As yet another new year arrives and people welcome 2022 with hope, excitement and enthusiasm, hanging up new colourful calendars, greeting friends and family and indulging in delicious sweet and savoury foods, it is also time to set weight loss goals and kickstart the fitness journey to attain holistic wellness. When it comes to exercise, whether at the gym, going for a jog or run with family, or simply stretching at home, one type of workout that has gained immense popularity among adult men and women alike and has become a mainstay of training routines is HIIT.
High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT as it is widely referred to, is a type of quick workout that entails short periods of arduous training interspersed with brief recovery phases. This form of vigorous exercising was followed extensively by athletes training for competitive events like the Olympics for many years and over the past decade, HIIT has become famous in countries worldwide. High-Intensity Interval Training is a top recommendation by fitness experts and personal trainers, as it offers numerous fantastic benefits such as burning ample calories, losing belly fat, stimulating metabolism, boosting heart functions and building lean muscle mass, strengthening the core muscles in the hips, buttocks, back, thighs and arms.
However, while engaging in HIIT workouts, it is important to follow the schedule of each exercise, performing the routines only for the specified time periods, as well as not to jump into training right away but to warm up before. Steering clear of some common mistakes and adhering to these simple and useful tips help to optimise the HIIT workout, accelerate weight loss and also prevent injury and fatigue.
Top 5 Blunders While Engaging In HIIT Workouts:
Skipping Warm-Up And Cool-Down
Delving into a demanding workout right away must be avoided at all costs, since it invariably increases the risk of muscle sprains, joint pain and injuries and even minor fractures to the bones. The connective tissues of the bones, muscles and joints require abundant blood circulation with oxygen and nutrients before performing intense activities like jumping, sit-ups, lunges involved in a HIIT regime and also need to be stretched after a strenuous training session to ease tension, prevent blood clots and soreness in muscles. Hence, a proper warm-up and cool-down session is essential during every HIIT workout.
Taking Long Breaks In Between Sets
While the body definitely needs a pause in between rigorous HIIT workouts, taking breaks that extend for lengthy durations hampers the overall effectiveness of the training. HIIT is a precisely timed workout regime and fitness experts recommend strictly adhering to a 2:1 ratio for taking breaks. Hence, if training intensely for 1 minute, then the break before starting the next exercise routine must be 30 seconds maximum. In this manner, the heavy breathing and panting can be eased while still keeping the heart rate elevated to embark on the subsequent HIIT routine.
Training Too Frequently
Too much of anything is good for nothing is an age-old adage that stands true for various food, lifestyle and fitness trends, including HIIT. Since HIIT comprises a set of high-impact exercises like jump squats, fast lunges with weights and Tabata training sessions, the body requires a full day of rest to recuperate and soothe tender muscles. Thus, doing HIIT every day will undeniably trigger injuries, stress fractures and ailments like tendinitis. Fitness coaches advise people to engage in HIIT workouts only 2 – 3 times a week, or at the maximum up to 4 times, giving a full day break in between sessions. On the rest days, low-impact exercises like swimming, walking and yoga can be performed, to ensure some form of daily physical exercise.
Using Excessive Equipment
While basic fitness gear like dumbbells, weights and skipping ropes are certainly required to perform exercise routines in HIIT, too much equipment and even very complex training apparatus are not necessary to complete an efficient HIIT workout. In fact, keeping the workout simple with minimal gym or fitness equipment while maintaining a consistent and arduous intensity of exercises ensures optimal results of HIIT for weight loss and building cardiac muscle strength.
Exercising On An Empty Stomach
Agreed, low-carb diets and intermittent fasting may be all the rage nowadays to shed those extra kilos and visibly reduce belly fat, but to achieve the best results from HIIT workouts, ample energy is needed. This is obtained from carbohydrate-rich foods that supply the fuel to power up the body for a HIIT routine and ensure uplifted exercise performance throughout the workout sans fatigue and sickness. Fitness professionals advise adults to not engage in HIIT on an empty stomach but to have a balanced, energy-rich meal one to two hours before a high-intensity workout.
Eat High-Carb Foods
HIIT workouts are very vigorous and require a tremendous level of stamina to carry out the routine to completion. Hence, it is advised to consume a meal high in carbohydrates, with moderate amounts of proteins, one to two hours prior to the workout, for vast supply of fuel and energy to power the HIIT routine. Foods like bananas, peanut butter, toasted bread, apples that are rich in carbs deliver extensive amounts of calories, carbs as a source of quick-burning energy to fortify the muscles before a high-intensity exercise session.
Do Warm-Up Exercises
Warming up before engaging in any workout is very important to mobilize the joints, flex the muscles, as well as improve athletic performance, reduce the risk of injury and HIIT routines are no exception. Performing cardio warm-up regimes like hip rotations, aerobic sweeps of arms, legs, high knees while standing and cat stretches, camel stretches, thoracic reach throughs while sitting upon kneeling down completely help elevate heart rate, enhance blood circulation and propel the muscles, joints for a high-intensity workout.