HIIT – high intensity interval training is an excellent and efficient way to improve overall body composition as well as improve cardiovascular fitness.  Studies have even shown that HIIT workouts can decrease food cravings for sweets compared with moderate intensity workouts. Because of the energy demands it places on the body it is extremely important to be well fueled before, and after a good HIIT workout. We’ve all heard the old saying, “losing weight is 20% exercise and 80% what you eat.”   This is extremely true and even the best workout can be derailed by poor nutrition. Nutrition is extremely important to fuel a good workout and maintain the gains you’ve made at the gym.  Eating greasy french fries after an intense workout can be detrimental not only to your weight loss goals, but also to your health. A study on macronutrients (protein, carbs, fat) and HIIT workouts discovered that a combination of protein and carbs significantly increased leucine and free IGF-I. IGF-I  promotes growth in all cells of the body, including cartilage and muscle, while leucine promotes muscle building.  A good nutrition regimen can have the following benefits:

  • Increased cardiovascular endurance (thus less stress on the heart)

  • Increased receptivity to insulin

  • Decreased body fat (the number on the scale isn’t the only important number!)

  • Decreased total cholesterol

Research has shown that a snack high in protein (30%) and carbs (40%) resulted in greater fat loss compared with a standard or high carb diet. They also found that intaking a snack within 1 hour after exercise increased muscle mass, whereas after 2 hours no effect was seen.  In the above mentioned study that increased free IGF-I, the following mix of protein and carbs were derived: grams of protein = 16% of your bodyweight in pounds, and grams of carbs = 23% of your bodyweight.

Examples of this include the following tasty snacks:

  1. Peanut butter and whole wheat toast
  2. Protein shake with fruit (here’s an excellent recipe)
  3. Protein bar (Cliff bar is an excellent option)
  4. Greek Yogurt and strawberries

Pre-Workout Recommendations:

In order to promote protein synthesis, muscle glycogen, and increased performance with your workout the following is recommended: 1g carbohydrates/kg bodyweight 15 minutes prior to your session.

Portable options include:

  1. Fruit and cheese
  2. Almond butter and banana
  3. Popcorn and nuts
  4. 1/2 Protein bar

Try these tips the next time you HIIT up your workout to fuel through. Not only will the carbs replenish your fuel reserve, but the protein will help to rebuild gained muscle in order to allow for future gains. If you have any favorite go to snacks, comment below and let us know your favorite protein/carb combos!

  1. http://www.wou.edu/~kiddk/PE%20359/2013_Handbook/Risk_Management/ViewandRead/HighIntensityTraining.pdf
  2. High-intensity interval training for improving health-related fitness in adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
  3. High Intensity Interval- vs Moderate Intensity- Training for Improving Cardiometabolic Health in Overweight or Obese Males: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
  4. Intensive lifestyle intervention including high-intensity interval training program improves insulin resistance and fasting plasma glucose in obese patients.
  5. Interval training intensity affects energy intake compensation in obese men.
  6. Macronutrient considerations for the sport of bodybuilding.
  7. Interval training intensity affects energy intake compensation in obese men.