Looking to gain muscle? Or drop weight efficiently? Or both? Well, then good ole HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) should quickly become your gym buddy. “When you integrate HIIT into your training you can expect big things,” says Joshua Carter, personal trainer and Fit Body Boot Camp owner (who’s fat-loss programs have helped people across the country and around the world lose over 200,000 pounds of fat in 2015 alone!). “For one, your workouts will be exponentially more efficient. You will gain more muscle, more strength and lose more fat in LESS time. Yes, more results in LESS time. You see, you can work out long or you can workout hard – but you can’t do both. So your HITT workouts should be brief but intense. HIIT workouts demand big intensity, and in turn delivers big results.” Big results? Yes, please. Read on for Carter’s simple but powerful switch ups to take your HIIT routine to even greater heights.
1. Don’t sit down
Chronic gym texters and iPod scrollers, we’re looking at you. “Simply don’t sit down between sets. We call this ‘active rest.’ Use low skill movements to increase heart rate (but not too high). A good example would be a treadmill at a high incline or rowing at a moderate pace. Keep the intensity relatively low, but high enough to keep your heart rate up. This will clear lactic acid efficiently allowing you to push your workout to new heights,” advises Carter. Learn more about how to maximize your active rest periods here.
2. Use a timer
Yes, really. Whether it’s a high-tech watch, timer or even your phone, having a personal timer at the gym can give your workout a serious boost. “Download a workout timer app on your phone and set it to go off at certain intervals. So if you were doing bodyweight squats the timer would be to set for 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off. Work as hard as you can for 30 seconds and catch your breath during the 30 seconds rest. Repeat for 8-12 rounds and your metabolism will be on fire,” explains Carter. And while you’re on that hunt for the perfect workout timer (if that whole lugging a kitchen timer to the gym the old-fashioned way ain’t your thing…), check out 5 of the best health apps for fitness junkies.
3. Pair non-competing movements
You’ll start doing this regularly after you see how useful this easy but potent workout swap can be: “My absolute favorite way to incorporate HIIT into my client’s workouts is to couple non-competing movements (movements that do not use the same muscle groups.) So, for example you could couple a lower body move with an upper body move or a pushing movement coupled with a pulling movement,” offers Carter. “So let’s take the bench press. To kick that up you can pair it with a lower body move like the ball slam. You can either set this up on a timer or go for reps. So eight reps of benching followed by 20 reps of ball slams for eight rounds. This upper/lower pairing forces the body to work very hard, and the result is a serious metabolic elevation.”
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