Confidence comes from discipline and training.
#1 – Mix It Up with Weights…
HIIT traditionally utilises aerobic moves, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it another way. I don’t exactly hide my preference for strength training, so I love sneaking a few strength moves into a HIIT session. I use lighter weights for HIIT than for actual resistance training to avoid impairing my performance in the latter. Plus, youtry to exercise at the speed required for HIIT with heavy weights, then we’ll talk… if you still can.
To get a total-body workout, I usually alternate a strength move for the upper body with a cardio or plyo move for the lower body, and vice versa. For example, I’ll do push-ups for 40-50 seconds, active rest for 15-20 seconds, then bodyweight jump squats, followed by another short bout of rest. This provides great variety to my sessions and keeps me on my toes (pun intended)!
#2 – … and Kickboxing
Anything that involves me punching something is welcome in my training programme. For HIIT, kickboxing can be very versatile: kicks work your lower body, punches work your upper body, and jumps help you develop more power. For example, a jab-cross-jumping jack-left hook-right hook combo builds both upper body strength and power. To take it up a notch, I strap on a pair of wrist weights (0.5 kg each, 1 kg or 2.2 lbs in total) and try to go through the moves as fast as I can.
#3 – Get Free Guidance and Motivation
Before I started designing my own HIIT workouts, I subscribed to a few YouTube fitness channels and saved a handful of my favourite follow-along workout videos as bookmarks. They provide music, instructions, and accountability. Moreover, working out with a partner boosts adherence, performance, and results, so, when a real workout buddy is unavailable or inconvenient, a virtual one is not to be sniffed at.
Here are two of my favourite HIIT workout videos: a 35-minute strength HIIT session by Hasfit and a 45-minute strength, plyo, and cardio HIIT session by Shelly Dose. Get ready to sweat!
#4 – Use an App to Design Your Own Workouts
The first problem I ran into when I decided to create my own workouts was, “How am I going to keep track of time?” Fortunately, there are several apps to split the session into intervals and set up alarms at the end of each one. I use IntervalTimer, which is free and looks like this:
You can customise pretty much every aspect of the workout, including the length of your warm-up, cool-down, rest time, and intervals. You can also divide one “interval cycle” into a higher intensity and a lower intensity phase of your preferred length, in case you want to do two exercises per interval before resting. Last but not least, you can choose an iTunes playlist to listen to as you’re working out.
#5 – Have “HIIT Days”
Some people like to do HIIT right after their strength training workout; not me. I’m currently doing full-body resistance training sessions of a little over an hour, so adding HIIT would take up too much time and cause excessive fatigue. Moreover, a recent meta-analysis shows that it may be more beneficial to perform HIIT and resistance training on separate days.
I set aside two days every week for about 35-40 minutes of HIIT, which is time-efficient, gives me plenty of energy for that and for resistance training, and gets me to move my body in different ways every day. However, provided your workouts allow for enough recovery time and fit around your other commitments, don’t shy away from other options, like doing HIIT one or three times a week instead of two, combining it with resistance training in a single session, etc. Ultimately, your best training schedule is the one you’ll stick to!
The wealth of possibilities in terms of exercise variety, adaptations to different lifestyles, and health benefits makes HIIT a noteworthy addition to any training programme. Now that you know all my hacks to optimise it based on your preferences, what are you still doing here?
In Future Episodes:
The holidays are fast approaching. This is the time when the scale can become a mortal enemy, but it doesn’t have to! Next week, I’m going to discuss helpful uses of the scale versus unsavoury and stressful practices.
Do you have any hacks or tips for HIIT? Share them in the comments!
A personal trainer who likes superheroes, bread, lifting weights, and studying “fitness stuff”.
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