardio followed by periods of rest. The reason why it’s making waves is for a few reasons:
- It jacks up your metabolism so that you’re burning MORE calories for a longer period of time
- It takes a lot less time to do than traditional cardio (anywhere from 15 – 30 minutes)
- Increases bodily power, speed and endurance (do more stuff faster and stronger)
HIIT is pretty much the miracle you’ve been looking for! An effective workout that takes less time to do and gives you MORE results! HIIT, in my humble opinion, will change the face of fitness and already is!
But here’s the caveat: Although it’s an amazingly effective workout that will help you lose weight/get results in a shorter period of time it is VERY hard on your body and could cause injury if you’re not careful!
I’ve been doing HIIT in my workouts for about a year and a half now on a fairly consistent basis (about 3x per week) so although I don’t hold a fitness degree, I can speak from experience that if you want to do HIIT effectively and, most importantly, safely, you may want to take the following list seriously!
5 Tips For Doing HIIT Workouts Safely
- Have a decent base fitness before doing HIIT. If you haven’t worked out since gym class in high school, if your idea of exercising is running for the bus or if you’ve been off working out regularly for a year or so, please don’t start with HIIT right away. You want to make sure that you have about 6 months or more of regular fitness (at least 30 minutes of activity, 3 or more days per week) before you start adding HIIT into it. You just want your body to have adapted to some activity before you slam it with some HIIT!
- Go at your CURRENT ability. You may see people on infomercials or in your workout DVDs givin’ ‘er during HIIT but don’t try to compete with them and don’t think that you “should” do what they do. Thinking this way will only get you hurt and frustrated. If you can’t jump up off the floor, don’t do it! You can still get a killer low-impact HIIT workout, it’s just all about the intensity you put into each movement. If you can’t do push-ups on your toes right now, do them on your knees and work up. Don’t be a hero. When it comes to HIIT, the only person you’re competing with is yourself so focus on that and not the chick with the 6-pack ripping out a bajillion power jumps!
- Warm up and cool down properly. Seeing as you’re doing a shorter workout than usual you should have no problems with getting in a good warm up and cool down. HIIT can be hard on the body so you want to warm up for a good 5 minutes or more with some cardio (light jogging, jumping jacks, etc.) before you start so you can warm up the body and get it ready for the workout. Giving yourself a good cool down again with about 5 minutes of light cardio and stretching will help your heart rate come back to normal and stretch out those muscles!
- Ease into your HIITs! So you say you’ve been active regularly for 6 months or more. Good for you! But that doesn’t mean you’ve got the ability to jump into a 30 minute HIIT workout! HIIT is a horse of another colour in the fitness world – treat your body with the respect it deserves and ease into them. Start with 10 – 15 minutes and do only about 20 – 30 seconds followed by about 60 – 120 seconds of rest (and don’t forget your warm-up and cool down!). Ease your way into longer intervals (anywhere from 45 – 60 seconds) for longer periods of time. You must allow your body to adapt to the intensity you’re asking of it and if it’s not ready, it’ll let you know through injury or exhaustion.
- Don’t do HIIT on back-to-back days. As much as you’re going to feel like a million bucks after you finish up your HIIT workouts and will want to do them every day, don’t. Your body needs to recover from the intensity and that recovery time needs about 48hrs, if you don’t, your body will exhaust itself quickly which could lead to injury or fatigue. Follow up your HIIT workouts with some regular cardio or strength training (I prefer to tack on strength workouts to my HIIT days as they’re so short).
So there ya go! A few tips to make sure you rock out your HIIT workouts like it’s no one’s bidness! HIIT workouts kill me but they’ve worked wonders for my speed, power, agility, weight loss and endurance. If you’re serious about getting results, HIIT workouts are the magic pill you’ve been looking for!