You may find cardio a bit stressful and possibly boring, but at least it's a surefire way to help you burn out extra calories, and keep you in shape.
You may find cardio a bit stressful and possibly boring, but at least it’s a surefire way to help you burn out extra calories, and keep you in shape. When you follow the rules of HIIT, you get to see more results within a shorter time frame, than if you are doing everything all wrong.
There are probably a million and one ways you would like to spend your time, a dinner with friends, a trip to the doctor, and so many other fun activities, to include in your schedule. But if you want to keep fit, then you best create out time for cardio in your program.
You should go for cardio because it offers you a double bang. When we say cardio, we mean HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training). And it should rank up in your workout routine because it keeps you fit faster, and you don’t get to waste valuable time in the gym.
HIIT is all about the pattern you choose in doing your cardio. Instead of going for workouts that would require you to exercise at a steady pace for about one hour, you alternate to fast-paced exercises with slow recovery intervals.
When you put in maximum intensity, it speeds up the number of calories you burn, while during the exercise, and even afterward. This is very important because the afterburn is as important as the workout activity you just did to burn out calories. In order words, HIIT and afterburn are the two major factors that determine how much calories you burn during a particular workout.
Research has also shown that this type of exercise is more functional, as it helps you maintain a steady heart rate all through the workout.
However, you can’t just jump right out of your bed and begin this type of workout protocol, even if you have included some cardio into your workout routine. Because HIIT is very intense, you run at a risk of getting injured, overtraining, and experiencing burnout if you don’t do it the right way.
If you want to incorporate HIIT cardio into your workout routine, then you need to understand certain things, so, you can minimize your risk of getting injured and maximize your results.
Before starting HIIT cardio training, you might want to make sure that your aerobic fitness level is impressive to an extent before bringing intervals into the picture. If you have done a minimum of cardio work for about 20 minutes thrice in a week for at least one month, then you have a history of cardio fitness, and you are good to go. So at this point, it is safe for you to add intervals into your workout routine slowly, and with time, you amplify the frequency. After all, what is HIIT without a high level of intensity?
Before starting, you don’t exactly need to do a complete HIIT session. You can keep doing your standard cardio workout at a slow and calculated pace, then incorporating 3 intervals of about 40 seconds into the equation.
With time, you would notice that your body would begin to feel more relaxed and comfortable; this is a sign that your fitness game is improving significantly. At this point, you can include a few more intervals into your cardio sessions until your sessions involve you doing intervals from start to finish. And don’t forget to always warm-up before starting your HIIT sessions, so your muscles can get in tune.
Remember that you can decide to engage in just intervals throughout your workout, but you can tone the intensity down a bit and the time. Spreading out our intervals doesn’t qualify as a complete HIIT workout, but it’s the right step to improve on your stamina, while still giving your body the chance to get used to HIIT cardio training.
As your body improves, you would be able to perform higher intensity at longer intervals.
Don’t Interfere With Your Leg Workouts
Schedule your HIIT cardio training so that it doesn’t mess with your leg workout routine. And also structure your leg workouts, so it doesn’t get in the way of your HIIT cardio. If you engage in a full-blown heavy leg workout session in the gym, you cannot engage in HIIT cardio training on that same day, until you are fully recovered. If you do, you are maximizing your risk of getting injured. Doing this is called overtraining, and it would slow down your progress, and also get in the way of your recuperating fast. So, you can see that it isn’t in any way worth it. You will not achieve faster results if you overtrain. Instead, you would ruin your efforts.
The time interval between when you can do your HIIT session and leg workouts would depend on how fast you recover. You can separate both by at least 24 hours, and maybe even more if you still feel sore.
HIIT is known to deplete muscle glycogen that fuels your workouts, so you shouldn’t do HIIT workouts if you are going to perform leg workouts in less than 24 hours. However, you can incorporate steady-paced cardio into the routine after your leg workouts.
But, for advanced athletes, performing HIIT workouts after heavy leg workout sessions is a surefire way to get into the body’s fat stores.
Fuel Up Adequately
In your quest to start HIIT cardio training, you would likely forget to fuel up properly, and that is extremely unacceptable. It is very wrong to perform HIIT on an empty stomach, because it isn’t the same as running on the mill in a gym without eating, and expecting to get results at the end of the day. Truthfully, you would only be wasting your time.
HIIT training can be likened to heavy weightlifting, and you need to treat your body as such. You wouldn’t engage in weightlifting without having a proper meal, right?
That’s because you understand that excellent pre-workout nutrition is essential to get maximum performance and results. So the same applies to HIIT training.
As your training time approaches, you should stack yourself up with meals that are rich in carbohydrates and fast-digesting protein. This would help give you the energy to exercise, and also provides amino acids to rebuild your muscles and replenish strength.
For HIIT, you may not need as many carbohydrates as you would for weightlifting, most especially if the aim is to burn excess fat. However, 20 grams is more than enough to fuel your intense workout training.
It’s best to minimize your fat intake, because it makes digestion slower, and ensures that you are properly hydrated at all times.
Pay Attention To Your Body
No law enforces you to do your HIIT cardio workouts according to schedule. While it is important to take your HIIT training seriously and stick to your routine, it is more important that you rest if your body wants you to. When you are feeling tired or weak, then there is no point subjecting your body to undue pressure, because you would only worsen how you feel. If you are that tired, then you most likely need the rest.
If you feel like still engaging in any form of exercise, then you can perform a low-intensity cardio workout, that’s if you are feeling up to it. Make sure not to overdo it, so you can feel better the next day and resume your HIIT cardio training.
For those who are new into the HIIT cardio training, doing a maximum of one HIIT session in a week is more than enough, and it can be coupled with short durations of high-intensity intervals.
HIIT is quite similar to resistance training because your body becomes more functional and effective when it gets used to the stress and pressure that comes with HIIT cardio workouts. So, with time, you get to incorporate longer intervals as you progress.
If you are doing weightlifting alongside with HIIT cardio workouts, then you need to be cautious, so you don’t overtrain and slow down your results.
Choose What You Enjoy
You would agree that it’s way easier to keep doing what you love regardless of how stressful it might be. The same goes for HIIT cardio training; you need to work with an exercise mode you love so that you can be motivated on your lazy days. If you aren’t a fan of running, then it’s best not to include running intervals, because you would not enjoy doing it. If you dislike a mode of training, it would be challenging to stick to it for an extended period. So, go for what to love, and also make sure it fits into HIIT protocols.
You should choose a HIIT exercise that allows you to accelerate and decelerate at maximum speed and one that makes use of larger muscle groups so you can speed up your heart rate.
The main factor is to work hard and fast, and as long as you are doing, then you can incorporate all types of interval exercises.