High intensity interval training (HIIT) is excellent for fat loss and boosting your stamina. If your objective is to increase the oxidative capacity of your muscles and get shredded, you cannot go wrong with HIIT.
Or can you?
In this article we will look at 9 of the most common mistakes people make when engaging in high intensity workouts. Be mindful of them and steer clear of these pitfalls. This will allow you to get the best rewards from all that sweaty effort and exhaustion.
1. Not enough effort
HIIT workouts are tough. There is no denying that. The good news is that they are not long workouts. Ideally, you should not train for more than 15 minutes. Beyond that and diminishing returns will set in.
During the 15 minutes you are training, you must work with maximum intensity. You absolutely must not hold back. Give it your all/best.
It is normal to gasp and pant and groan. That is just how it is. Not expending maximum effort will diminish the effectiveness of your workout.
2. Training too long
As mentioned earlier, try to stick to 15 to 20 minutes or less.
The Tabata Protocol, which is considered as one of the most effective HIIT workouts lasts for only 4 minutes, and that’s 40seconds hard followed by a 20 rest/very quick recovery.
Unless your well trained or experienced at HIIT training and doing it properly, you cant train at a high intensity for an hour. Hardly anybody can and you don’t need to. Short, intense sessions are the key to getting lean and fit.
3. Training too often
When your starting off, you can do HIIT twice a week. As you get fitter, you may go up to 3 or 4 times a week. Always try to have a one-day break between each HIIT sessions. Spreading them out is better than doing them consecutively.
Many beginners try to do them daily and end up exhausted and drained. The workouts become dreary and there will be a tendency to skip workouts and finally quit. So, take a break.
4. Insufficient recovery time/too much recovery time
You need sufficient rest intervals between each exercise. Ideally, a 15 to 30 second break will do before you move on to the next exercise in your set. If you go from exercise to exercise with no rest, you will be too tired to give your best.
The rest is meant for your heart to slow down a little so that you can give your maximum effort in the next round. On the flip side of the coin, don’t have a 2-minute interval between each exercise. That is too much time for the workout to be effective.
5. Not prioritising the workouts
The biggest mistake of all is not working out. Prioritise your HIIT workouts over your TV time, social media, etc. All you need is 15 minutes. That is just 1 percent of your day. Everybody has time for a quick HIIT session.
6. Using weights that are too heavy
HIIT is about speed. If your weights are too heavy, you’ll be struggling to move the weights. So, pick a weight that will allow you to do about 15 reps in quick succession during your training phase. HIIT is not the same as training for hypertrophy.
7. Not warming up
Spend 2 minutes walking on the treadmill or cycling on the stationary bike. Get your heart pumping a little. Doing a HIIT workout with cold muscles is not a good idea.
8. Training on an empty stomach
HIIT is NOT fasted cardio. Eat a light meal about an hour prior to your workout or have a banana. This will raise your blood sugar levels a little and you’ll have more energy for your workout.Don’t worry about insulin spikes, etc. The workouts are so hard that you’ll burn through the fat stores in no time at all.
9. Poor form
Never sacrifice form for speed. Maintain good form at a high pace. Doing the exercises with poor form will make them less effective and you may get injured.
These 9 mistakes are to be avoided at all cost. Its inevitable for some of them to creep up when your not expecting it especially poor form and too much recovery time. These occur when your exhausted.
So, be alert and watch out for them. Use HIIT to get shredded and fit. You’ll look and feel better than you’ve ever felt in 3 to 4 weeks.
Thanks for reading.
From the team at RP Performance.