HIIT, which stands for high intensity interval training is one of the best ways to torch fat quickly and improve your fitness level. This training protocol has you alternating between all-out bursts of exercise with shorter, active rest periods, making for a 20-30 minute workout session.
As it is so short, it’s easy to fit into even the busiest of schedules, which is one reason why it tends to work so well for most people.
This said, how often should you be doing HIIT? As it is very intense on the body, you do need to follow a few guidelines.
Let’s go over some main points to consider.
Your Weight Lifting Workout Schedule
The first thing to think about is what your weight lifting schedule is like. Are you lifting weights four days in the gym? If so, you will already have a lot of weekly stress being placed on your system with this. As such, you’ll need to do fewer HIIT sessions per week to avoid overtraining.
On the flip side, if you are just doing two full body workouts per week, you can definitely fit in more HIIT into your schedule.
Your Diet Plan
The next thing to think about is the diet plan you are hoping to use. As high intensity interval training is an anaerobic form of exercise, this means that it can only use glucose as a fuel source.
So, attempting to do a high volume of HIIT on a low carb diet then would simply not work out so well. Your body won’t have the fuel resources it needs to complete the sessions. As such, one or possibly two sessions per week will likely be your max.
On the flip side, if you are using a diet richer in carbohydrate content, you should then find that you can add more HIIT into your plan without worry. For these individuals, three or four sessions may be more tolerable.
Your Lifestyle Activity Level
Also take into account your activity level in your overall lifestyle as well. Are you up on the go all day long or do you work at an office job?
The more active you are, the more time for recovery you will likely need between workout sessions. If you are sitting all day long, this gives you plenty of time to recover and as such, you can likely hit the gym more often.
Remember that lifestyle activity does add up quickly as well, so don’t think it’s a bad thing if it means doing fewer gym workouts. In some cases, being more lifestyle active is actually a superior way to yield fat loss results.
Your Fitness Level
Finally, last but not least, also think about your fitness levels. If you’re new to HIIT, trying just one or two sessions per week will likely be enough of a challenge for you.
If you’re a seasoned pro, adding three or four, depending on the rest of your workout schedule, will likely be a wiser plan.
If you ever start to feel like you’re experiencing ongoing fatigue on a regular basis, this is a sure sign that you are exercising too hard and need to back off the frequency and/or duration of your HIIT sessions.
So keep these points in mind when scheduling your workout week. HIIT is a great form of exercise, but does need to be used wisely. If it’s not, you can end up doing more harm than good.