High intensity interval training (HIIT) is an effective cardio workout that involves short bursts of intense exercise combined with timed rest. HIIT workouts are usually aerobic in nature, but can also include some resistance or strength training. Whether you're new to HIIT or have been at it for years, here are a few things you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to this style of exercise.
With any exercise, warming up your body is essential. It helps to prevent injury and allows your heart rate to gradually speed up as you ease into your workout – especially when it comes to a high intensity routine. Start with some active stretching or hop on the treadmill for a light walk with a slight incline.
Don’t: Go All Out Too Soon
If you’ve never tried HIIT workouts before, it’s best to slowly increase the intensity over time when getting started. In the first week, try incorporating just a few minutes of a simple HIIT workout every couple of days. On Monday, try this beginner’s guide to HIIT. On Wednesday, ramp things up a bit. And on Saturday, push yourself if things are feeling good. Take breaks when you need to and give yourself enough time to build up endurance as you go. As your fitness increases, you can continue to increase the intensity and duration of your HIIT workouts over time.
Do: Time Yourself
If you’re doing a virtual training or simply just watching a follow-along workout on YouTube, then the intervals are already built into the video. If you’re doing your own workout, keeping a timer around during your HIIT session is a must. Just using the stopwatch on your smartphone is an effective way to time yourself and track your progress. An ideal timing method is 1 minute of high intensity movement and 30 seconds of rest, or 2 minutes of movement and 1 minute of rest.
Don’t: Push Through Pain
No pain, no gain does not apply here. A HIIT workout is meant to push your endurance. It’s not meant to have you doubled over in pain struggling for air. So if you’re jamming through a HIIT workout and feel light-headed or feel any sense of pain, you need to immediately stop in order to avoid or minimize injury.
Remember to breathe, to stay hydrated, and focus on your goals – you’ve got this! Looking for more fitness-focused tips and tricks? Head over to read our other posts on the Cadia Crossing blog page.