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3 Things to Know Before Doing HIIT

If you’ve been reading up on how to advance your workout sessions, you’ve likely heard of high intensity interval training, or HIIT, before. This advanced form of cardio training has you alternate between brief periods of very intense exercise and active rest periods. This process is repeated five to ten times, making up a 15-20 minute workout session, not including the warm-up and cool-down. When done properly, it offers superior conditioning and fat-burning benefits due to the high calorie burn both during and after the workout.

Sounds great, right? Before you dive right into it, there are a few things that you must know.

1. YOU’LL BE AT A HIGHER RISK OF OVERTRAINING

HIIT done right is a great form of exercise that will make a perfect addition to your workout program. HIIT done wrong could lead to injuries, burn out, and loss of motivation to continue.

Realize that your body can only handle so much intense exercise per week. If you attempt to do HIIT and full-body weight lifting sessions 5 or 6 days a week, it’s only a matter of time before your system crashes. Remember that even though you may be working different muscles on successive workouts, your central nervous system will still be working hard, generating the strength and power needed to get these sessions done. It needs rest time, too. Even the most fit of individuals should cap it off at four very intense workouts total a week if you’re advanced, or three if you’re at the intermediate level.

2. YOU’LL WANT TO SELECT THE PROPER FORM OF EXERCISE

The second important point to know is that you must select the right form of exercise.

What’s correct? The key thing to look for is an exercise where you can accelerate quickly. If it takes you 10 seconds to get to top speed and you’re doing 30 second intervals, you’ve just wasted a third of the total time you should be working. Choose an activity that allows you to get to top speed almost instantaneously. Burpees, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, spinning, and running are all great choices.


READ MORE > THE ONE THING YOU CAN DO TO OPTIMIZE YOUR HIIT WORKOUT


3. SCHEDULE WISELY WITH YOUR LOWER BODY STRENGTH TRAINING

Most forms of HIIT are going to really stress the lower body muscles, so be mindful of when you do them in relation to lower body strength training. If you’re doing sets of heavy squats, lunges, and dead lifts one day, you’ll wake up the next day seriously dreading attempting a HIIT. Your lower body needs time to recover from the weight days. Skip a day, then do your HIIT workout the following day.

If you keep these points in mind, you should be able to successfully make the transition to high intensity interval training and reap all the benefits it has to offer. Do you have your own HIIT words of wisdom? Tell us about them in the comments below.


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The One Thing You Can Do to Optimize Your HIIT Workout

With just a few short bursts of high intensity with periods of rest, you can see more results in less time than most workouts. Yes, high-intensity interval training can seem like a workout gift from the gods. Even better, HIIT workouts apply to cycling, swimming, weight training, bodyweight exercises and even walking.

Promising major results in little time, it’s true that HIIT may seem too good to be true. But if you’re not seeing results, you’re not the only one. The biggest caveat of HIIT is that the intensity really has to be high.

“For HIIT to be effective, you have to exercise at a challenging intensity. You need to be working hard-to-very hard during the hard bouts in order to put the correct and effective challenge on your cardiovascular system,” explains Dr. Len Kravitz, an exercise scientist at the University of New Mexico. “Often, people get the work-to-rest ratio right and it seems like what they’re doing is a HIIT workout, but what they’re doing isn’t intense enough during the high-intensity part,” explains Jason Loesch, a personal trainer and co-owner of the Minneapolis-based Hell Bent Fitness.

YOU MUST NAIL THE INTENSITY

The efficacy of HIIT training hinges on achieving an EPOC state which stands for “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.” According to the ACSM, the high-intensity intervals should clock in at “80–95% of a person’s estimated maximal heart rate, the maximum number of times your heart will beat in a minute without overexerting yourself.”

Loesch explains that “you can think of it as oxygen debt. [After a proper HIIT workout] your body is basically running on an oxygen debt, trying to catch up with the lack of oxygen created by the training. It’s because of this debt that you continue to burn calories for somewhere between 24–48 hours after a HIIT workout.”

FIGURING OUT THE INTENSITY

Kravitz explains that your maximum heart rate can be ‘estimated’ by using the formula: 220 – age = maximum beats per minute. For example, a 40 year old would have an estimated maximum heart rate of 180 beats per minute, calculated by subtracting 40 from 220. Therefore, the 80–95% recommendation for this person would be between 144–171 beats per minute.

For those who have a heart monitor or another way to measure your heart rate as you work out, you’re all set. If you don’t, Loesch’s approach is a less complicated one: “You should have a hard time completing an entire sentence when you’ve finished your interval. When I’m working with people, I like to talk to them afterwards, and if they’re able to finish a full sentence, I know they’re not pushing themselves hard enough.”

On the flip side, it’s possible to overdo it. “I see a lot of people going too long on intervals. One minute is way too long. You could probably push it up to 40 seconds, but I’d keep it in the 20–30 second range and even shorter for a sprint. It’s about intensity not endurance,” Loesch adds.

The post The One Thing You Can Do to Optimize Your HIIT Workout appeared first on Under Armour.

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HIIT for Beginners Week 3: Kickboxing Intervals

WELCOME TO HIIT FOR BEGINNERS!

Today’s session features a kickboxing-inspired interval training session that can easily be done in a small space at home. In the workout video below, we’ll perform a few rounds of intervals that alternate between periods of higher intensity with active rest, and we’ll review proper punching form and technique as we go — no previous kickboxing experience is required. I’ll show you both high- and low-impact options so you can make the moves work for you. Listen to your body throughout the sessions, and modify or skip any moves that are too much for your current fitness level. (I’ll also provide options throughout the routines to help you make it work for you.)

HIIT FOR BEGINNERS WEEK 3: KICKBOXING INTERVALS

This workout can be logged as “Calisthenics” in your MyFitnessPal app.

Tell us when you’ve completed this week’s workout. Share it in the comments below, or tag us in your check-ins @MyFitnessPal so we can cheer you on!

Here is your Week 3 Workout Schedule:

Day 1: HIIT for Beginners: Kickboxing Intervals

Day 2: Total-Body Strength Training (try this 30-minute session)

Day 3: Active Rest Day

Day 4:  Moderate-Intensity Cardio (walking, cycling or try this steady-state session)

Day 5: HIIT for Beginners: Body-Weight Strength Circuit

Day 6: Stretching or Flexibility Work (try this 8-minute total-body stretch)

Day 7: Active Rest Day

Looking for a full at-home program that includes everything from high-intensity interval training to total-body strength training, brain fitness, prehab exercises and more? Check out “Walk STRONG: 6 Week Total Transformation System!” This balanced program has everything you need to succeed, including online support and accountability. Save 20% when you use the exclusive MyFitnessPal promo code “3Z74EZAT” at checkout on Amazon.com.

The post HIIT for Beginners Week 3: Kickboxing Intervals appeared first on Under Armour.

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HIIT for Beginners Week 2: Bodyweight Strength Circuit

WELCOME TO HIIT FOR BEGINNERS!

Today’s session features a body weight-only interval training strength circuit that can easily be done in a small space at home. In the workout video below, we’ll focus on multimuscle moves designed to bring your heart rate up while also building strength and endurance. Listen to your body throughout the sessions, and modify or skip any moves that are too much for your current fitness level. (I’ll also provide options throughout the routines to help you make it work for you.)

HIIT FOR BEGINNERS WEEK 2: BODY-WEIGHT STRENGTH CIRCUIT

This workout can be logged as “Calisthenics” in your MyFitnessPal app.

Tell us when you’ve completed this week’s workout. Share it in the comments below, or tag us in your checkins @MyFitnessPal so we can cheer you on!

HERE IS YOUR WEEK 2 WORKOUT SCHEDULE:

Day 1: HIIT for Beginners: Body-Weight Strength Circuit

Day 2: Moderate-Intensity Cardio (walking, cycling or try this steady-state session)

Day 3: Active Rest Day

Day 4:  Total-Body Strength Training (try this 30-minute session)

Day 5: Stretching or Flexibility Work (try this 8-minute total-body stretch)

Day 6: HIIT for Beginners: Walking Intervals

Day 7: Active Rest Day

Looking for a full at-home program that includes everything from high-intensity interval training to total-body strength training, brain fitness, prehab exercises and more? Check out “Walk STRONG: 6 Week Total Transformation System!” This balanced program has everything you need to succeed, including online support and accountability. Save 20% when you use the exclusive MyFitnessPal promo code “3Z74EZAT” at checkout on Amazon.com.

The post HIIT for Beginners Week 2: Bodyweight Strength Circuit appeared first on Under Armour.

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