The age old question. Should you do HIIT before or after weights? The real answer is that it depends on your preference. And if you are doing both weight training and HIIT, define what is most important to you.
In this article, we are going to cover what it will take to choose between doing HIIT before or after a workout. Truthfully, there is no secret time when you should do HIIT. Maximizing your results comes from consistency over time and eating right.
If you follow the principles laid out in this article, you will definitely achieve your goals faster.
First, are your fitness goals building muscle or losing fat?
It is no surprise that high intensity interval training burns a ridiculous amount of fat. If losing fat is your goal, then of course you are going to want to prioritize HIIT workouts over weight training.
So now, let’s ask ourselves the same question. Should you do HIIT before or after weights? In this case, you should definitely do it before you attack the weights.
It is no surprise that you have the most energy at the beginning of your workout. So take advantage of that by doing HIIT first. Then move into weight training. At this point, you are probably just doing weight training to maintain your muscles.
If your goal is to build muscle, then you will probably want to hit the weights before doing HIIT. When you are building muscle, you want your focus to be on building muscle.
To be fair, you aren’t going to want to do a ton of HIIT when you are trying to build muscle to begin with.
Whether you are looking to build muscle or lose fat, I highly recommend downloading our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play). We have multiple FREE muscle building workout plans. Not to mention 10 HIIT workouts for you to choose from.
Second, does your caloric intake align with your goals?
You cannot move towards your goals if you do not have every step of the way monitored. And that couldn’t be more true than when we monitor our caloric intake.
These facts are something that people choose to overlook when it comes to getting in the best shape of their lives. Everyone is always looking for the easy pill that will magically get them in shape faster than the next person.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing. And I have seen too many people waste many years of their life hopping from fad to fad, hoping that one will work. I am sad to say that it is not going to work.
The only thing that is going to work is hard work, dedication, and documentation.
How does this relate to our question of should you do HIIT before or after weights? Because working out is just one small part of the equation. You could workout every single day. But if your diet is not dialed in you will not see the changes that you are looking for.
I also want to mention that diet doesn’t necessarily mean boiled chicken, raw carrots, and brown rice. Diet just means that you should be monitoring everything that you put in your body and taking notes.
The formula is simple. If you want to lose fat, eat at a caloric deficit, do HIIT, do weight training, and do this consistently. If you want to build muscle, eat at a caloric surplus, do weight training, and do this consistently.
Third, decide how long you want your HIIT workout to be
HIIT workouts are popular for being short and intense. The average HIIT workout is about 15 minutes. And they come with a simple formula. 30 seconds of intense exercise, followed by 60 seconds of rest. Repeat this 10 times, and you have a 15 minute workout.
But just because that is the standard by which most beginner high intensity interval training workouts go, that doesn’t mean that you have to adhere to those standards.
There is one rule that I have when it comes to HIIT. And you don’t hear this rule talked about very often because influencers want you to think it’s easy. That rule is to make sure that every time you encounter the “intense exercise” portion of your workout, you have to get to 90% of your maximum heart rate.
Calculating your maximum heart rate is easy. Simply subtract your age from 220, and then multiply that number by .9. So, if you are 30 years old, your max heart rate is 190. And 90% of 190 is 171. That means your goal for each time you do intense exercise should be 171.
With that being said, you can make your workouts a lot shorter. If you can get your heart rate to 90% of your max in 15 seconds, then you can bring your total HIIT workout time down to 12 and a half minutes.
Or maybe you don’t want to do the full 10 cycles. Cut it in half if you want.
The whole point here is that you workout towards your goals. Follow the rule of hitting 90% of your max heart rate during each workout. And from there, you can adjust.
Main Point: Should you do HIIT before or after weights?
The question is not that difficult, yet I was able to write a whole article based around the decision making process. Should you do HIIT before or after weights? It is entirely up to you, but it also depends on your goals.
If your goals are to lose fat, then you should probably prioritize the fat burning HIIT workouts before weight training. If you are trying to build muscle, then of course you should take advantage of the muscle building aspects of weight training.
Whether you choose to do HIIT before or after weights though, it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. What really matters is that you are showing up, and working towards your goals.
Part of showing up is also making sure that your caloric intake is dialed in. If you are trying to lose fat, you aren’t going to have any luck while eating at a caloric surplus. And if you are trying to build muscle, there is no chance you will build muscle in a caloric deficit.
This seems to be a hard concept for a lot of people to grasp, so I will make it simple. Every person on earth has different maintenance calorie numbers. So there is no blanket advice for everyone.
You must find your own maintenance calorie number and then eat at either a caloric deficit or surplus, depending on your goals.
Do not forget that if you do not get to 90% of your maximum heart rate while doing HIIT, it doesn’t count. At that point, you are just doing aggressive cardio. Get yourself an Apple watch from Amazon or any other heart rate monitor and get to work.