You’re busy and love your interval-training sessions. After all, you burn calories and improve your cardiovascular fitness in a short amount of time. And you’re not alone. High-intensity-interval-training (HIIT) was chosen as the top, fitness trend of 2014 according to a survey by the American College of Sports Medicine®. But you may be missing something. Is your HIIT workout so enjoyable that you don’t realize it’s not working anymore?
3 Warning Signs Your Interval Workout Isn’t Working
1. Yawn. Your workout is easy… so easy that it’s boring. HIIT should be exciting. You get comfortable doing a low-paced activity and then burst into a high-level exercise for a few seconds or minutes. It’s never the same workout twice because you are always mixing things up with different tempos and moves.
If you find yourself dreading your workout or feeling a little “blah” about it, it’s definitely time to make a change. If it’s not fun or challenging any more, you’ll be less likely to actually do your interval training and get a good workout.
2. Your heart rate stays the same. When you first started internal training, you felt like you were pushing your body to the maximum level. Your heart rate would go way up and then back down throughout your workout.
Now, it seems like your heart rate stays the same no matter how many “bursts” of high-level activities you add to your workout. Something needs to happen to get your heart racing again!
3. Results are dismal. You started HIIT because it was a fast and fun way to improve your cardiovascular fitness, lose weight and feel better physically and emotionally. You saw great results right away, but things have changed.
When you look in the mirror now, you just see the same old body, and your weight, muscle tone, strength, and more seem to have stopped improving.
How to Change Your Interval Training for Better Results
If any of these signs sound familiar, there is good news. It doesn’t take much to turn things around to get the most out of your interval-training sessions again.
Use a Digital Device A digital-health-solution can help you get back on track. With all the available devices, you can monitor your target heart rate as you work out, see statistics on how your body is doing and even get suggestions on how to improve your training sessions.
“Heart rate monitors are great tools to measure effectiveness of intervals and their immediate physical response,” states Ben Bonaventura, the general manager of Retro Fitness in Manhattan, New York and an NCSA-CPT, ACSM Level II, ART Practitioner with over 15 years of experience. “Important for all trainees, the spike itself is key, but so is the descent to a normal heart rate. So, keep the monitor in use until a ‘resting heart rate’ that is close to normal (for the individual) is found.”
With exact data on what your heart is doing, you can increase or decrease your intensity accordingly and realistically work towards your specific, fitness goals.
Try Something New To spice things up, switch up your weight training, or try some moves you may not be doing now. Ask a fitness coach, private trainer or friend for help, or research new exercises online. You’ll work different muscles, improve your cardiovascular fitness-level, and wake up your brain too.
“If you are not feeling it, then you’re likely not getting much out of your interval training,” states Brad Thomas, M.D., a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Sports Medicine Specialist at Beach Cities Orthopedics, Manhattan Beach, California. “Interval training doesn’t have to kill you, but it should be tough and get you tired. Common mistakes include too long an interval, monotonous workouts, poor effort, and occasionally, over-training leading to fatigue.”
Work Out With A Friend Training with a friend always adds more to a workout, especially if your buddy is at a more advanced fitness level than you are. They can push you out of your comfort zone and give you the inspiration and support you need to keep going and reach new goals. Plus, you can catch up on the latest news and gossip.
Monitor and Move to the Next Level Any workout, even HIIT, can get boring over time. Then, you don’t get the results you want. To overcome this, use a device to monitor your heart rate and other stats so you can see what it really going on. Then, use this data to improve your workout accordingly.
Also, try to add different weight-training techniques and other exercises to your routine so it’s not so “routine.” This way, you’ll use various, muscle groups and have fun trying new moves. And it never hurts to work out with friends, especially if they are in better shape and can push you to the next level of success.
Remember, when it comes to reaching your fitness goals, it’s not a matter of exercising longer. It’s a matter of being aware of your body and making the necessary changes for the best results. “A great workout can be achieved in as little as 20 minutes,” states Dr. Thomas. “Work hard, enjoy your rest and frequently change up your intervals to keep it fresh.”