Are HIIT Workouts Effective?

When it comes to weight loss, increasing stamina and endurance levels, and toning your body, HIIT exercise is by far the most effective exercise. The process is unlike the traditional ideas of spending an hour or so in the gym. No, your High-Intensity Interval Training will be over in a matter of minutes and you’ll be on your way. On your way to a fat burn that lasts for hours that is!

Working Out to The Max Isn’t for Everybody

The fact is there is no other exercise like it. However, I should warn you upfront, that not everybody is up to these sessions. True HIIT workouts are over in about 15 minutes, but you’ve spent half that time exerting your muscles and body to the absolute maximum. I like to compare it with seeing how fast you can do sprints for very short distances. When you’ve gone all out for 15 seconds, you’re out of wind and your panting for breath. Now take a 15-20 second breather and do it again.

man running sprints for hiit exercise
All HIIT exercises are like doing short and powerful sprints

You will find people who say the results are not phenomenal, but these are people who have confused interval training with high intensity training. Interval training is great, but when you add the extreme exertion levels to it, the results can’t fail. You will shape up, lose weight, increase focus, and build stamina in record time.

I have an idea that most of the people who think HIIT isn’t that effective have never 1)done it correctly or 2)dismissed the idea because they can’t believe 15 minutes a couple of times a week could be productive? Let’s take a look at why they may not be any more effective than what you know and rely on already.

Not Putting in the Effort

Make no mistake, these workouts are so tough many people never even finish the first session. And to tell you the truth, most people, no matter their present physical condition, need to plan on working up to the max exertion levels and short burst. Check out this post to see who this exercise is good for.

You can do the work because it’s only for seconds.

The thing about these all-out sprints of whatever exercise you choose, the best thing when you’re doing them, is they are short! You simply go all out for a few seconds, and rest, and go all out again, never lasting more than 15 minutes. Exercising and stressing your body and mind like this for more than 15 minutes at the time will actually cause the workout to lose its effectiveness.

But the 15 seconds demand a lot from your body.

But Keep in mind, that the 15 minutes requires all you have to give or more. There just can’t be anything held back. It’s this unyielding and complete effort that brings effectiveness. You may think you’re struggling, panting, and gasping for air because you are that far out of shape, but there is no conditioning to stop this. In fact, as your lungs and heart do condition to HIIT, you continue to raise the bar because you are still giving it your all.

You Waste Your Effort Training Too Long

I have a really bad habit of thinking if a little is good — how good will a lot be? That’s not true with HIIT workouts at all! It’s essential to remember that the effectiveness is all within 15 minutes of busting your ass. You can cut the time, but if you’re going longer than that, there’s a good chance you are holding out.

It may take time to learn to go full blast.

If done correctly, there is little chance that anyone at all can go for an hour, and in fact, there’s no point. This exercise is not about training long. If you can go past 15 minutes, consider that you aren’t working hard enough and up your game. It’s all about doing super extreme and intense workouts for short burst of time and energy to get your body and mind lean and fit.

Training Too Often Kills the Results.

When you first get started with HIIT, if you are doing any other forms of exercise, once a week is all you need. In fact, if you already have a regime that includes resistance training and cardio every week, you may never do it more than once a week.

You won’t be able to miss the fact that your stamina is increasing and you are becoming more fit and leaner. You will notice these pretty quickly, in a couple of weeks, if you already have a regular exercise program going. You will know for yourself if you want to add more sessions to your schedule.

The workouts are so intense your body needs rest days.

It is important to remember that these workouts involve your entire body. They aren’t like doing legs one day and arms the next to give your legs a rest. With HIIT, it is vital to have plenty of rest because of the intensity. You will know for yourself when it’s time to move up to 3 or perhaps 4 times a week. You will always find it better to spread these days out, even if you choose to do it more than once a week.

Use traditional workouts the rest of the week.

One of the biggest mistakes beginners can make is trying to do these daily. Another thing is HIIT takes so much out of you, you will be tempted to quit altogether doing it too often. You will find yourself tired and drained and decide they aren’t that good and quit altogether. So, forget training too often, be sure to include rest days, and the effects will be undeniable.

Not Enough Recovery Time

Not the rest time between days but rather making the rest interval too short. First of all, having sufficient time to rest after a super intense work interval is a must. And I have a clue that if your rest interval is short, your work interval needs improvement anyway.

It’s my opinion that the rest interval should be from 15-30 seconds. And note that those can be longer for beginners.(If you’re working out on cardio equipment, doing sprints, or walking, you don’t really need to stop — just slow down) But you must remember this in interval training with two intervals: work and rest.

If you aren’t stopping after 15 seconds, you’re likely doing it wrong.

Moving from interval to interval with no rest, the effectiveness of this type of exercise is lost. That’s because no one can go all out forever. The ability to go all out stems from taking the rest time and starting again. It takes %100 and %80 is a different technique altogether.

HIIT revs up your heart and lungs.

During the work interval, your heart is pumping all it can to provide oxygen to the body. You then need the rest interval to allow your heart to slow down just a little. This maximizes your effort. However, if you stop for a bottle of water, and lounge around for 2 minutes, you’ve defeated the purpose?

Work on getting the intervals equal at about 15-20 seconds each and watch your fitness and stamina change before your eyes.

Not Taking HIIT Seriously

Of course, the biggest mistake you can make is not doing high intensity interval training at all. Like anything else in life, the best results come from working at it until you get a feel for what you are doing.

This exercise should take 20-30 minutes when you include your warmup time.

Think about it, it only takes 15 minutes out of your life to get the workout. I mean, 15 minutes once a week produces results. I feel confident in saying everybody can schedule a time for exercise one or two times a week?

Whatever form of exercise you chose to do for fitness and health, the best thing to do is schedule your life around it. When you stop trying to work in exercise and start working in the rest of life, results show up that you never dreamed possible.

Failing to Warm Up Beforehand

Not only will you lose the effectiveness of HIIT, but you risk serious injury when you don’t warm up cold muscles beforehand. Even though this post is concerning warming up to run, there’s good info that can be translated to any form of exercise.

Be assured that doing HIIT with cold muscles isn’t a great idea, and can likely cause injuries. Things like sprains and pulled muscles can be prevented with 5 minutes of warming up before you start. This is true for any exercise you engage in, but especially true here.

I like to warm up on a treadmill before giving it my all for a few minutes.

If you are doing your training in a gym try walking on the treadmill or riding a stationary bike for 5 minutes. Not all out, and not leisurely, just exercise your joints and muscles. You will get your heart and all other muscles warm, on notice that something is about to happen and ready to pump.

Training on an Empty Stomach

Fasted cardio is a thing, but this isn’t it. You need something in your stomach to provide energy for the workout. The best solution is to eat a light meal about an hour or so before your workout. Eating healthy before a workout is going to raise your blood sugar levels enough to provide the energy for before and after you exercise.

I read about exercise and insulin spikes and all of that, but don’t worry about it. The workout is so intense and hard that your body will be burning up fat stores to keep the energy levels up.

Poor Form Negates the Effectiveness

It doesn’t matter what type of exercise, good form is always the key to effectiveness.

You always risk injury without making good form a priority to your workouts. It usually takes thinking about form and practicing it for a while before it becomes natural and a habit. Doing HIIT workouts requires good form more as much or more than any, and do not put speed over form.

Form is more important than speed. Get it right for safety sakes.

If you’re not sure about form for any exercise you are doing, google it. There’s plenty of information on the web about form for anything you’re doing.

Maintaining proper form even while exercising at a very high pace is vital to success. Doing them in poor form makes for less effective workouts and risk of injury.

Conclusion

HIIT is not hanging out with your friends in the gym and doing half baked workouts. It is hard and all out work for a few minutes. So, don’t waste your effort! Avoid these 9 mistakes and you’ll find out for yourself in short order, that these workouts are the most effective way to exercise.

Take your workouts and exercise to the next level and get shredded and fit with HIIT. You will feel so much better and look so much better in 3 – 4 weeks, that you’ll be sold forever.

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