Most people rush through a HIIT workout but starting slowly and gradually increasing intensity is an excellent pacing approach.
It's normal to get excited at the outset of a workout, but if you're performing high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which involves all-out effort interspersed with brief moments of rest, it's tempting to go too quickly — and start sputtering well before you're finished.
Competition may also boost your chances of experiencing a drop in energy. Trying to beat your fellow gym-goers in a class like CrossFit or Orange Theory, for example, might be inspiring, but it can also hinder you from listening to your body and brain when they urge for a slower pace.
Furthermore, whether you're in friendly competition mode or not, leaving it all on the gym floor may make recovery more difficult, as the wave of weariness that hits you when you finish can be difficult to recover from — and may even affect everyday function.
How do you get the most out of your HIIT workout while still having some gas left in your tank? Here are six pointers to remember.
1. Start Slow, Finish Strong
Many folks make the most common HIIT mistake of coming in too hot. This could be due to the fact that some of these workouts are only about 15 minutes long. But don't be fooled by the timeframe: a quarter-hour stretch can feel like an eternity when you're only five minutes into the workout.
Save your best effort for the final few rounds in the final few minutes. That's when you go all out, rather than putting in your best effort the entire time.
This does not imply that you should rest the majority of the time, he says. Instead, consider your pace as a progressive increase in intensity with each round.
2. Prioritize Warming Up
Because HIIT is so brief, it may appear that a few minutes of warm-up are irrelevant, but that assumption is a formula for mid-workout exhaustion.
Warming up for 10 minutes, if possible, is the greatest technique since the better your body is prepared and ready to perform, the more constant your energy will be. Remember that the goal is to complete the entire workout, not just a piece of it.
3. Monitor Your Heart Rate and Level of Exertion
The "speaking test" is the simplest approach to determine intensity. You're probably at the right workout level if you can recite a brief phrase of six to eight words before needing to take another breath.
Your intensity is too low if you can hold a conversation without needing to take more breaths. You are definitely too high and need to pull it down a bit if you can only utter two or three words without taking a breath.
Try recording your pulse rate to see if this is reflected in your data. Using a heart rate monitor not only helps you to assess the intensity of your workout, but it also produces a data set that you can use to track your progress throughout several HIIT sessions.
If you can do more labor while maintaining the same heart rate by subtracting your age from 180 as a target heart rate, your conditioning is improving over time.
4. Test Your Balance
Try using one of your rest sessions as a balance test to see if your pace is correct.
When it comes to determining labor intensity, the nervous system can be a terrific guide. Your balance will be thrown off if you push yourself beyond your limits. To test if you're working out too hard, simply stand on one leg.
Whether you're feeling particularly shaky, reduce the intensity and repeat the test on your next rest day to see if your balance improves.
5. Change to HILIT
Although HIIT incorporates a variety of exercises, it frequently includes some form of leaping, such as box jumps and burpees.
However, even if you still want a hard workout, this does not have to be the case. Switching to HILIT (high-intensity low-impact training) can actually be just as effective.
Just because you aren't jumping doesn't mean you aren't putting in the same effort. HILIT exercises are also beneficial if you're just getting started and need to improve your conditioning. It can help you increase endurance and strength, and most high-intensity interval training (HIIT) movements that involve jumping can be adapted to be low-impact.
Step-ups, for example, can be substituted for box jumps. You can also do air squats instead of squat jumps or jumping jacks.
6. Practice Mindfulness and Pay Attention to the Present Moment
It can be difficult to continually checking in with your body while performing a sequence of complex motions — look at you, kettlebell snatches — but it's crucial when it comes to technique and pace. Furthermore, your mind has a tendency to wander, which can make it even more difficult.
Try to focus on the present moment rather than the future. When you're doing high-intensity interval training, you shouldn't be thinking about anything but how hard you're working. Concentrate on the task at hand and the movement of your body.
Always come back to the breath if you can't quite get into awareness mode - it's a yoga, tai chi, and meditation approach that works well even in HIIT.
Before expelling, take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds. This can also help to reduce stress and muscle tension during the workout.