High intensity interval training (HIIT) is so effective that it doesn’t need to be done every single day. In fact, you can incorporate a session of HIIT in your normal workouts without having to deviate too much from your training plan.
Best High Intensity Interval Training Workouts
Here’s how to add some HIIT into your normal workouts.
Short bursts of speed during the cardio sessions
Let’s assume that you love your steady state cardio and spend 45 minutes on a stationary bike or treadmill. Steady state cardio does burn calories during the workout. However, did you know that once you get off the bike, the calorie burning will taper off and stop?
HIIT, however, will raise your heart rate into the maximum heart rate zone. When this happens, your body will enter a state known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Your body will be in calorie burning mode for hours after the workout session ends.
That means, you’ll burn more calories overall and lose weight faster. To incorporate HIIT into a normal steady state cardio session, you only need to ‘go hard’ during the last 10 or 15 minutes.
Following the earlier example, it will mean that during the last 10 minutes of your stationary bike or treadmill session, you will go all out and give it your best effort. Therefore, you will cycle as fast as you can for 1 minute and rest for 1 minute. Do this 5 times and your last 10 minutes will be exhausting.
You’ll be perspiring like crazy. Your heat rate will be up and you will be in fat burning mode. This is how you add HIIT to a normal cardio session. It could be a swimming or jump rope session. Whatever it is, the last 10 or 15 minutes MUST be executed with maximum effort. There must be no gas left in your tank.
Short HIIT bursts during weight training
The same applies to weight training/resistance training. Instead of slow, controlled repetitions, spend the last 10 or 20 minutes doing reps as fast as you can with good form. It’s important to note that you must NEVER sacrifice form for speed. Jerky, haphazard reps might leave you injured and they’re just not effective for building strength.
With good form, you may wish to do your push-ups or deadlifts or lunges with minimal rest between sets. If you do lunges at full-speed for 45 seconds, you’ll rest for 15 seconds and move on to the next exercise and so on. Try and keep it a full-body workout.
Twice a week will do
If you’re doing steady state cardio 4 times a week, just remove 2 sessions and replace them with HIIT workouts. For example, steady state on Monday, HIIT on Tuesday, rest on Wednesday and Thursday. HIIT on Friday and steady state on Saturday. Of course, I also suggest that you definitely incorporate weight training into your fitness routine (if you haven’t already). Here’s more info on why strength training is so important, especially for women (click here).
The HIIT sessions are so draining and effective that you only need about 2 or 3 sessions a week. In fact, even if you got rid of all 4 steady state cardio and stuck to two 20-minute HIIT sessions, you’d probably get the same results or even better. You could do resistance training on the other two days.
Do the right exercises
Focus on compound movements like pull-ups, snatches, mountain climbers, deadlifts, squats, lunges, etc. These are exercises that work several muscle groups at once. If you create a set with 4 or 5 of these different exercises and did them fast with minimal rest, not only will you get a cardio workout but you’ll also train and tone your muscles. (More about compound movements here and here.)
HIIT done in this manner is very effective. Truth be told, HIIT sessions that use resistance training are more effective than those that only use cardio. You’ll be killing two birds with one stone.
Learn How to Create Your Own Weight Training Workout Plan.
Find out more here.
Bicep curls and calf raises are isolation exercises. No matter how fast you do them, they’re not going to be as effective as compound exercises. The load and intensity of your HIIT workout will determine how effective it is. Therefore, incorporate HIIT in your training regimen and watch your performance improve and your excess pounds melt away in no time at all.