Everything you need to know about HIIT Workout

This is your guide to understand everything you need to know about HIIT workout for weight loss, gaining muscle mass, health and performance

What is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT workout has become very famous in recent years. Indeed, it’s an effective way to reach your fitness, lose fat and gain muscle mass. As its name indicates, a HIIT workout involves alternating short intervals of high intensity exercises. An exercise can be anything such as shadow boxing, cycling, sprinting, some sort of weight lifting and/or bodyweight movements, battle rope and so on. And all these exercises are all-out effort with short recovery time or rest.

HIIT Workout

As mentioned above, you can complete a HIIT workout in minutes, but you must truly push yourself. Because pushing yourself truly is the core of Hight Intensity Interval Training. This way you maximize the outcome.

For most high intensity interval training, you only need a little equipment. You could do better to have proper shoes, a towel, a yoga mat and a watch or timer. Also, for post-workout recovery and myofascial release, you can use a form roller and a lacrosse ball.

How HIIT works

Performing an exercise at high intensity is the key in a HIIT workout. For this reason, losing fat, getting stronger and gain muscle won’t be optimal if you don’t push yourself as hard as possible.
Type and order of exercise in HIIT workout is also important. The exercises should target different parts of the body rather than one or two. Also, you shouldn’t do two exercises targeting the same group of muscle back to back. This way not only will you enjoy more as well as you will not overload a particular muscle group, in particular, in longer HIIT session. For this reason, try to combine different types of exercises in a session. Additionally, this way helps you stimulate your whole muscles, in turn, maximise the outcome without overloading.

The ‘after-burn’ effect

You not only burn calories during HIIT workout, but you will also consume extra calories and burn fat within the next 48 hours, called EPOC. Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) is an increased rate of oxygen intake following an intense activity intended to restore the body’s oxygen deficit. In other words, in other to restore the oxygen debt that occurred during the HIIT, your body burns fat as fuel and energy for recovery. In contrast, you can’t get the same effect from a light exercise session.

High Intensity Interval Training | Bring You Health

HIIT fitness benefits

Overall, there are major benefits you can get from HIIT workout when you do it properly followed by a proper recovery and an eating plan.

If you eat well and monitor your nutrition, HIIT workouts are really effective in burning fat. As mentioned above, burning fat will continue up to 48 hours. Numerous studies indicate a huge difference in losing fat when you compare the effectiveness of HIIT and long-duration cardio exercises, such as jogging.

It’s hard to preserver your muscles when dieting or performing longer-duration cardio. In contrast, when performing high intensity interval training you can lose fat as well as maintain your muscle tissues. It’s because high intensity interval training boosts growth hormone (GH) and testosterone levels. These hormones are responsible for gaining muscle mass and losing fat. In fact, the production of GH will be boosted up to 450 per cent during the 24 hours after completing HIIT workout.

Besides HIIT workouts are fun and take a shorter time to finish, it also improves your fitness, sports performance and heart health. HIIT improves anaerobic (all-out effort) and aerobic (low-intensity activities) endurance.

Also, there is a HIIT exercises list you can choose from and combine them in different ways. HIIT workouts are flexible and can be done in countless ways at home, a park or a gym.

When to start High Intensity Interval Training

Like intense strength training, HIIT workout also places extreme stress on Central Neverou System (CNS) and musculoskeletal system. For this reason, If you have a medical condition, talk to a health professional before starting this type of training. If you have not been training on a regular basis, start slowly and increase the intensity every each session. This is a very safe way for everyone to run into these types of workouts.

Indeed, jumping into high intensity interval training before you have a sufficient fitness base will greatly increase your chance of injury. Try just one or two sessions at first. And as conditioning improves, begin to challenge yourself, but again never go fast.

Food and nutrition for HIIT workout

Nutrition plays a key role in your health, performance and body composition. For this reason, understanding the basics of what to eat and how to eat is necessary to lose fat, gain muscle, improve performance and health.

Food and Nutrition for HIIT Training

Post and pre-workout meal

A typical pre-workout and post-workout meal should be light and balanced in carbs and protein to fuel your body. You can have a pre-workout meal within 2 to 3 hours before starting a training session and a post-workout meal within an hour after finishing the session, the sooner the better.
Because digestion of fat and some veggies takes a longer time, try not to eat these things before, during and after a workout in order to maximize performance and recovery. Of course, you must consume different types of fat and veggies with an appropriate amount of protein and carbs during the day, in a good balance.

Hydration

Hydration is essential to your HIIT workout performance. Indeed, keeping yourself hydrated is vital to your health. Hydration is the degree to which the compartments of the body is supplied with water. The sates of having too little, normal range of water and too much water in the body are called dehydration, euhydration, and hyperhydration respectively. Both dehydration and hyperhydration are not normal ranges of fluid in the body. In order to know in which state you are, monitor your urine colour.

For better performance in HIIT workout, drink electrolyte carb beverage with whey protein in empty stomach to fuel your body and better recovery. Additionally, you can consume creatine monohydrate powder for better athletic performance before or after a session.

Eating for weight loss

  • However, losing weight is a multi-factor approach, nutrition plays a significant role. For this reason, be aware of your caloric intake if your main goal is weight loss through HIIT workout. Therefore, keep in mind the following.
  • Whole-grain and starchy carbs, such as rice, potatoes, oats, pasta: Eat soon within an hour after HIIT workout
  • Simple sugars and highly processed starches, such as soda, fruit juice, ice cream: Minimize intake of these sugars
  • Recovery/energy drink, such as sugary, protein-rich recovery drinks: Drink during HIIT workout only
  • Fruits and vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, apples: Eat with each feeding (with more emphasis on veggies)
  • Protein: eat lean protein with each feeding opportunity. As a human being, I never encourage anyone to eat meat, in fact, eating meat is not a good thing at all. But if you want to eat then provide your protein from lean meat.
  • Fat: it’s generally recommended to consume your total fat from 1/3 of saturated fat (such as animal fats, palm oil, coconut oil), 1/3 of monounsaturated fat (such as olive oil, nuts, avocado) and 1/3 of polyunsaturated fat (such as flax seeds/oil, fish oil, nuts, vegetable oils).

Recovery from HIIT workout

As mentioned above, high intensity interval training places extreme stress on your central nervous system (CNS) and musculoskeletal system. Therefore, you need recovery from the previous session(s) for the next session. Indeed, you can maximize your gains by following an optimal training plan, a nutrition plan and a recovery plan. To put it another way, adaptation occurs only when training, nutrition and recovery are balanced, otherwise, overreaching, undertraining and even overtraining may happen.

For me, this is an art. try to understand your body and as well as listen to your body. Don’t push yourself unnecessarily when the body is not able to do more, recover more and function more. It’s your body and life so that no one knows or feels better than you if you are aware enough.

That’s it. Hopefully, you got some information form this post.

Reshad
Reshad

a human, a friend and a health coach who lives with you on this lovely planet, Earth, and is not identified with anything e.g. nationality, race, gender, etc.

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