With gyms closing again and the weather getting colder (in Illinois at least) many of us are working out in our homes. This change always brings up questions like “how do I workout at home with little to no equipment” or “what type of workouts should I be doing?” I know there is a ton of information out there, some of which isn’t always correct, so I want to help set the record straight.
Let me introduce interval training. This is something I love adding into my “normal” workout routine and something I also get a ton of questions on because there are so many ways to incorporate intervals into a workout. For now, let’s focus on HIIT.
What is it?
HIIT, also known as High Intensity Interval Training, is when you alternate between high and low intensity movements. You can also alternate between high intensity movements and periods of rest during a HIIT workout.
What does a HIIT workout look like?
The most common form of HIIT is Tabata: 20 seconds of high intensity work followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times for a total of 4 minutes. This is not supposed to be an easy 4 minutes and will definitely get your heart rate up.
However, there are many other ways you can do a HIIT style workout. For example, the high intensity intervals can last anywhere from 10 – 60 seconds and the low intensity or rest periods can last anywhere from 10 seconds to a minute or more.
If you don’t usually do high intensity training, start off slow by giving yourself longer rest periods. Also, remember to always listen to your body during the workout. Yes, this workout is supposed to be challenging but if you feel like you’re going to throw up, you’ve pushed yourself to far.
What movements can I pick?
The best thing about HIIT workouts is that you can choose just about any movement you would like! My suggestion is to pick movements you enjoy doing or movements that relate to a goal you have set for yourself.
I also suggest only doing movements that you are 100% confident in. With the fast pace related to this style of workout your form in each movement is crucial. For example, if you don’t run please don’t pick sprints or if you have knee pain when squatting please don’t pick jump squats.
What does it do for the body?
A few benefits of HIIT style workouts include strengthening the cardiovascular system, improving one’s ability to tolerate high intensity work, challenging fast twitch muscle fibers, and developing mental toughness (20 seconds is a long time, trust me).
How often can I do a HIIT workout?
With high intensity workouts also comes stress on the body. This stress can temporarily increase hormones like testosterone, epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisol, aldosterone, and growth hormone. Therefore, I would not suggest doing a HIIT workout every day.
How often you do a HIIT workout depends on how many days a week you normally exercise, what your exercise-related goals are, and how your body is feeling. Realistically, one to two HIIT workouts per week is all you need.
Hopefully, this helped, and was able to clear up any confusion you might have on interval training. Plus, you’ll be able to switch up your intervals and create new workouts all winter long! Want more on home workouts? Check out my post titled 5 Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do at Home.