It's official. High intensity interval training (HIIT) has been ranked as the #1 trend in the fitness industry for 2018. But research examining whether individuals enjoy HIIT versus MICT (moderate intensity continuous training) still offers mixed results.
A study recently published in PLOS ONE journal had interesting findings. Although affect (mood) was lower, other factors like heart rate, rate of perceived exertion, and blood lactate were higher during HIIT versus MICT. Despite this, participants still reported enjoying HIIT more than MICT.
In previous blog posts and Fitness Friday episodes, we discussed how exercise enjoyment relates to exercise motivation, adherence, and results. The more people enjoy their exercise, the more likely they are to persist and reap results.
Therefore, it's probably most important for each of us to sort out which type(s) of exercise we enjoy the most and start there. That said, there are numerous benefits to HIIT like improved maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), improved insulin sensitivity (so that your muscles can use glucose more effectively), decreased blood pressure, lower total cholesterol levels, and higher caloric expenditure. If we can shape our motivation toward HIIT, we can enjoy those benefits.
The rest of this blog will share five motivational strategies for getting ready for your next high intensity exercise session!
1. See The Finish Line
The good news about high intensity exercise is it can be shorter in duration! We’ve often referenced the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. They state that healthy adults should accumulate 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of high intensity exercise each week. Did you notice? You only need half the duration when performing high intensity versus moderate intensity exercise to meet the guidelines!
Your HIIT workout doesn't need to last longer than 20-30 minutes to be highly effective, and you don't need to do more than two or three HIIT workouts per week! You can go into the workout knowing it's going to be challenging, but it'll be over soon.
An important component of HIIT is pushing hard when it's time to push (i.e. Yellow or Red Zone) and then recovering as much as possible when it's time to recover (i.e. Green, Blue, or Gray Zone). Get your head in the right space by focusing your energy appropriately and seeing the finish line ahead of you!
2. Gear Up with Positive Self-Talk
The way we speak to ourselves, whether out loud or in our heads, can shape our motivational experience. When you know you have a high intensity workout session coming up, start a dialogue in your head that elevates your mood and gives you increased confidence. Try something like, “I am strong. I am capable. I am ready.” Or you can try, “I’ve got this. I’m going to own this workout!”
Even if you're not “feeling” it in the moment, starting a positive self-dialogue can lead to increased confidence and motivation.
3. Pump Up The Jams
Assemble a playlist that's going to fire you up and keep you fired up during your workout. Identify some of your “power” songs and rock on!
Music with higher beats per minute (bpm) can increase exercise effort and persistence. Aim for songs with 130 bpm or higher.
There are also apps available that time your intervals for you and notify you about the start and finish of each interval.
4. Grab a Buddy
There’s nothing better to push you through a high intensity workout than someone sweating beside you and encouraging you!
Choose your workout buddy wisely. You want someone who's going to push through when you feel like giving up, and you want someone who's going to commit to consistency. Even if you don’t love HIIT, find a friend who does so their enthusiasm rubs off. After all, good energy is contagious!
5. Fuel Well
Plan ahead for your HIIT workout and make sure you're well hydrated going into your workout. Likewise, time your well strategically so you have plenty of energy for the workout without being too full.
We recommend a light snack an hour or two before your HIIT workout, consisting of a balance of carbohydrates and protein. A banana or apple with peanut butter, or a granola bar and piece of string cheese or yogurt, are good examples.
Keep moving forward!
What motivates you? We’d love to hear from you. Tune in during our Fitness Friday broadcast on the MYZONE Facebook Page and share your thoughts with us!
Remember to use the hashtags #effortrewarded and #myzonemoves when you post your workout pics, and don’t forget to add your workout pics with your moves in your Activity Calendar!
For more tips on how to use the MYZONE® heart rate monitor and app, follow us during Fitness Fridays on Facebook Live (subscribe on MYZONE’s Facebook Page) – 8 am PT, 11 am ET, and check out our MYZONE® Moves Podcast on iTunes or Google Play.