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HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) melts calories, boosts metabolism and aids in weight loss. It also improves cardiovascular health and skeletal muscle tone and sharpens mental acuity.However, HIIT workouts must be performed correctly in order to produce results, according to Jon Domingus, a personal trainer at Eclipse Fitness in Toronto.Below is a how-to guide for an effective and efficient HIIT workout.

DO Stay Hydrated

Research shows that drinking 3.5 – 4.5 liters of fluid (mainly water) is necessary during intense exercisei. High intensity workouts are characterized by bouts of activity that produce sweat. Sweating rids the body of waste and jump starts metabolism, but also depletes water. Thus, water intake is crucial to protect from dehydration and provide maximum results from an HIIT training session.

DO Change Up the Cardio Routine

According to Jon Domingus, the body rapidly adapts to the same, repeated cardio workout decreasing results over time. Spice it up with running, biking, swimming, hill sprints, squatting, etc. to make an HIIT routine more effective. The Short Random Workout app for example, is designed to challenge you differently every time you use it.

DO Use Different Muscle Groups

Limiting HIIT to a particular muscle group decreases its effectiveness. HIIT is a full body workout. The goal is to work various muscles throughout the body. Strength training circuits can alternate using different muscles on alternate days.

DON’T Skip Rest Intervals

Shortening recovery period while increasing the intensity circuit, in the hopes of rapidly burning more calories, is another mistake. HIIT works on the phenomenon of excessive, post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) during the rest phase. This means the body requires a sufficient recovery period to burn fat. Research shows a 2:1 ratio which constitutes 5-10 minutes of vigorous activity followed by 3-5 minutes of rest, yields the greatest fat burn. Therefore, it is equally as important to track the resting phase of HIIT as the intense phaseii. The ideal method to accomplish this is by using an interval timer.

DON’T Ditch Proper Nutrition

Cutting calories to achieve weight loss is a common mistake and a misguided approach. Instead, focus on calories from food containing complex carbs, protein and unsaturated fat.

A pre-workout meal or snack may include a piece of whole grain toast with peanut butter, a bowl of salad or a handful of nuts. Nutritious post-workout choices include milk, humus with pita, whole grain cereal and seasonal fruits.

Adding supplements to your diet can also speed weight loss and improve exercise results. Research at Oklahoma University demonstrated that taking 200-400 mg of caffeine combined with 1.5 – 3 mg creatine, 30 minutes before a HIIT session, significantly enhances fat burn iii

Following these basic guidelines should help you get the most out of your HIIT workout routine.

i Ann C. Grandjean. Water Requirements, Impinging Factors, And Recommended Intakes. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/nutrientschap3.pdf

ii Laurent CM1, Vervaecke LS, Kutz MR, et al. Sex-specific responses to self-paced, high-intensity interval training with variable recovery periods. J Strength Cond Res. 2014 Apr;28(4):920-7.

iii Smith AE, Fukuda DH, Kendall KL, et al. The effects of a pre-workout supplement containing caffeine, creatine, and amino acids during three weeks of high-intensity exercise on aerobic and anaerobic performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010 Feb 15;7:10.

Author's bio: As a doctor and a nutritionist, Dr. Usman has a deep insight into all aspects of writing related to health and wellness. He is a regular contributor to several journals related to fitness, nutrition, health and medicine having produced thousands of quality articles, blog posts and ebooks over the years.

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Short Random Workout is a free high intensity interval training app providing randomized workouts from a pool of 50 exercises. Using a scientifically sound and evidence based approach to fitness, SRW provides a quick and effective way to maintain your wellness even when its difficult to find time to do so.