High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is highly recommended by personal trainers at Gold’s Gym and David Barton’s Gym because of their effectiveness in achieving faster, safer and more sustainable weight loss, aside from improved cardio endurance and stamina. But you cannot just plunge, so to speak, into HIIT as its intense demands on the body means increased risk for injuries. If you are planning to add HIIT to your cardio training program, you have to be mindful of these two keys for a safe and effective training.
Stick to a Plan of Gradual Transition
You should first build up your level of cardio fitness by engaging in a month of cardio work involving at least 20 minutes of cardio exercises, such as running on a treadmill at a moderate pace, 3 times a week. You can then gradually add a few interval training exercises into your workout, which can be increased as your tolerance increases.
You can, for example, start with your regular steady-state cardio workout, add two 30-second intervals of HIIT into the mix, and build your endurance from this point onwards. As your fitness conditioning improves, you can add more intervals until such time that these are included from beginning till end of your workout session.
You also have the opportunity to experiment with HIIT, a recommended strategy to gain maximum benefits from the training mode. At the start, for example, you can perform intervals at a lower intensity level or for a shorter period, which will provide your body with the opportunity to adapt to HIIT including building up your stamina. You can then gradually increase the intensity level and duration, when necessary.
Choose an Exercise That You Actually Enjoy
While this is true for most types of exercises – the more you enjoy the physical activity, whether it’s running on a treadmill or dancing to Zumba music, the more likely you will stick to it – it is doubly important in HIIT. With the intense demands placed on your body, you will probably give up all too soon on it when you don’t like the activity in the first place.
One of the best things about HIIT is that virtually any type of cardio exercise can be adapted to it. You can do HIIT with running, walking, and dancing, even on specialized programs like Cross-Fit, even mix several different exercises like burpees and walking.
Most important, always listen to your body instead of pushing it past its limits. You should ideally have a rest day from HIIT to allow your body to heal from the intense demands placed on it.