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​How To Tell If HIIT Workouts Are For You

Similar to music, fashion and dieting, fitness and exercise are parts of our lives that can go through trendy periods; case in point: it took nearly 100 years for the Pilates method to become popular. Another example is the Zumba dance craze, which as of late 2017 was still going strong. A similar situation is being observed in relation to high intensity interval training, a system that has been gaining popularity in recent years.

Like Pilates, yoga or martial arts routines, HIIT workouts are not actually new; they originated in the 1970s by physiologists and Olympic coaches who sought to maximize athletic performance by combining cardiovascular routines with anaerobic exercises. Initial research into HIIT routines determined that conditioning athletes to manage their maximal oxygen uptake capacity resulted in optimal performance.

To a great extent, the physical training conducted by infantry units incorporates HIIT elements because soldiers always expect to face intense situations. HIIT is not for everyone; in fact, there is a misconception among some individuals who are attracted to the idea of packing a lot of physical activity in just 20 minutes, but the reality of HIIT is that it may be too physically demanding for people who do not approach it the right way.

Finding Your HIIT Purpose

Although there are HIIT routines for just about every fitness goal, you should focus on losing fat, toning up and improving stamina if you are just getting started. It is better to begin with an existing workout; running is a good start. If you have not exercised in awhile, jump on a treadmill and walk for 30 minutes; after doing this for a few days you can start jogging.

After two weeks, you should be ready for HIIT: reduce your session to 15 minutes and start sprinting for 30 seconds followed by two minutes of walking, then sprint again for 30 seconds. You may not be able to complete 10 minutes in your first session, but this will be a good start.

Pacing Yourself

If you were previously able to jog for 30 minutes, you should be able to manage a 15 HIIT treadmill after a couple of weeks. If you feel exhausted, take a day off; HIIT is not meant to be a daily routine for beginners. You may feel more comfortable on a modern exercise bike that allows you to program a HIIT routine; in essence, this would be similar to completing intermediate spin sessions. Keep in mind that HIIT is supposed to be hard, which means that you should put in maximum effort during your 30-second sprints; if you feel discomfort during your sessions, extend your walking or slow cycling period to four minutes.

The HIIT Benefits

One of the major reasons why HIIT has become so popular is because it has been proven to be very effective in terms of burning fat, at least when compared to other exercise routines. You will not want to stick with HITT; once you are able to complete 30 minute sessions, you may want to add a different routine to complete your workout. Take a 10-minute break following a HIIT session so that you can do between 20 and 30 minutes of moderate yoga or Pilates. The benefit in this case is that your stamina will increase as your body gets used to HIIT; cross-training with Pilates, yoga or traditional calisthenics will help you with strength and toning. HIIT is the best pre workout for strength training, but you should do this with a partner or a personal trainer.

In the end, you will be able to tell if HIIT is for you if you feel yourself becoming more proficient. Don't worry too much about measuring your fat loss; if your stamina is increasing, your body will start displacing fat tissue with lean muscle. If endurance is your goal, HIIT will not help you too much; you will be better off with only one HIIT session per week; the rest of your running or cycling sessions should be longer and faster.

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