Here's How To Make HIIT Workouts More Fun With 5 Easy Tips From The Experts
Sometimes the things that are best for you in life also happen to be the things that are the most tedious to endure. That's kind of how I feel about doing HIIT workouts. While they make me feel great after the fact, the whole "during" part can inspire me to wonder why I would ever, ever choose to do such a thing to myself. So learning how to make HIIT workouts more fun has definitely become a necessary skill for me. Because if it isn't at least kind of a good time, what's the point, you know?
And listen, guys, the benefits of HIIT are no joke. But the real positive is that you can reap the general benefits of exercise in a shorter amount of time than your usual gym sesh. In fact, according to new research from the University of Copenhagen, there's a way to optimize your bursts during a HIIT workout to make the whole thing go by even faster, without completely exhausting yourself. The study, published in The Journal of Physiology, involved 12 "endurance-trained" men, who all participated in three different cycling workouts, done on different days. Before and after each cycling workout, researchers took samples of their blood and muscles to document how the workouts affected their bodies.
The first workout, according to Mindbodygreen, was done at a moderate, consistent pace for about 50 minutes. During the second workout, the cyclists did five second interval bursts on their bikes, with 30 second rests in between, repeated 18 times. The third workout, which researchers ultimately found to be most effective, involved 20 second bursts of cycling with a whole two minutes of recovery in between, done only six times. And look, as much as you might loathe HIIT workouts, wouldn't you say that a total of six 20 second bursts of exercise — with two minutes of rest in between each burst, no less — sounds like it's pretty doable? Come on, girl.
But if you're still feeling kind of stubborn about these workouts, don't worry — I spoke with a few experts to learn how to make these bad boys a little more fun. Here's what they had to say.
Fit In Exercises That You Already Know You Love
"For every exercise you hate, pick one or two you like," Morit Summers, an inclusive fitness thought leader and owner of FORM Fitness, tells Elite Daily in an email. "Personally, I don’t love burpees, but everyone enjoys a good ball slam. Do the burpees first and get it over with, followed [by] slamming that ball.”
Not only is slamming a ball a relatively simple workout, it's a great way to relieve any anger or frustration you might be harboring deep down.
Try New Things To Find A Set That Works For You
The cool thing about HIIT workouts is that there are lots of different exercises you can include in one session, and as Summers tells me, alternating exercises you like with ones that feel like a push is a great way to enjoy yourself, while still getting a challenging workout in. Ultimately, though, there's nothing stopping you from trying a bunch of different moves until you find a set you can happily stick with.
Summers shares her favorite HIIT sequence, in case you need a place to start: five squats, followed by 50 jump rope rotations, 15 lunges on one side of your body, 50 mountain climbers, and 15 lunges on the other side. Then, she says, go for 10 burpees, 10 push-ups, 15 side plank rotations on one side of the body, 50 jumping jacks, then 15 side plank rotations on the other side. Finally, finish the whole dang thing with 15 ball slams.
Do Something That Makes You Feel Like A Badass
Personally — and perhaps this is a bit dorky of me to admit, but oh well — doing workouts that make me feel "cool" can actually make something as loathsome as HIIT way more bearable. For me, I like anything from cardio based dance with weights to, you know, fitness that falls a little more on the "Rocky" side of things.
Imran Jawaid, co-founder of the eco-friendly athletic gear company Sanabul Sports, tells Elite Daily that feeling like a badass when you exercise can definitely make the whole experience more enjoyable. "Boxing workouts are a great way of getting an intense workout [while] also feeling like a fighter," he explains. "I think people feel a sense of empowerment when they emulate certain movements of fighters, in particular. Rumble Boxing is doing an incredible job of making a boxing inspired, full HIIT body workout fun and exhilarating."
Put 'em up, y'all.
Find New Ways To Do The Same Workout
Instead of doing a circuit for 20 minutes, for instance, try switching up the times to keep your mind and body guessing, says Tara Laferrara, a certified personal trainer and yoga teacher based in Denver, Colorado. "Experiment with something called an 'EMOM,' or 'every minute on the minute.' Meaning you change what you're doing every minute," she tells Elite Daily over email.
Sometimes it's a lot easier when you grab some new toys, too, she says. "To change things up, grab a piece of equipment you rarely or never use," Laferrara says. "Dumbbells can easily be swapped out for kettle bells, bands, or medicine balls to make a workout more fun."
Take A Class To Get Support
I personally find that it's a lot easier to endure a difficult workout when you can hear other people groaning next to you — and Jawaid agrees. "High intensity circuit training classes are a fantastic way of getting a good workout in 45 minutes or less," he tells Elite Daily.
And the community aspect of workout classes, he adds, can really help you feel like you're part of something bigger, like you're all in this difficult, yet rewarding journey together — emphasis on difficult, right?