HIIT Training . . . have you heard of it? My guess is you have and probably associate it with burpees or some other exercise that makes you want to run away as fast as you can (which would also be HIIT training LOL). Or if you’ve actually done HIIT training before, you probably have a love/hate relationship with it because you remember how intense it felt while you were doing it but also how rewarding it felt afterwards. Share in the comments your own experiences. I’m here to share what you need to know about HIIT Training, why I think you should do it, but also why I think you shouldn’t do it too much. So to begin with . . .
WHAT is HIIT Training?
HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, is a cardio training technique where you perform drills giving one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. The benefit? Your heart rate gets high and burns more fat in less time.
WHO can do HIIT Training?
The truth is anyone CAN do a HIIT Training workout. The question you should ask yourself is “Should I?” or maybe “How much can I safely push today?” A HIIT Training session is specifically designed for you to GO HARD! And by hard I mean push yourself until you are breathless, and it’s hard to hold a conversation. Then you rest. If you don’t think you need time to recover, you’re not doing it properly.
Because I’m a pre/postnatal exercise specialist, the question I often get is “Can I HIIT Train if I’m pregnant?” Again, can you do it? Yes, you can most likely do the exercises in the workout, with modifications where needed. What I do NOT recommend is going breathless, like HIIT is intended to have you do. I’d rather see you just IT train (interval train) and just take the HI (high intensity) out of it. That doesn’t mean you can’t work hard. You can! I’m all for getting a good sweaty workout in when you’re pregnant. I’m just NOT a fan of taking it too far. My Pregnancy Workout Essentials Collection has some great interval training workouts in it, and Synergy from my original pregnancy program, Expecting MORE is also an interval training circuit workout.
WHERE can you do HIIT Training?
Anywhere! Many HIIT workouts only require you to use your own body weight and don’t usually require a lot of extra equipment. That said, adding free weights and other equipment can make a traditional HIIT workout more interesting and fun, so mix it up!
Many workout programs have HIIT Training in them. Sweat Box from my Sweat UNLIMITED workout program is a “Tabata” HIIT Training Workout and Cardio Drills on my 4th Trimester Workout applies the HIIT Training concept as well.
HOW exactly do you HIIT Train?
Since they are so beloved, let’s use burpees as an example. 😏 You would pick a set period of time – like 30 seconds of work followed by 15 seconds of recovery (A 2:1 ratio is always a good place to start with HIIT). Put on a timer on like Tabata Pro and perform the burpees with the most precision and speed that you can to take you to a point of feeling out of breath. You then use the 15 seconds to recover – catching and slowing your breath or even hydrating, then repeat for as many times as you decided on in advance. The biggest mistake people make in HIIT training is not giving it their all (assuming you are in the condition to do so).
You can use HIIT Training during any kind of cardio exercise – biking, running, elliptical, jumping rope, and body weight training exercises (high knees, burpees, etc). You can even add weights and other equipment to mix things up, but the focus should still be on maintaining speed to focus on accelerating your heart rate.
In recent years, one of the biggest issues with HIIT Training is that people do it too much, which can ultimately lead to overtraining and/or injury. If you’re doing HIIT Training correctly, your metabolism stays high and you continue to burn fat for 24-48 hours after your training session (EPOC). Moreover, if you’re doing HIIT correctly, your body NEEDS time to recover in order to do it again. This is why it’s important to keep HIIT Training to only 2-3 times a week with rest, steady-state cardio exercise, strength training, or rest days in between.
WHY should you HIIT Train?
If you are a busy mama like me, HIIT training is one of the most efficient training methods out there for getting a lot of work done in a short period of time. More intense exercise burns more fat, which is why HIIT is so popular. It’s the perfect workout for those days where you feel like you have no time to workout and want something efficient and effective. When you work harder, you need to take in more oxygen, which means a greater calorie burn. HIIT training forces you to do all of that. So what are you waiting for?