10 Expert Tips from our Chicago Personal Trainers

Crosstown Fitness personal trainer Ross Bradley and NASM-certified trainer Stacy Spurgeon offered their expert advice on how to effectively complete a high intensity interval training session. Whether you’re just trying HIIT for the first time, or you’re a seasoned veteran, these expert tips can help you make the most of your workout:

  1. Pace yourself

Finding a tempo you can stick with for the entire workout is key. Pushing yourself too hard in the beginning of the workout may leave you with very little energy to effectively finish it off.

  1. Know your limits

While it’s important to push yourself, it’s just as crucial to know when you’re overworking your body. Avoid using a weight that’s too heavy or choosing a speed on the treadmill you know is too fast. Taking on more than you can handle can quickly lead to injury.

  1. Try the talk test

If you’re not sure if you can take your workout up a notch, Stacy suggests trying to talk during HIIT. You shouldn’t be able to workout and talk simultaneously. If you can hold a conversation with someone without being out of breath, you’re not working hard enough!

  1. Quality is always more important than quantity

You’re going to get a much better workout if you focus on how well you’re doing a particular exercise rather than how many repetitions you’re finishing. Poor form not only hinders your workout, it can lead to injury.

  1. Plan ahead

Treat your workouts like you would any other day-to-day obligation. Carve out time during your week and mark it on your calendar. When you’ve already made the time for exercise, you’re less likely to miss it because you’re too “busy.” That being said, scheduling rest days into your week is just as important! Your muscles need time to recover from those high intensity workouts.

  1. Let your body adjust

Pushing your body too much too fast can leave you tired and prone to injury. If you’re new to high intensity circuit training, give yourself some time to adjust. Allow yourself a rest day in between workouts when you begin your HIIT regimen to let your body adapt. It might be tough at first, but with each and every workout you’re making your body stronger and you’re getting yourself one step closer to reaching your fitness goals.

  1. Bring a workout buddy

Having somebody that you work out with on a regular basis leaves you accountable, and less likely to skip a day at the gym. Plus, it’s always nice to share a hatred of jump squats.

  1. Hit all the major muscle groups

If you don’t have time to head to our West Loop gym and want to do a quick high intensity workout at home, Ross recommends completing exercises that hit all of the major muscle groups. This way, you won’t be overworking a certain area of your body.

  1. Alternate between cardio and strength

Improve your cardiovascular system and strengthen your muscles all at one time by switching off between cardio and strength exercises. This variety is also a great way to keep your workouts interesting.

  1. Fuel your body

What you put into your body after your workout has a big impact on how your muscles recover. That 30-45 minute period after you’ve finished your workout is when you should be consuming protein. It gives your muscles those essential tools for recovery so you can get stronger and see the results you’re after.

Crosstown Fitness makes protein shakes in our cafe to offer you the best way to finish off a good HIIT session. (Ross and Stacy suggest the chocolate peanut butter shake!)

If you’re looking for a Chicago gym that focuses on high intensity circuit training, we’re happy to help you out and answer any questions.