When it comes to exercise trends, nothing’s more hip than HIIT these days. Exercisers are flocking to High Intensity Interval Training in record numbers, and for good reason: When done effectively, it burns more fat and calories than regular aerobic and steady-state workouts.
But like all forms of exercise, you can do too much of a good thing.
HIIT is designed to push you near your max capacity — essentially, to make your body scream “Uncle!” Exercising that intensely more than twice a week without proper programming and scheduled recovery could lead to injury. Conversely, if you’re breezing through multiple HIIT classes, you’re not actually HIIT training at all. Keep in mind, fifty percent intensity for twice the duration does not add up to one hundred percent when it comes to HIIT.
To avoid both pitfalls, follow a balanced workout routine that produces results while staving off boredom and burnout.
To simplify things, we’ve devised an easy-to-follow, SEVEN-DAY PLAN below. Try it out, and let us know how it works!
MONDAY: Burn 500 or Boot Camp
WHY NOW? You’re refreshed and energized from the weekend. It’s the ideal time to HIIT it hard. Remember, the operative word here is “intensity”: If you’re not draining your tank during these classes, you’re shorting yourself.
TUESDAY: Active recovery (1 hour or less)
WHY NOW? High-intensity exercise builds up lactic acid in your system, inhibiting athletic performance. The best way to clear it is through low-intensity aerobic activity. Walk, jog, bike or engage in any other form of cardio at an intensity that is just high enough to get your blood pumping. If, on a perceived exertion scale from 0-10, “0” is binge-watching Netflix and “10” is scaling Mt. Kilimanjaro, your perceived exertion should be a “3.”
WEDNESDAY: HumanSport, TRX, Gravity Truform, personal training, yoga or barre
WHY NOW? Yesterday’s recovery reduced the residual muscle fatigue you were experiencing from Monday’s high-intensity workout. In short, the time’s ripe for strength training.
THURSDAY: Day off
WHY NOW? Unless you’re prepping for the Olympic trials, there’s no reason — or benefit — to work out four days in a row. Remember, rest helps you recover, get stronger and perform better.
FRIDAY: Burn 500 or Boot Camp.
WHY NOW? After a day off, your recuperated self will seize the challenge of a second high-intensity workout.
SATURDAY: Tempo cardio
WHY NOW? On the heels of HIIT, your body can handle this exercise: 4-6 10-minute intervals at a perceived exertion of 6-7, with a 90-second rest between intervals. Tempo cardio enhances your performance for future HIIT workouts, because it’s designed to increase your fitness level. Maintain a hard but sustainable pace. You should be able to speak a few sentences but not, say, debate politics.
SUNDAY: Day off
WHY NOW? If you follow our schedule faithfully, you don’t need to work out more than five days a week. Nor will you do your body any favors by pushing it. Kick back and enjoy your day off. You’ve earned it.