HIIT Workout Plan Question

by MaryEllen- EmPOWER Personal Training
(Framingham, MA )

Hi Monica-

I"m an ISSA certified trainer and I love getting your updates. I look forward to them every week. I do alot of your workouts myself and I incorporate some of them into my client's workouts as well. I had a question about the frequency of your 6 week HIIT Workout Plan. Just wondering how man days a week you recommend to do this and if you couple it with additional cardio at all?

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HIIT Workout Plan Question

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HIIT Workout Tips
by: Monica

Hey MaryEllen,

That's an awesome question! It really depends on what you're trying to accomplish both with your own body and with your clients.

There are times during the year when HIIT becomes really important to me so I do HIIT cardio workouts 4-5 days a week. They vary in length from 10-20 minutes (never longer than that). I used to add moderate intensity at the end but have found that flow yoga is a better option because it burns about as many calories while unwinding the body from high intensity exercise.

I do more HIIT workouts in May, June, Nov. and Dec. because that's when I start hiking a lot and I need more endurance. It also helps me avoid holiday weight gain in the winter.

After those months I cut back to 2-3 sessions per week and then I phase it out all together sometimes for 2 months at a time. I have found that works best for my body and mind.

As far as clients go, if I'm working with somebody who needs to lose more than 40 pounds I recommend they do HIIT workouts 3-4 times a week then increase to 5 times a week then I switch them to weighted circuit workouts for a while then take them off intervals all together for a few weeks then start over.

If I'm working with a client who is royally stressed or badly injured then I eliminate high intensity workouts all together and focus on what Paul Chek calls working in; restorative workouts until the stress subsides or we get the injury under control. This can include low to moderate intensity cardio (the kind some trainers tell people never to do is actually necessary some times).

It's really all about paying attention to what the body needs and then periodizing the cardio so that it matches what you're doing with strength and flexibility workouts.

If you need CEC's this year, I recommend you take one of Chek's periodization courses. His courses are way better than anything else out there plus ISSA values them more than other CEC's out there too. Check out Advanced Program Design.

Many thanks!!: )
by: MaryEllen

Monica- Thank you SO much for this! This was exactly what I was looking for and I really appreciate it. I love getting your emails and checking out what new things you have. And thanks for the tip on credits.

How many days a week for the extremely overweight?
by: Carrie

Hi Monica - just wondering how many days of cardio HIIT training you'd recommend for someone who is morbidly obese? (315 pound woman - 41 yrs old, basically healthy). I did a HIIT workout two days in a row on my elliptical (20 min each) and then I did some research and found that many recommend only 2x a week! I've never only done cardio exercise 2x a week and was planning on 5x but now I'm not sure what's ok to do and what isn't. Thoughts?

hiit tips
by: Monica

Hi Carrie

Thanks for your question. I would agree with the research you found and recommend 2-3 times per week of hiit cardio plus 2-3 additional 30 minute sessions per week of basic strength training like the circuit below:

10-15 Wall pushups
10-15 Wall sit or wide stance squat
10-15 Dumbbell curl to overhead press
10-15 Dumbbell or resistance band rows
10-15 Hands and knees tummy vacuum (for core strength)
10-15 Laying on back w/knees bent hip thrusts (a.k.a. supine hip extensions for glute strength)
Repeat 1 more time if possible and work up to 3 sets over a 4 week period. This will help you build strength, boost endurance, and boost metabolism.

Hope this helps and please feel free to post more questions.

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