High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has become very popular in recent times, touted by many as a fun and efficient way to burn fat and get fit. HIIT sessions are fast-paced and challenging, and research shows that exercising using bursts of explosive effort raises the average intensity of the session, which can produce great results.
With the increased effort, HIIT classes tend to be shorter, making them perfect for those who are crunched for time, prefer the more intense challenge over slogging it out on longer workouts, or who just want to shake things up. But this increased intensity can also cause some niggles or injuries, many of which can be avoided by following some simple tips to keep you healthy, happy and getting the most out of your HIIT workouts.
Arriving a little earlier to class for a brief warm-up goes a long way towards readying your body for a hard workout and reduces your risk of injury. A warm-up can be as simple as riding a stationary bike at an easy click and gradually ramping up the intensity for five minutes before your class. Or it can be specific by rehearsing the movements you know you’ll be doing in the class, slowly at first and gradually increasing intensity.
Gone are the days of simply showing up for class and doing a few quick quad and hamstring stretches to prepare. Short, well-designed warm-up routines help raise the body’s core temperature and warm soft tissue, which makes them more pliable and less likely to tear. Much the same way that your car needs to warm up to function well, rehearsing the movements and slowly stepping up the intensity also prepares the body and mind to work at the levels that are needed to get the most out of the session with less risk.
Know your limits
This is an important point that’s often obscured by enthusiasm. While HIIT sessions should be difficult, it’s important to stay within your own capabilities rather than overextending yourself trying to keep up and comparing yourself to others. If you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to go easier while you learn new movements and get used to new workloads. Extreme soreness can be debilitating and isn’t an indication you’ve trained appropriately. We all have different goals and fitness levels, and structurally we’re all built a little differently, too. Some of us are stronger, others have more endurance and all of us will squat a little differently.
Exercise is about you versus you – building and shaping a better version of yourself, for yourself. It’s important to take aim at your own goals, focusing on the habits you need to stick to without comparing yourself to others. Work to your own limits and push them at your own pace. Not only will this keep you motivated, but you’re also more likely to stay healthy and injury-free. It will make the difficult journey from where you are to where you want to be more manageable and a whole lot more enjoyable.
If you’re finding it a little daunting and not sure where to begin with your HIIT workouts, you’ll benefit from the support of a team to keep you motivated. Ask at reception to find out more about FIIT30.