If you’re new to the world of fitness, you might be wondering what the hype around high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is all about. For starters, HIIT workouts are an excellent way to build lean muscle, burn calories and get fit -- without spending hours at the gym.
Sounds like a win-win, right? And the best part -- you can modify HIIT workouts for pretty much every fitness level. So if you’re looking for an effective and efficient workout you can do anywhere -- with or without equipment -- HIIT is definitely worth checking out.
Keep reading to learn why HIIT workouts are all the rage and how you can get started.
HIIT 101: Everything You Need To Know
HIIT is a popular training method based on alternating bouts of high-intensity and recovery periods.
The high-intensity portions may include all-out sprints for a very short period of time or moderate-intensity exercise for up to a few minutes (although this isn’t always categorized as true HIIT, as it’s closer to interval training). On the flip side, the low-intensity intervals are called rest periods, and you’re meant to rest and recover so that you can give the next high-intensity period your all.
This on-and-off-again pattern is usually repeated for a number of rounds, and the work-to-rest ratio can vary greatly depending on your current fitness goals and personal preference. It’s most often a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio in order to give yourself enough recovery time.
As you can see, one of the main differences between steady-state cardio (SSC) and HIIT is that rather than working at a consistent pace, with HIIT, you are shifting between periods of high-intensity and rest, instead of just trying to maintain the same moderate speed on, say, a stationary bike or treadmill.
Another important difference between HIIT and SSC lies in how they both affect your heart rate. In order for what you are doing to be considered a "high-intensity exercise," you need to be pushing your heart rate to 90 to 95 percent of your max. With SSC, on the other hand, your heart rate usually won’t get much above 70 percent -- which is why you can ultimately keep at it for a much longer period of time.
What Are The Benefits Of HIIT?
Believe it or not, HIIT workouts have a number of incredible benefits, including:
- Improved cardiovascular fitness
- Condition anaerobic and aerobic energy
- Retain muscle
- Build lean muscle and burn fat
- Easy to do anywhere, no equipment required
- Burn more calories at rest
- Lots of variety
- Increase endurance and metabolism
- Quick workout -- 30 minutes or less!
Beginner Tips To Get Your Started With HIIT
Before you lace up your sneakers and get after it, it’s wise to have some core knowledge about how to get started with HIIT.
Here are a few beginner tips to consider when including it into your overall fitness routine.
Wear The Right Shoes
The shoes that you use for lifting weights might not be ideal for HIIT, depending on what type of session you’re doing. If you are going to include high-impact exercises in your workout, you may be more comfortable wearing shoes with more cushioning.
Go all out for 20 seconds, followed by 40 seconds or even 60 seconds of rest. You may feel like that’s really not all that difficult, but building up slowly will decrease your chance of injury and prevent you from burning out.
Never Skip Your Warm Up
Since you’ll be racing through moves, it’s crucial that your body is primed for action.
Warm up all your major joints (shoulders, neck, hips, ankles, and legs) with circular movements. Then move on to a light jog in place or jumping jacks. To really give your muscles a good stretch, we recommend GEAR 1 from HYGEAR, an innovative resistance training system that you can use anywhere.
What’s so great about GEAR 1 is that you can use it to complete a handful of dynamic stretches to warm up your body before a HIIT workout, or you can use it to actually complete a series of HIIT exercises to get your heart rate up. With HYGEAR, you can perform over 500 on-demand exercises led by expert trainers to build strength, endurance, and total body fitness, all from the comfort of your very own home. What’s not to love?
Aim For Reps
If your goal is to improve, it’s a good idea to keep track of your reps during a given interval and try to beat your numbers. For instance, if you’re doing Tabata, shoot for 20 squats with Gear 1 in 20 seconds. It may not sound that difficult, but trust us-- you’ll definitely feel the burn!
Practice Correct Form
Make sure that you always know the correct form for every exercise you’re doing during a HIIT workout -- particularly if you’re doing a strength workout. You can practice the exercises during your warm-up to ensure you’re feeling confident and make any modifications that you need to.
Don’t Train On Back-To-Back Days
At most, try HIIT two or three times per week on nonconsecutive days. On non-interval days, try doing some steady-state cardio or another type of training, like Pilates or yoga.
As with any form of exercise, high-intensity interval training may lead to injuries if you don’t take the proper precautions before, during, and after your workout to ensure you’re taking care of your body. This is why it’s really important to allow enough time for recovery between your HIIT sessions. As a general rule of thumb, you should allow your body 48 hours minimum between high-intensity workouts.
Just Add Resistance
If you need to make your workout harder, add resistance to any bodyweight movement or add more resistance during the first round of the circuit. With GEAR 1, you can easily slide the adjusters on both bands to change the level of resistance -- super challenging for even the most demanding HIIT workouts!
Keep The Intervals Short And Sweet
Your intervals really shouldn’t be minutes long. They should be seconds long -- ideally 20 to 60 seconds.
Remember: The intervals are short so that you can really push yourself to the max.
Use The “Talk Test”
Not sure if you’re pushing yourself hard enough? During the high-intensity intervals, you shouldn’t be able to speak in full sentences. So if you can still talk, kick it up a notch.
A Final Word
And there you have it -- everything you need to know to get started with HIIT!
Using GEAR 1 from HYGEAR is a great way to get an incredible HIIT workout from home (or anywhere, really). GEAR 1 is a total workout system that uses tension to increase the intensity of any workout. It's highly versatile, meaning you can use it to work any muscle by simply changing the anchor position or your angle of motion. You could even say that it replaces an entire gym! Think of the savings.
GEAR 1 is incredible for all fitness levels, but if you’re a beginner, you’ll especially love the on-demand workout programs that you’ll have access to with HYGEAR. Whether you’re looking for high-intensity or low-intensity workouts, HYGEAR has everything you need to reach your fitness goals.