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How to get the most out of HIIT training

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High intensity interval training, or HIIT, as it is commonly known, involves performing highly intensive exercises for short and periodic bursts of time.

You may have been told that an hour of steady cardio everyday can help you burn fat. But research now shows that high intensity interval training can rev up your metabolism, improve your endurance and burn major fat faster than any steady exercise regime. It is also not as time consuming as steady cardio as HIIT training only takes 10 to 25 minutes of your day. It is a short sweat session in which your muscles are worked to their full potential.

Whether you are performing burpees, jumping rope or hitting the track, you should take into consideration a few things before you can get started with your HIIT routine. These measures are important as they can empower you to extract the maximum benefit out of HIIT workouts.

The following are some helpful tips to help you make the most out of your HIIT training:

Have the perfect snack

Without supplying the right fuel to your body, it may not be possible for you to perform at your best. The right diet can make all the difference when it comes to building endurance with high intensity training. It should also be noted that keeping yourself hydrated is almost as important as following a healthy diet.

It is advised that you must consume a moderate to high carbohydrate meal at least three hours before getting started with a HIIT workout. The meal should also contain some amount of protein. Greek yogurt with almonds and berries or whole-wheat toast with peanut butter are good examples of the kind of snacks that will give you the required nutrition.

Get into the right shoes

When you are performing a HIIT workout, you need to work constantly at a high intensity and you also need to move quickly from one exercise to another. The right pair of shoes can give your feet and legs the necessary comfort to perform exercises with the minimum risk of injury. 

A minimal shoe which offers lateral support should work perfectly fine and most cross training shoes that can be found in sports shops will do the job as well. Heavier and larger sneakers may not offer sufficient support and can also make it difficult for you to make quick movements which are an integral part of HIIT training as they can slow you down considerably.

Refrain from overdoing it

The idea of getting done with a workout in under 25 minutes can be extremely appealing, but you must remember that these are 25 minutes packed with intense exercises which will work your body to the maximum. Therefore it becomes important not to overdo it. 

Modifications should be made to exercises so that they can be matched with your present fitness level when you are about to start HIIT. It is important to constantly monitor your heart rate and skip out on certain exercises such as jumping moves if you have reached your maximum heart rate as these exercises are known to further increase it. 

A good way to begin HIIT is to perform one session a week and increase as you become comfortable with the exercises. Spacing out HIIT sessions is advised as good rest during the week is important for recovery.

Warming up is crucial

HIIT is known to save training time but it doesn’t mean that you should save more time by skipping warm-up. Warm-up doesn’t take hours, only a few minutes, which is one of the reasons why you shouldn’t skip it. The other reason being that your muscles will perform much better during the exercise if they are already warmed up before the session and it can also make you feel less tired. 

The logic behind warm up is to get your muscles accustomed to physical activity before burdening them with heavier workouts. A thorough warm-up is recommended for HIIT as it uses several muscle groups at the same time. Leg kicks, arm circles and jumping jacks are some good warm up exercises that you can try before the main workout. 

Intervals no longer than 2 minutes

HIIT training provides maximum benefit when you keep switching between different exercises. You may be inclined to do an exercise for longer than the recommended two minutes, but doing so may not be of much use. Experts believe that a person must feel tired after doing an exercise for a minute in a two minute interval.

The fact that you can stretch your body while performing the same exercise beyond two minutes means that you are not working hard enough. One needs to work so hard that each two-minute interval makes you exert your maximum effort. These difficult bouts must be followed by moderate intensity exercise for a minute to ensure proper recovery. 

Breathe

It is important that you should be able to supply maximum oxygen flow to your body along with generating high amounts of energy as it will keep your body going during a HIIT session. To circulate as much air as possible, you need to make use of both your nose and mouth if you want to breathe properly for HIIT. 

You should make a ‘shush’ sound while exhaling air through the teeth and out of the mouth. This breathing technique is used extensively in martial arts to give you more energy in your diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles. Breathing in this manner allows you to perform faster and harder.

Sleeping well is a must

You need to take proper rest if you are going for rigorous efforts. Having sound sleep for at least seven to eight hours a night is of paramount importance and you should sleep for more hours if your workout sessions are very intense. Proper recovery through sleep is important as this is the time when the body repairs tissues and rebuilds muscles. 

A successful workout doesn’t end at performing good exercises. It is when the right exercise meets the right technique that a workout can really be called successful.

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