Minimise your workout time while maximising your results. PT Jay Bonaretti explains all about HIIT

High intensity interval training is great for fat loss

Make no mistake about it, high intensity interval training (HIIT) can be challenging as your training needs to be intense in order gain maximum results.

But don’t let the challenging nature of this cardio option deter you. While it is challenging, HIIT is also extremely rewarding in terms of results and self-satisfaction.

Prior to embarking upon a high intensity program, it is important to ensure that you are medically fit to do so. Once you get the all-clear, here are some practical tips for getting started:

1. Adjust to fit your fitness level

If you are currently unfit, then undertaking a super-high intensity workout from the get-go is not the best idea. Instead, you need to allow some time for your body to gradually adapt to the increased physical demands on your body. You may wish to begin with a 30 second period of moderate to high intensity exercise, followed by a two minute period of recovery.

As your fitness improves (and it will quite quickly), increase the level of intensity of sprints, and decrease the intensity of the recovery periods.

If you are already relatively fit, you may consider performing high intensity bouts of an equivalent time to your recovery periods. Anywhere from 20 to 60 seconds is fairly standard. Ensure that you go all-out during your sprints and never, ever pace yourself. Treat every sprint as your last!

2. Keep the workout short

Ensure that the HIIT session is not long. An ideal duration is 15 to 20 minutes. If you are training for too long, the level of exercise intensity will decrease and, with it, the effectiveness of the cardio will wane.

3. Choosing Your Machine

HIIT can be performed on any  machine, really, as the ultimate goal is to elevate your heart rate to near maximum levels.

Generally speaking, it is advisable to avoid anything that requires balance and coordination (such as the treadmill), as it’s easy to fall off when you’re training at that intensity. The bike, cross-trainer and rower, and outdoor running, make effective HIIT platforms. If you’re at home, you can try boxing equipment, ab wheels, resistance bands, and steppers.

4. Get Motivated

Physical exertion aside, HIIT is psychologically challenging, so you need every little bit of help for an outstanding session.

Try using some music that will get you revved up and excited. If you have a training partner, try racing each other as incentive to push yourself. Also, try setting distance goals and always aim to set a PB.

5. Nutrition

Correct nutrition plays a vital role in enhancing your workout intensity and recovery. For optimal results, ensure that you consume food containing some quality carbohydrates before your training.

Exercising at a high intensity on an empty stomach will not only encourage muscle loss, it will decrease the intensity of your training session and in fact minimise, not maximise, fat burn.

After your HIIT workout, consume a quality protein shake, which will provide your body with essential nutrients to facilitate recovery to help you recuperate for your next training session.

6. Strength Training

It can be greatly beneficial to incorporate a strength training regime to complement your HIIT workout. Improving your strength will enhance your ability to maximise output during sprint periods.

Plus, the improved muscle tone will enhance kilojoule burn for that great summer body!

Jay Bonaretti is the owner of Amino Z, a leading online personal training and supplement

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