Over 40 and wondering if you should start HIIT training? Well, what’s stopping you?!
While over 40s are perfectly capable of participating in HIIT workouts, there are a few things to consider before jumping straight into a workout session.
With this in mind, this article will outline the benefits, drawbacks, and overall reasons you should take part in HIIT exercises – before finishing off with some workouts.
Let’s get straight to HIIT…
Benefits of HIIT Training Over 40?
By the time you turn 40, time stops working in your favor – unfortunately.
Not only does your metabolism begin to slow, but that precious muscle that you could once gain so easily begins to fade away forever – with the average 40-year-old losing between 3-5% of muscle every decade.
Therefore, it’s to no surprise you may begin to notice weight gain in your 40s, with both your metabolism and muscle loss working against you, even with regular training and diet!
How Does HIIT Training Help?
Unlike regular forms of exercise (see also our favorite exercises for over 50s), such as cardio, HIIT training forces your body into fat-burning overdrive while working on and maintaining as much muscle as possible.
It does so by compelling your body into an anabolic state. This is similar to weight training.
With the combination of fat oxidation and EPOC (excess post-exercise consumption), regularly practicing HIIT training just 2-3 times per week will not only help you to burn fat but will also prime your body for building a lean, strong physique.
Drawbacks Of HIIT Training Over 40
Before you jump straight into a HIIT workout, there are a few things to be made aware of.
Firstly, to see any results, you need to give your workouts everything. Simply put, regardless of your age, some people just aren’t prepared to push their limits to see what they’re capable of.
Therefore, if you’re new to exercising or aren’t willing to progress out of your comfort zone, then HIIT training may not be for you.
Why You Should Try HIIT Training
1. HIIT Saves Time
HIIT training means intermittent periods of light work with short bursts of hard work. In HIIT sessions, you work as long as you do in steady cardio sessions, but you’ll work much harder.
According to a statement produced by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), they confirm that HIIT workouts generally burn more calories than aerobic exercises.
Making HIIT workouts the perfect choice for those with busy schedules, those who work long hours in the office, or anyone looking to get a full exercise in without any gym commitments and hours of investment.
With only 15 minutes of your time, you can benefit from a solid HIIT routine.
2. HIIT Burns Fat
If you’re looking to lose excess weight, then HIIT training is one of the best methods to do so.
Unlike steady-state cardio workouts, HIIT demands a lot more from your muscles – getting your heart pumping.
Not only will you burn calories during the workout, but you will continue to burn them even after the workout due to an afterburn effect – you don’t get this from running on a treadmill!
According to the ACSM, they estimate that you can burn up to 15% of calories for up to two hours post-workout, as your body is working to recover from the intensity of the workout.
This means that 40-year-olds can get leaner while reading, sleeping, watching TV, or driving.
3. HIIT Improves Both Strength and Endurance
As we get older, we tend to embrace a lifestyle more on the sedentary side of things. It’s easy to let your strength or cardio workouts slip if you’re not careful.
However, a HIIT workout provides you with both training methods in the same session.
They could include classic muscle exercises such as squats or pushups, or even heart-racing calisthenics such as mountain climbers or jumping jacks.
If you’re only able to work out once a week, then a HIIT workout gives you more run for your money.
A typical routine could involve 2-3 days of HIIT sessions a week; then another 2-3 days focus on strength training (see also ‘Awesome Competitive Sports For Adults Over 40‘).
4. HIIT Can Be Scaled To Any Fitness Level
Whatever your fitness level and goals, you can adapt your HIIT routines to your capabilities – whether you’re a complete beginner or have been working out for years.
Generally, in your routine, you should include these key elements: push and pull movements, squat, and hinge.
These can be covered using a simple kettlebell swing, bodyweight squat, bodyweight row, and pushup, to name a few. For fat loss, a 1:1 or 2:1 work-to-rest ratio is preferred.
For instance, you would perform a specific exercise for 30 seconds, the rest 30 seconds (1:1), or alternatively a 15 seconds routine (2:1).
When performing these exercises it’s important to use common sense. You can perform an adequate movement if you’re experiencing fatigue; therefore, take a longer rest to regain composure before moving on.
For example, you can easily perform jumping jacks for 20 seconds; with a 10-second rest.
Although, for more complex exercises, such as burpees, you may require a longer rest period to recover.
5. HIIT Is Fun
Since interval workouts can be made up of a range of different exercises, they ensure you’re moving at a fast pace, making you feel like an athlete even if you haven’t practiced exercising in a long time.
This helps in keeping you motivated and sticking to your regime in both your forties and over! The longer you exercise, the better results you will see.
HIIT also ensures that you maintain and enhance your endurance and explosive power.
Likewise, it strengthens your cardiovascular systems, prevents you from contracting heart disease, manages your insulin amounts, and helps you keep a better physique as you grow in age.
HIIT Training Over 40 – The Workouts
All these workouts are short and sweet. HIIT training is all about powerful and fast workouts; therefore, none of these sessions last longer than 20 minutes.
Simply put, HIIT training is intense, so sustaining intensity at a maximum level for anything over 20 minutes is near impossible – even for the fittest of people.
With this in mind, below you will find some great HIIT workouts to help you achieve your goals.
Workout 1: Full Body Strength
Firstly, we have this full-body strength workout routine (see also ‘Simple & Effective Workout Routines For Women Over 40‘). If you’re looking to build muscle, then this routine is the one for you.
Similar to many of the popular HIIT routines, although this one is slightly modified. Here, we have increased the rest period to ensure more time for recovery.
Although, having said that, it is still an extremely challenging routine that will have your blood pumping.
- 30 Seconds: Pull-ups
- 30 Seconds: Rest
- 30 Seconds: Parallel Bar Dips
- 30 Seconds: Rest
- 30 Seconds: Deadlifts
- 30 Seconds: Rest
- 30 Seconds: Landmine 180 (alternatively, Russian twists using weight plate)
- 90 Seconds: Rest
Repeat this routine for a total of 4 Rounds.
Total Workout Time: 20 Minutes.
If you feel this routine is too easy, or you’re looking for an extra challenge, then feel free to reduce the number of rest periods; or even yet, eliminate them altogether if you’re feeling up to it.
However, remember to always listen to your body and your limits to prevent injury.
Workout 2: Jump Rope HIIT
If you’re looking for one of the best ways to burn calories, then jumping rope is about to become your best friend. When combined with HIIT training, you’ll see the fat burning off your body in no time!
The advantage of this exercise is that it is a lot less strenuous on the joints than other exercises – you’ll never want to go for another run again.
Tip: Make sure you’re landing on a soft surface when you’re performing these jumps.
- 60 Seconds: Jump Rope (Active Rest)
- 30 Seconds: Jump Rope (Double Unders or Sprint In Place)
- Repeat x10
Total Workout Time: 15 Minutes.
When performing the active rest periods, simply skip at a more moderate pace which allows your blood to flow. Before you hit it hard, you need to make sure you aren’t burning yourself out.
Then, the Double Unders or Sprints should be performed with 100% of your effort.
Although you should be made aware that for this workout to be effective, you need to be an experienced rope jumper.
So, if you’re not quite there yet, work your way up through regular practice.
HIIT training is a great way to burn fat and gain muscle simultaneously.
If you’re over the age of 40, you could benefit from participating in HIIT workouts.
From improved strength to saving time, hopefully, this guide has informed you about HIIT training and why it is so beneficial for those over the age of 40.