Things To Consider When Training Using The HIIT Method

By GetFitFocus

It’s not about speed when performing the sprints or the active cardio of your HIIT workout. It is more about whether you are maxing out your potential. In other words, there’s a good chance that you are going to find yourself slowing down somewhat as you reach the later stages of your routine. Don’t worry if that happens.

Wearing a fitness tracker or running watch can help you with this. Something like the Garmin Vivoactive will provide the best of both worlds by acting as a fitness tracker throughout the day but acting as a running watch during training. This will let you monitor your route and your metrics.

Your maximum heart rate is something you can calculate quite easily. Simply go for a sprint or engage in fitness activity with maximum effort. Monitor your heart rate and find where it never goes beyond a certain point. This point is your max heart rate. It’s what you should be aiming to hit whenever you perform the high intensity portions of these workouts. The speed is less important. You can also use this point to work out at 70% of your MHR. This should be your fat burning zone.

Should You Run Outside

While HIIT itself is fairly simple to grasp, there are actually a lot of different factors to consider. For example, you need to decide whether to use exercise machines. You can choose to avoid them and train outside instead as an option. If you’re going to use running in your HIIT program you have to decide. Should you use a treadmill or should you head outside and jog and sprint?  The answer is up to you, and both have their advantages.

What’s key is to recognize the different benefits of each and therefore to be able to make the best decision for yourself. Some people will look down on exercise machines. There are indeed a number of problems with these. For starters, they prevent you from getting outside which in itself has a huge number of different health benefits. Also, you’ll find that running outside has the advantage of training your legs harder because it utilize different bio-mechanics.

That’s because running on a pavement or grass will require pulling force generated in your legs as you have to pull your body along the ground. Conversely, when you run on a treadmill, you will only need to lift your legs off the ground as the treadmill moves underneath you. As such, there is actually less effort involved in running on a treadmill.

Running outside is also a lot more varied. While it’s possible to alter the angle and the pace on a treadmill, it’s still going to involve selecting from one of a number of different positions and sticking with it. When you run outside meanwhile, you are forced to constantly adapt to changes in the shape of the ground, to the gradient you are running on and more.

Should You Use a Machine For Cardio

This doesn’t mean there is no place at all for running on a treadmill. For starters, running on a treadmill is a good option if you have a bad knee or any other limiting injury.

Running at a fixed incline is a good way to reduce the strain on the knees and many people will thus prefer to stick to a treadmill so that they can control this facet. Better yet for bad knees or back complaints is to ride a stationary ‘recumbent bike’. Bikes have zero impact, which makes them better for those with joint complaints. A recumbent bike meanwhile is a type of bike that has you leaning backward with your legs outstretched in front of you.

This in turn means that you aren’t placing any weight on your legs or your spine and can simply concentrate on driving the pedals. CV machines are also great for training when you can’t be bothered to head outside because it’s raining or cold and if you’re someone who will struggle to be motivated in this regard, then you should consider that a very big bonus.

It’s always better to perform an easier form of exercise and stick with it, than it is to perform a more challenging form but then give up after the first week!

Lastly, running on machines will give you the ability to precisely control the level of challenge. That means that you can monitor the exact speed you’re able to maintain and estimate your calorie burn. Some will even include heart rate monitors or synchronize with external gadgets to perform this job. All this is ideal for HIIT because it means you can run for exactly 1 minute at a very precise speed.

Incorporating Fasted Cardio

There is a way you can increase your calorie burn significantly simply by changing the time of day that you train. This technique is called ‘fasted cardio’ and it involves training first thing in the morning before breakfast.

This is called ‘fasted’ cardio because your body is in a fasted state.While you haven’t been consciously starving yourself, you will not have eaten for a while merely as a result of having been asleep all night. This means that your body will be very low on energy reserves as your glycogen stores and blood sugar are all but depleted.

You’ll have higher levels of cortisol as a result, which is why many of us are cranky in the morning and it’s even one of the things that actually wakes us up! Cortisol is one of our ‘wakefulness’ neurotransmitters and works in direct opposition to melatonin. If you train at this point before breakfast, you’ll be training at a massive calorie deficit and you’ll be forced to burn more fat.

Unfortunately, this also means you’re more likely to burn muscle.This is mitigated to some extent by performing HIIT rather than steady state cardio and especially if you are using concurrent training. If your goal is simply weight loss, then go for it! Just make sure to give yourself a few minutes after getting up so your spine is less vulnerable to injury.


There are few training programs as dynamic as HIIT training, but as you can see there are many things you can do to enhance the training as well as some considerations you should think about — like how to implement the cardio parts of the training.

Remember your goals and ensure to tailor your HIIT workouts so that they are the most beneficial to you and work in tandem with your fitness level.

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