Any trainer or workout guru will tell you that in order to see the best results, you need to execute your workouts at your maximum level and with high-intensity (pun intended). However, there is a fine line between pushing yourself to the max and overdoing it. In the world of HIIT, this can be tough, especially when your instructor is asking you to swing a 35 lb. kettlebell over your head! The trick to walking this fine line is to take care of yourself inside and outside of the studio, listen to your instructor, listen to your body and don’t get too over-confident in your abilities.

The Before:

Be sure to fuel and hydrate properly! You can’t decide to make healthy choices just a few hours before you hit the studio and expect to feel great during your workout. Make sure that you are hydrating each and every day!

Also remember to start your day with a good meal, and try not to eat at least an hour before a big workout. These things sound obvious, but all too often I hear clients saying they skipped lunch and had to cram in a quick bite before a workout, and then they wonder why they are nauseous and have low energy.

Allow time for a 5-10 min warm-up! You know that feeling of shock you get when you jump into cold water after a hot day? It almost takes your breath away. Imagine how your heart and muscles feel when you jack your heart rate up too quickly and start throwing around a 35 lb. kettlebell. Be nice to your body and take a brisk walk or use the foam roller to wake up. This is a great time to start listening to what your body is telling you. Do you feel dizzy? Are you having a hard time focusing on your instructor? Are you experiencing any pain?

Talk and listen to your instructor. Do yourself a favor and let your instructor know if you’ve had a recent injury or surgery, or have asthma or vertigo. We trust that you’re more than capable of doing the work, but we can suggest modifications so that you can get the most out of your workout, and without hurting yourself.

The During:

I may sound like your mom but, PAY ATTENTION and LISTEN. I tell my clients to pay attention to three things while in the studio: your surroundings, your form, and the movement. Often, we have 20-30 people moving in the studio at one time, be a kind neighbor and make some room, move your weights out of the way, etc. Once you have a safe space to use, start paying attention to your form. Odds are, if you have the proper form, you will not feel any pain. If this isn’t the case then that’s your body’s way of telling that something is wrong.

The After:

You can burn 350-600 calories in 36 minutes. After an intense workout, your muscles will secrete lactic acid which is what causes the body to be sore. Give yourself some time to cool down by stretching your muscles and drinking some water. Maybe even break out the foam roller again. Continue to stretch well after your workout to help squeeze as much of the lactic acid out so that you are less sore the following day.

The Takeaway:

Remember, HIIT is not about being the strongest or fastest, it’s about pushing yourself to YOUR highest intensity. Remember why you’re there. You’re there for you and what you put into it, is what you get out of it. By following the above tips you will be able to safely HIIT it hard.