Hey Angels and Alphas,
High-intensity interval training (or HIIT, for short) is a very, very, very popular form of exercise especially in the weight loss community that basically alternates short periods of intense exercise with short recovery periods.
It’s specifically prevalent among people who take studio classes or go to on-demand workouts, though HIIT can also be performed by yourself, at home or at the gym. Because these intervals burn a ton of calories per minute, they’re often the go-to for people who want to lose weight because they’re more intense than steady-state exercises such as walking or jogging.
HIIT is super versatile, anyone can do it, and anyone can benefit from it, whether they’re a newbie, a pro, young, old, experienced or inexperienced.
But with “high-intensity” being the core principle of this workout method, you definitely don’t want to be diving in and overdoing it.
Here’s how you can get started with HIIT the right way…
There are countless benefits to high-intensity interval training workouts, but they can also be rigorous, intense, and even stressful on the body, especially if you’re someone new to working out or someone new to HIIT in general.
That’s why if you’re someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with short, intense bursts of exercise, you have to take it slow and ease into these workouts. Regardless of your exercise regimen, you have to remember the key is in finding a workout type that is enjoyable and sustainable… don’t burn yourself off by going too hard on your first HIIT workouts, absolutely nothing good will come from that.
HIIT beginners can definitely benefit from learning the ins and outs of HIIT at in-person classes or by taking an online program by a trainer who’s actually trustworthy. This will help you become more familiar with the moves, intensity, and overall format of this exercise method. Still, you can check your local area for classes or get in-person sessions with a trainer at well-regarded gyms.
When it comes to HIIT, there’s a very fine line between pushing yourself and pushing yourself way too far. If you’re new to HIIT, you need to have some (at least minimal) guidance so you don’t end up hurting yourself or setting the wrong habits… but this goes with any exercise method.
Create your HIIT beginners’ schedule…
If you’re not used to it, high-intensity interval training can put enormous stress on the body. We always advise beginners to space out their workouts and basically limit the number of sessions they do per week until they get to a point where HIIT feels a little bit more comfortable. This allows their bodies to adequately recover and learn from the intense sessions they’re being put through.
Sure, working hard and training your body to become stronger is the overarching goal of the whole journey, but you can’t just go out there training without the proper care taken. Recovery is just as important as working hard. Recovery will allow your body to reduce soreness, prevent overtraining, and avoid injury. Not to mention, you’ll give yourself the time you need to adjust as you incrementally start placing more and more stress on your body with every next workout.
As you’re getting started, you should be aiming for no more than 3 days of HIIT per week. You can also build in a couple of active rest days, cross-training, or even light resistance training to fill out your week. But you should, without a doubt, give yourself 1-2 days of rest each and every week to help your body adapt and recover. This will also ensure you’re getting primed for HIIT each session… so you can work harder and achieve the results you’re really looking for.
SIMPLE, SAMPLE WORKOUT
Need some inspiration to get started with HIIT? Here’s a sample workout, as well as a pretty general plan you can use to build your week around HIIT.
Use this as your starting point, then add and amp up your training as you adapt and get stronger.
MONDAY, WEDNESDAY, AND SATURDAY – HIIT
Perform each of the exercises below in 30-second intervals, all while doing 30 seconds of training followed by 30 seconds of rest. Repeat this circuit 5 times for a 25-minute workout that evaporates fat, skyrockets your endurance, and helps you burn a ton of calories.
- Mountain climbers
- Skater jumps
- Treadmill sprints or plank jumps
TUESDAY/THURSDAY – LIGHT ACTIVITY
Anything can go here. Light cardio, cross-training, weight training (if it’s not too much,) active rest, walking, bike riding, anything that gets your heart rate going without too much added stress on the body.
FRIDAY/SUNDAY – REST
Spend these last two days resting, recovering, and relaxing. You’re definitely earned it.