Trends in fitness come and go. Right now one of the popular ones is high intensity interval training. The basic premise is to train at a high intensity for a short period of time and then recover. This back and forth is then repeated many times throughout the workout. It seems pretty simple but in fact, many people are not doing it exactly right.
Mistakes With High Intensity Interval Training
The big mistake people tend to make when doing HIIT is to set time limits for themselves. If they are working out on a treadmill, they might go high intensity for one minute and then recover for one minute. So this might look like sprinting for one minute and then walking for one minute and then repeating this cycle throughout the workout.
The Problem with Time Limits
You’re not going to hurt yourself if you sprint for one minute and walk for one minute and repeat. But you also may not get the most out of your workout. The point of high intensity interval training is to go 100% and then recover and then repeat. But the body can only go at 100% intensity for about 25 seconds. It doesn’t matter if you’re Usain Bolt or your average gym goer. Humans can’t maintain maximum effort for a whole minute.
So if you are “sprinting” for a minute, you may not be able to give 1000% of your effort the whole time. Perhaps you start at 100% and by the end of the minute you’re at 65% or 70%. You’re body burns a different kind of energy when you’re working out at your full potential and there’s a different mental effect when this happens. One of the best parts about high intensity interval training is that it can be therapeutic for the mind. But you can only get these effects if you are doing it right.