High-Intensity Interval Training is growing in popularity while benefiting the athlete with weight loss, lower levels of blood sugar and improved heart health. An added benefit for the busy athlete is it takes less time, only as little as 20- 30 minutes 3 times per week. As your muscles work at a higher level, outside your current comfort zone, they adapt, grow more resilient and stronger.

The best way to get the maximum results out of your HIIT training is to include aerobic, body weight and resistance training. Be sure to add some easy jumping jacks, high knees, light running on the spot and gentle spinning to warm up properly. Following your HIIT effort cool down with some gentle stretching, foam roller or yoga to help your muscles recover after your workout.

Run at a high intensity, about 80 per cent effort. Be sure to run within yourself, so you maintain proper form and controlled breathing. Be patient, you will soon see your body responding with added strength and performance. HIIT workouts are designed to push you at or near your max.

Remember you are unique as an athlete, listen to your body, challenge yourself but stay focused on each week becoming stronger and on staying injury free.

Think frequency, how many intervals are in each of your workouts. Then intensity, just how hard are you running and finally time how long is your interval with how much rest time.

Steele Williams from Train Fitness PT Courses suggests that you start your running work out with eight sets of 20 seconds at your current max effort interspersed with 10 seconds of rest.  Try these intervals two times per week, they can be run outside or on the treadmill.

Week two repeat the eight sets @20 seconds followed by 20 seconds of rest on two days per week. Give yourself some recovery days when you can swim, walk or do some yoga.

Week three add some additional speed by adding another day of intervals. This sprint session run done on a one to one basis 30 seconds of high intensity followed by 30 seconds of rest

To add some strength to your workout, include some body weight exercises. Great options are push-ups, squats and bear crawls. Weight machines are a start point and safe way to add some strength training to your HIIT Focus on lifting heavy with fewer reps. The heavier weights add intensity so cut the number of reps and move quickly between machines. Include core, upper body, arms and legs. Listen to your body, focus on becoming stronger and leaner while avoiding injury 

If you are bored on the treadmill, switch to the stationary bike or elliptical for your interval training. The real advantage of indoor interval training on machines is you can pre-set the duration and intensity of each interval. Set an intelligent level that matches your current level of fitness. A beginner cannot train at the same level as a high-performance athlete, to start. Given time we are all performance athletes.

The advantage of HIIT, you can choose various types of workouts and perform a wide variety of exercises which boost your motivation level.

By John Stanton – Running Room

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