How Often Should You Do HIIT Workouts?

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High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has grown in popularity over the past few years.

HIIT is a type of interval training that alternates between short bursts of high-intensity exercise and brief periods of rest or recovery. HIIT can be done with any type of activity, but is most commonly done with cardio activities – our favourites being running, biking and rowing.

HIIT has been shown to be an effective way to burn fat and improve cardiovascular fitness in a shorter amount of time than traditional endurance training – partly because it’s such a fantastic way to increase your VO2 Max.

But how often should you do HIIT workouts? 

When you plan your HIIT exercise program, aim cautious. Never do HIIT workouts every day. Doing this daily can lead to injury and muscle burn-out due to the high intensity of HIIT workouts. Muscles need time to recover. Therefore, an ideal workout plan can include 2 to 3 HIIT workouts per week – but no more. 

HIIT workouts are not just for professional athletes. We can all benefit – so let’s see how:

Do HIIT 2 To 3 Times Weekly

How often should you do HIIT workouts?

HIIT workouts are, by definition, super intense.

Unfortunately, some people think the more you exercise, the better the results. However, it would be best if you gradually ease your way into it. You should only do HIIT workouts about two to three times a week. No more! 

On the days you don’t do HIIT, you can focus on steady-state cardio or resistance training. Always schedule rest days in between to avoid overusing your muscles. You can’t weight train your legs today and then do HIIT sprints tomorrow.

Nope, not a good idea! Your muscles need proper recovery time. 

So if you do HIIT sprints today, do a yoga session tomorrow, and your leg session the day after to ensure proper recovery. You can also schedule a yoga session or low-intensity steady-state cardio on your days off if you have already done two or three HIIT workouts during the week. 

For optimal results, you might even combine HIIT with some low heart rate training.

What Are The Benefits Of HIIT Workouts? 

HIIT workouts are a great way to turbo-charge results if you want to experience a considerable amount of exercise and its benefits.

There are some clear advantages to HIIT training:

Cardiovascular Benefits

A HIIT workout program will benefit your heart and overall metabolic and cardiovascular health by decreasing risk factors. It can prevent diseases like cholesterol and high blood pressure. HIIT workouts improve your aerobic and anaerobic performance, which is directly measurable via a VO2 Max calculator.

If you’re looking to boost your stamina for an upcoming race, a streak of HIIT training can work wonders.

It Helps You Lose Fat

A percentage of people that do HIIT workouts do it to lose excess fat.

HIIT workouts are trendy among those who wish to reduce fat and increase their metabolism. HIIT workouts help you burn calories in a shorter time than conventional exercises. It can also reduce your waist circumference – otherwise known as ‘trimming the belly fat‘!

It May Increase Muscle Mass

HIIT workouts improve cardiovascular health and can also strengthen and condition muscles. In certain people, HIIT workouts can increase muscle mass in the muscles primarily worked.

HIIT Workouts Can Manage Blood Sugar

1 in 10 adults has diabetes in America.

The risk factor of diabetes is high – 1 in 3 people are at risk of suffering from diabetes. Living an unhealthy lifestyle with no exercise makes you a candidate for contracting diabetes. Doing HIIT workouts will benefit you by improving your blood sugar. HIIT workouts can also improve your insulin resistance. 

It Can Improve Mental Well-Being

Many people suffer from mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Psychiatrists always recommend regular exercise to improve your mood. The latter helps your body release endorphins. This chemical can decrease stress and anxiety.

So, HIIT workouts may improve your mental well-being too.

Are There Any Disadvantages To Doing HIIT? 

There are some disadvantages to consider when you do HIIT workouts.

High-intensity exercise is not for everybody, so be careful. It can cause dizziness and muscle injury.

Before doing HIIT workouts, please consult your medical doctor about whether it’s safe for you. 

If you have joint pain or joint issues, you should not be jumping too much and rather do low-impact knee-friendly exercises to avoid further damage. Remember, with HIIT workouts; there’s a higher risk of injury. You need to pay attention to form and not overdo it.

HIIT should only be done two to three times a week. Pushing yourself too far is likely to have a negative impact – for example, by damaging mitochondria, the little energy generators found in every cell of your body.

You may also want to consider a post-workout supplement plan to speed up your recovery from regular HIIT sessions.

How Can I Start Doing HIIT Workouts?

HIIT Plan

You can’t just jump into HIIT workouts without being prepared.

Well, you can… but it’s likely to end in injury.

By starting slow, you can avoid injury. Consider before doing a HIIT workout:

  • Start your HIIT workout slow – For example, you can do an exercise for 20 seconds full-out and rest for 40 – 60 seconds. 
  • Warming up is pivotal to every exercise regime, whether you are a professional or a beginner. Always warm up all major joints to prevent injury. You can also take a jog to get your legs ready for action!
  • Always aim for reps – keeping track of your reps is essential. Try and push for higher reps during your next HIIT workout. It’s a great way to challenge yourself. 
  • Get an interval timer – there’s no time to glance at a clock or watch now and then to check your progress or remaining time. An interval timer is ideal for HIIT workouts since you will be notified when to start and rest. 
  • Don’t do HIIT workouts every day. Only two to three days a week, with enough rest between your training days. Remember, your muscles need enough time to recover. Proper recovery will help decrease the risk of injury.

How Often Should I Do HIIT?

HIIT workouts are the ultimate full-body workout. You can lose weight, strengthen your muscles and keep your body toned.

It improves your aerobic and anaerobic performance, improves your overall well-being, and also relieves stress. 

You can benefit from HIIT by doing it two to three times a week… but no more!

Author Profile

Alex Randall

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Alex is the editor at Revel Sports. It was his idea to take our post-club-run chats and build a website out of them. He is responsible for dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s when any of us have something to post. (Basically: it’s all his fault). A ferocious 5K powerhouse on his day, Alex is known for not understanding the meaning of the term ‘negative split‘.
Alex Randall

Revel SPorts Contributor

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