How often should you really do HIIT workouts?

Everyone desires to be healthy and fit. Who doesn’t? Staying in shape doesn’t just benefit you physically, but it will also boost the inner you. It does provide you with a more positive life outlook, and give you the confidence to socialize and create new, meaningful relationships with friends. Most importantly, the very difficult process of achieving your fitness goals will teach you endurance and perseverance – two virtues that you can translate to any facets of your daily life.

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But the dilemma that fitness enthusiasts and athletes face is the value of time. If you are already a working professional who logs in an average of eight to ten hours at the workplace, chances are you won’t have enough time to put in a couple of hours at the gym. The same can be said for students who devote half of their day at school. Of course, you can still run around the neighborhood early in the morning or late at night. But if are preparing for an upcoming football try-out in your school or there is an upcoming basketball tournament you want to participate in, a 15-minute jogging routine won’t cut it. You need to commit a four to five days in the gym, or find a quicker yet effective way to produce better results.  

Well, don’t you worry! We have seen how different kinds of training regimen have evolved throughout the years. One of the routines that is gaining a lot of attention these days is the High-Intensity Interval Training, or more known as the HIIT. This routine helps you burn the same amount of calories you are shredding during a long cardio or endurance workout. But the factor that makes HIIT so unique is the fact that you just need 15-25 minutes to finish it. Trainers look at it as arguably the most time-efficient way to increase your body’s endurance and tolerance to higher intensity levels of exercise.

I get it. You’re probably asking yourself if HIIT is really effective. After all, we see so many seven-minute exercise videos online that many trainers don’t recommend to their athletes. Most of those videos were made to temporarily motivate and engage, but not to produce results. The HIIT routine isn’t anything similar to those misleading exercise tutorials. HIIT drills are not made to make you feel good, but to always expand what your body can do and endure during each and every workout.

If you are a bit intrigued and want to include HIIT drills in your training regimen, there are two options that you can choose. You can either alternate between high and low intensity drills, or you can put a short span of rest in between high intensity drills. If you’re only starting with HIIT, I would suggest that you opt for having recovery periods as intervals between the drills. You should know that doing high intensity drills will really increase your heart rate and force you to reach the highest tolerance that your body can endure. But the advantage you get from that is you constantly exceed your limitations with each workout, especially in terms of cardiovascular endurance and agility.

However, you should also be careful in incorporating HIIT drills to your training, especially if you are just introducing it to your routine. You wouldn’t want to put too much burden on your body, right? Not only will it result to longer recovery periods, but it can also lead to injuries. So to answer the question of how often should you do HIIT workouts, here are a few essential suggestions and tips for you to be aware of.

1. Only start HIIT workouts after a few weeks of regular exercise

As you probably have an idea right now, HIIT workouts are not here just to make you sweat. One example of a common high-intensity drill is sprinting. If you have not jogged or have not put in some work on the treadmill for almost a year, you cannot push yourself to sprint right away. There is too much downside to that. Worse, there is also a tendency that you might overstretch your muscles, leading to strains or sprains. Since these are high intensity exercises, you first need to condition your body before you take on HIIT workouts.

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There are a number of light exercises you can do every day before you take on higher levels of training. You can always run light early in the morning to build up your cardio, or even do power walking consistently. Those two very easy routines will not just increase your endurance, but will also provide you with a starting point for boosting your lower body strength. But the essential thing to remember is that you have to do it consistently. There are some gym-goers who put in their maximum effort for a day, then fail to exercise for three days. You just can’t do that. Consistency, as we will discuss more closely in the next point, has been an underrated key to achieving fitness goals. It doesn’t matter if you start slow as you can never rush the process. If you put in the commitment and discipline, you can do a lot more than other people do.

2. Never ever rush the process

I understand that you are serious with your goals, and you want to produce as much results as possible. But you can never stay too close to the sun, or else it will burn you. You can also apply that on your difficult journey to reach optimum performance as an athlete. Many trainers believe that the process should be slow and steady. It shouldn’t be the other way around. Consistency is the key to unlocking your full potential. There are some aspiring athletes who panic when they don’t see the results they are expecting after just a couple of weeks. The tendency is that they will overexercise in their next workout, which will then force them to spend several days to recover because they introduced too much amount of stress to their body. Due to the prolonged recovery period they had to go through just to alleviate the soreness they feel in their body, their progress goes back to zero.

So, the bottomline is that you should not be hesitant in starting slow. There's no problem with it because that's actually the right way for you to be effective and efficient in your workouts. Remember that working smart is always better than just working hard. 

3. Be careful in increasing the volume of your workout drills

Is there a thing such as exercising too much? If you don’t pass out during your workout, that should not be overtraining, right? Well, it’s time to put away those faulty ideas. Overtraining is a real thing, and it can lead to decreased performance and lesser results if you keep on doing it. The scary thing is you may not even be aware that you are working out too much, especially if you’re going to a gym without the assistance of a personal trainer.  Adding volume doesn’t directly translate to improvement in results, as indicated in an overtraining study done by Les Mills research.

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“When it comes to HIIT, adding volume doesn’t deliver better results, it actually hinders. To get the full benefits of HIIT and prevent overreaching, our recommendation is to maximize your weekly HIIT sessions that are above 90 percent maximum heart rate to 30-40 minutes and balance them with other, less demanding, workouts.”

Your body can only take so much stress, so you don’t want to push it too far. As we have mentioned a lot of times in this article, consistency is still the key in doing HIIT workouts. While HIIT is designed to push your body to its limits, you should also know not to take any shortcuts and remember that the pattern to improvement should be a progressive one. 

4. Two to three days of HIIT inclusion in your weekly workout is recommended

To make the most buck out of your weekly training, you have to mix it up. Targeting just one area of your body will not just increase injury tendency, but will also pull down your overall performance. For example, doing a lot of weight lifting will also require you to put in maximum effort in agility training. You need lower body and core strength in weights training, and you can achieve that through agility workouts.

 It’s not advisable that you always include HIIT drills to each workout you will do. A thrice-a-week inclusion of HIIT drills to your training is recommended by most trainers, especially if you’re just starting with it. The amount of minutes of each HIIT workout should also start from the ground up. For starters, you might want to log in 15 minutes. You should also give your some time to adapt to the high intensity level that these drills offer. Then as you grow more accustomed to the intensity, you can now do a 25-30-minute HIIT training.

So what should you do in between HIIT workouts? While resting your body is still a proper way of getting it ready and fresh for the next scheduled workout, an active recovery process could be a better option. You can go back to light jogging as your recovery, or even try out a yoga class so that you can work on your core strength, flexibility and balance. Always remember that holistic training of the body and of the mind is the best way to reach your optimum fitness goals.

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So, if you're a high school team coach, a determined athlete or just an avid fitness junkie, putting in more time to include HIIT drills and agility training will absolutely help you reach your ultimate goals! Do you want your players to be at their peak performance? Is it your burning desire to take your game to the streets and show off what you can do on the basketball court? Then visiting the ZOID Academy is the way to go! 

If you are curious and determined to try how agility training can advance your overall performance, you can visit ZOID Academy to learn all about it! With over hundreds of specific exercises and drills to work out your agility and flexibility, we can assure you that you’ll never regret the moment you decided to choose ZOID. It even has a number of tutorial videos of agility drills that you can follow! You just have to go to the site, watch the tutorials, take down notes and then get ready to include the drills to your workout!

 Players, trainers, coaches or gym owners, visiting the Movements and Drills page is the right thing to do!







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