Sprint Interval Training Tips & Benefits

If you have been following fitness trends for some time now, you likely are familiar with the benefits of sprint interval training. Even if you’re new to fitness or just getting back into it, you may have heard of high-intensity interval training, which is often abbreviated simply as “HIIT.”

Whether you are someone who is trying to lose weight, someone who wants to improve their general fitness, or simply a person who wants to mix up their current exercise routine, sprint interval training offers a wealth of benefits.

a muscular man during a sprint interval training outdoors

Tips for Interval Training

Getting started with sprint interval training can be tough, as this training method is generally more taxing than steady-state cardio. Below are some tips to get you started.

1. Build Up Slowly

Sprint interval training and other forms of high-intensity interval training are often demanding, but a major advantage of this training style is that it can be scaled to fit your training level. When you start out, make your rest periods longer than work periods. For example, a beginner’s sprint interval program might look like this:

  • Sprint 30 seconds.
  • Walk 1 minute.
  • Repeat.

Depending on your current fitness level, this program may already be challenging. As you adapt, you can shorten your rest intervals and increase your work intervals. Most HIIT workouts are about 15-20 minutes total.

2. Add in Variety

Sprint interval training is an excellent way to challenge yourself. But if you want to improve your fitness in a few different ways, you can keep your body guessing by incorporating different types of sprints. For instance, you could sprint on a track for one workout, run hill repeats another day, and even sprint on a rowing machine for a third workout.

Some interval workouts incorporate circuits where the work intervals alternate between two activities, like running and jumping rope. If you’re the type of person who is easily bored at the gym, this training method can keep things interesting.

3. Be Mindful of Exercise Frequency

Sprint interval training is an excellent way to improve health and burn fat, and those who are new to it may be tempted to replace every low-intensity cardio session with a high-intensity one. However, overdoing sprint intervals can lead to extreme fatigue.

Most experts recommend only doing sprint interval training two to three times a week. This can help make sure that your energy levels stay up and that you don’t become injured or burn out.

4. Hydrate Ahead of Time

If you’ve done low-intensity, steady-state cardio in the past, you likely were able to steadily hydrate throughout without any issues. And while you can certainly sip water or a sports drink during interval training, drinking large amounts at once may get in the way of your workout.

Since being dehydrated can lessen the effectiveness of your workout, it is still vital to make sure you get enough water. Work on hydrating throughout the day, so you don’t find yourself needing to guzzle a significant amount of water right before a sprint!

a young fit woman's body while running

Benefits of Interval Training

Now that you have a few tips on getting started with interval training, it may be helpful to learn a little bit about why this form of training is so beneficial. Regardless of your training goal, chances are good that sprint interval training will help you reach it.

1. Interval Training Burns More Calories in Less Time

Many people are discouraged from working out because they believe that they don’t have enough time to invest to make it worthwhile. If you are pressed for time, interval training can help. Studies have indicated that just 15 minutes of interval training burns more calories than jogging on a treadmill for an hour.

2. You’ll Be Burning Fat Hours After You Leave the Gym

Like high-intensity strength workout, sprint intervals are known to create an effect called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC. This means that, even after your workout, your body is burning more calories as it works to restore itself to its pre-exercise metabolic state.

3. It Is Often Easier to Stay With

Each person has their own individual exercise preferences. Still, research has indicated that many people prefer interval training over steady-state exercise. This is good news for those who are prone to becoming bored with a given form of exercise.

4. It Is Cost-Effective

Sprint interval training is an excellent choice for those who are low on money. You don’t need any equipment or a gym membership to do it. All you need is a pair of running shoes and an outdoor surface to run on. Of course, you can use gym equipment if you would like. But at its most basic, interval training costs nothing.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, whether you’re pressured for time or just enjoy a challenging workout, sprint interval training is an excellent way to work toward your goals. Even if you are starting slowly, you still will be working toward better fitness than ever before. Try it today!

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