By now you’ve probably heard all about HIIT (high intensity interval training). Maybe you’ve even started to incorporate it into your workout routine. After all, HIIT training provides a ton of health benefits! It improves cardiovascular fitness, improves VO2 max (the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use during intense exercise), boosts athletic performance, and burns a ton of calories in a short amount of time. However, to reap the full benefits of HIIT and to prevent injury, it’s vital to do it correctly! Before diving into your next session, keep these tips in mind! You’ll be a HIIT master in no time!
1. Choose the Correct Dosage
When it comes to HIIT, you can have too much of a good thing. High intensity interval training puts your body under a high amount of stress – and our bodies can only take so much of it. During HIIT and other stressful scenarios, our bodies release cortisol. Short term releases of cortisol can be a good thing! It helps our bodies repair and grow stronger. However, long term releases of cortisol can have the opposite result. It can lead to joint pain, fatigue, and other maladies. To prevent this from happening, limit your HIIT training to 30 to 40 minutes per week, or about 2-3 sessions.
2. Monitor Your Heart Rate
HIIT training alternates between short periods of high intensity work and longer periods of rest. During the high intensity work intervals, you want your reach 70 – 90% of your maximum heart rate. While resting, you want to allow your heart rate to fall back down to 60 – 65% of your maximum heart rate. Not sure how to find your max heart rate? Check out this formula!
Target Heart Rate = ((max heart rate – resting heart rate) x %intensity) + resting heart rate
*Your resting heart rate is your heart rate immediately upon waking*
3. Plan Strategically
Trust me, you don’t want to schedule a HIIT session right before or right after a heavy leg session. Your performance will suffer! Resting at least 24-36 hours in between workouts will give your body time to replenish its glycogen stores and ensure proper recovery.
4. Listen to Your Body
“Listen to your body” is one of my life mottos. If your body feels too tired or fatigued for your HIIT session, give it a rest! Pushing yourself through it could result in injury.
Written by GUADS staff member Angelina with contributions from lesmills.com, precor.com, topendsports.com, and bodybuilding.com