High Intensity Interval Training is an effective, highly popular form of cardio and fat-burning exercise where you push yourself to the max for short bursts and then recover before repeating. Super effective for super fast results!
It is basically the opposite of steady-pace cardio like long distance running or cycling. You perform intervals of high intensity sprints or bursts of all-out energy where you give 100% maximum effort, and then you take it all the way down to a slow, calm “active recovery” interval and repeat.
This has been proven to be a highly effective form of cardio that will help build muscle and burn fat at a much faster rate than its steady-pace alternative. However, like its name implies, it is high intensity so you can actually end up losing muscle mass if you don’t have proper nutrition. NOOOOOOOOOOO! This is bad for both men and women.
Therefore, don’t just do your HIIT workout and call it a day! Even if you do see results without proper nutrition, your results can plateau faster, you can get tired and over worked, and your results will be far better if you fill your body with the nutrients it needs at the right time surrounding your workout.
To ensure that you are not depleting your hard earned muscle, here are some tips on what you should consume to get the most out of your HIIT:
Half hour before you workout, have a cup of coffee or other source of around 100 mg of caffeine. A typical cup of coffee contains 100mg. Or you can have a Red Bull (80 mg), or do like I do; green tea fat burning pills with a whopping 150 mg of caffeine. It takes 20 minutes for your body to absorb most nutrients so at .5 hr you should be up and ready to start your work out.
If you can’t have caffeine for medical reasons, then a simple carb like a fruit juice or sports drink like Gatorade (with sugar, not the splenda version) will help energize you, sans caffeine.
Branched Chain Amino Acids are important for muscle recovery and to prevent your muscle from being used as energy. You worked hard to build the muscle you have, so don’t let it get eaten up by your body when it’s desperate for energy. This is called a “catabolic” state. Bad.
Start drinking a serving of BCAA’s around 15 minutes before you start working out and continue drinking throughout your workout. I highly recommend Xtend as it also contains electrolytes which will ensure you don’t get dehydrated and start cramping up. And it has glutamine and vitamin b6 too!
3. Protein and simple carbs
These must be consumed immediately upon finishing your HIIT workout.
Drinking your protein is far better than eating some meat or other solid since time is of the essence after a tough workout and liquids get absorbed by your body much faster than solids.
You can have a whey protein shake but you’ll still need some simple carbs since most whey protein powders don’t come with carbs (they use splenda or other non caloric sweeteners). Having some white bread product with your protein shake will suffice, or you can drink a cup (8 oz) grape juice right before your protein shake. Simple carbs such as sugars help deliver the protein and other nutrients to your muscles by raising your insulin levels.
Some say that it’s not necessary to consume protein after a workout and give examples like prisoners with restricted diets and no access to supplements that still manage to get buffed. Your body might be able to adapt and do the best it can with what its given, but I would rather do the most I can for my body while I can control it.
My all-time favorite supplement is Universal Nutrition’s Torrent, post workout shake. It has everything you need; protein, simple carbs, amino acids and even creatine. If you can buy this, go for it. The convenience alone will be worth it let alone the awesome taste!
If you’d rather keep your supplements expenses low, a really cheap and tasty treat that has been proven to work is your very common chocolate milk. It has protein and simple carbs through the sugars it provides for the chocolate. Consume an 8 ounce serving of it and you’ll get 8g protein and 26g simple carbs.
So that’s pretty much the basics of what you should consume before, during and after your high intensity workout. The only other supplement that will ensure your body is functioning at its best and you recover quickly is a multi-vitamin. It doesn’t revolve around your workout but you should take one every morning or per dosage on the bottle.
The multi-vitamin along with the 3 supplements listed above will allow your body to perform at its maximum and get the full benefit of your workouts! Let me know if you begin taking these supplements and how you feel after a few weeks, ok?