Why should you do more HIIT workouts? We have turned to our BWW fitness crew to list some of the HITT benefits and how to make the best of your time sweating it out.
Let’s start at the beginning, HITT = High-Intensity Interval Training has a focus on quick high energy, all in bursts of activity paired with moments of rest or low-intensity movements & stretches.
The goal of HITT is to give your heart rate a spike and gets you working up a sweat and is mostly bodyweight and so you do not need weights or equipment, although it can be handy props. Through its do-it-anywhere ease and efficacy, it’s no surprise that HIIT is a favourite “stay in shape” go to work out.
Our own HITT master at BWW Raheem Glisten says that popularity is no accident as this method of training is amazing to get results as efficiently as possible.
HITT by definition has been designed to push determination, challenging your boundaries, smashing what you thought you were capable of and confronts your fitness threshold.
WARNING, THIS CAN GET ADDICTIVE: The endorphin and cortisol release from HIIT gives us a personal high and empowers our mental and physical ability and craving the next workout.
From burpees to sprints and squats, because HIIT workouts rely so intensely on your own body, it’s essential to make sure you’re training smart and, in a way, to avoid injury and maximise those well-earned results.
Fuelling before and after HIIT sessions is the first step to help you get the most out of your workout.
Eating Before a HIIT?
Done correctly HITT will see you at 80 to 95 per cent of your maximum heart rate so getting your energy tank full will help you perform at your very best. If you opt for fasted HIIT, you could feel fatigued and lightheaded. A Pre-workout HITT top-up should focus on carbohydrates with some protein. Carbs are the main source of that quick-burning energy that you’ll need to get the power to your muscles. The much-loved protein, on the other hand, will help you prime your muscles for intense exercise.
A few easy options for a PRE HIIT munch are:
• Banana or apple with almond butter
• Peanut butter on whole-wheat toast
• Low-fat Greek yoghurt topped with berries
Refuelling after a HIIT Workout!
Carbs are also your friend and quite essential after an intense HIIT session. Our bodies can store some of the carbohydrates we eat in the liver and muscles as glycogen. HOWEVER, during an intense activity such as HITT, most of these glycogen/energy stores become depleted. Intense exercise also breaks down muscle tissue and this will mean that protein after your workout will help you to repair damaged muscles.
For the best results aim for a 3-to-1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio, this combination gives the muscles exactly what they need to heal and could well improve your performance in your next workout. Here are a few ideas:
• Turkey on whole grain bread with sliced tomatoes
• One cup of low-fat chocolate milk
• Hummus with sliced veggies and pita bread
Recovery eating is in equal measure important WHEN & WHAT. The sooner you eat after a workout the better for muscle recovery. Strive to eat within 15 to 20 minutes of finishing a HIIT session.
Water | Water | Water
Proper hydration is also a must for any HIIT-er. You should drink plenty of water/fluids before, during and after workouts. If you’re active for an hour or more, use a sports drink to replenish lost electrolytes. Electrolytes, including potassium and sodium, are frequently lost through sweat during exercise. BEWARE of sugar content, opt for low / zero sugar options.
Fuelling for workouts is not a one-stop-shop, everyone is different. Your nutrient needs depend on the duration and intensity of your HIIT sessions. It is only natural that you will need more calories for a 90-minute workout than a 20-minute workout done at the same intensity levels.
Having a small “pick me up” snack an hour before HIIT, while others doing a longer workout may need a meal. It is important to experiment with your eating and note how you feel. Feeling and performing your best during a HITT class will largely depend on your nutrition!
If you have not tried it yet, Wednesday mornings we have a really fun HITT class right here at BWW.