To benefit from any workout plan to the fullest, it is imperative to have a suitable diet plan, complementing the workout sessions. For HIIT, it is essential to have a diet that is rich in proteins and has sufficient carbs. This ensures that you have enough energy to exercise intermittently without giving in to fatigue. Along with that, an adequate amount of water is also essential for the success of a HIIT workout.
HIIT workouts involve short yet extensive workout sessions, which is why it is very important for the pre-workout diet to be high in energy. The human body works all day long and is busy in the processes of muscle-building and repair. Pre-workout nutrition refers to the diet that you should take about 4 hours before the workout session. If the pre-workout nutrition is planned strategically, it gives the body ample time and energy to recover and make new muscles.
About 4 hours prior to your workout, it is important to take in sufficient amounts of carbohydrates and proteins. Carbs are the body’s major source of energy and they give the body that ultimate fuel which is needed to drive a workout. Proteins, on the other hand, are coupled with carbs for repair and muscle building.
The carb intake should be moderate enough to not overload the body but energize it enough for the workout. Some good preworkout food options include:
Dried fruit such as almonds or cashew nuts
Plain Yoghurt (Preferably, a blend of yoghurt, fruits and some veggies in form of a smoothie)
Protein powder and Whole wheat toast
A banana and some strawberries or a smoothie
These meals are a great way to energize the body for the workout by giving it the extra energy it requires. Just an hour or so before the actual workout, the body is in need of a ‘boost’ of energy. This comes from carbohydrates so the meal plan immediately before the workout needs to be rich in carbohydrates. Some good pre-workout meal options include:
A bowl of fruit
A nut energy bar
Peanut butter toast
Then, just half an hour before the workout, take in a scoop of whey protein. This is important to reduce the recovery time for the body in case of muscle fatigue or any energy loss. Proteins are the ultimate muscle building sources of the body and when the body needs repair, they are at the front.
Post Workout Nutrition
Likewise, after you are done with such an intense workout, it is important to make up for what the body has lost. Firstly, the body has lost its glycogen reserve, which is the form in which glucose is stored in the body. Secondly, during the workout process, the muscles are also broken down. The main nutrient required for their repair is protein.
As such, the post workout diet plan should have more proteins. Immediately after a HIIT workout session, it is not possible to fix yourself a proper meal so you can go for quick fixes that have high protein content. Some options include:
A Protein shake
A slice of white bread
Soy milk and 2 spoons of jelly
These foods are to be taken in before the actual meal for the day or night. You can take this half an hour after the workout. The proper meal after a HIIT workout should be rich in carbs and proteins both, since both are needed. Carbohydrates are needed for glucose, a part of which will be stored as glycogen in the liver again.
On the other hand, proteins are needed for repair of worn out muscles. It has been seen thorough research that the best combination of proteins and carbs is in a 1:3 ratio. After you have finished you session, make sure that you have a proper meal in the 2 hours following your workout session.
Proteins need to be included since they are involved in building up muscles. The amino acids present in your diet are the building blocks used to repair damaged muscle cells. Different cells in the body are involved in the process of using amino acids to make new muscle fibers or to damage the ones that have been severed during intense workouts.
Proteins present in milk products are quite beneficial for the muscle health so snacks for HIIT diet plan are normally scoops of whey protein or casein protein.
Rice with veggies and chicken
Pasta and salad (add meat sauce for taste)
A cup of mixed green salad and some salmon
A cup of green beans and salmon
It is also important to incorporate some healthy fats into your postworkout meal. This is because fats aid in reducing inflammation that often occurs as a result of high intensity workouts. Inflammation, if it prevails, can hinder the exercising process for subsequent days so it is essential to deal with it from day one.
Along with food, it is important to make up for the water lost during the workout session. Keep drinking water throughout the day, till you go to bed. When you exercise, a lot of water is lost in the form of sweat. This needs to be replaced since a hydrated body sees quicker results in terms of exercise.
3 Day Meal Ideas
As mentioned above, it is absolutely imperative for a good diet plan to complement a workout session for the exercise plan to yield results. A 3 day meal plan with three main courses of the day along with 2 snacks is given below.
Day 1: Breakfast
2 whole eggs
1 slice low fat cheese
2 slices low fat turkey bacon
2 slices whole wheat bread
Morning Snack A cup of berries or a handful of walnuts
5 oz. shrimp
Half a cup of dried oatmeal
A table spoon of salad dressing
A table spoon of peanut butter
Half a cup of cottage cheese
Barbeque chicken with natural BBQ sauce
Whole wheat break
5 oz. kale
Day 2 Breakfast
An English muffin (whole wheat)
3 slices of turkey bacon
Breakfast sandwich with eggs and a slice of cheese
A cup of cottage cheese
Half a cup of berries
6 oz. chicken breast
A cup of zucchini sliced well
A scoop of whey protein
Handful of any dried fruit
A large baked potato
Half a cup cheese and a table spoon of Greek yoghurt
Salt and hot sauce for taste
Day 3 Breakfast
3 whole eggs
Omelet made with reduced-fat cheese and onions
A cup of spinach
2 spoons of salad dressing with olive oil and vinegar
A cup of broccoli chopped well
A table spoon of salad dressing with olive oil and vinegar
8 oz. of chicken breast
Peanut butter on a whole-wheat toast
Canned tuna sandwich
Half a cup of Green yoghurt
Celery stalk chopped well with chopped onions
It is only by consuming ample amount of required nutrients that you can benefit from your workouts. If the pre-workout meals and the post-workouts meals are not sufficiently loaded with the right nutrients, you will feel fatigued in no time and it will also decrease the stamina of the body.
Coupled with this meal plan, it is important to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water every single day to keep hydrated. More water equals a better working metabolism which is helpful for a successful workout.
Supplements for HIIT
No matter which workout you are following, most need to couple proper diet with supplements to get the maximum benefits. These supplements are needed for that extra boost of energy and for initiating the repair process in the body. Several supplements are especially suited for HIIT, as they work best for high intensity exercises.
Greens Supplement is a great method for increasing strength and power. It gives the user more strength, which is an important factor in high intensity workouts.
When your body undergoes intense workouts, it starts to accumulate acid. This can slow down performance and cause fatigue. During exercise, the body goes into anaerobic state. When the body respires in the absence or limited amount of oxygen, it produces lactic acid.
Due to the accumulation of acid, the pH begins to drop. This makes the working mechanisms in the muscles stop. As a result of all this, the person feels fatigued and does not have the strength require for the next workout session.
Green supplements have alkaline properties that cancel out the acidity in the muscles. So they can be beneficial in increasing the body’s power and in reducing fatigue for maximum performance.
There has been extensive research on creatine. It has been used in many sports supplements since the first discovery of its benefits. Not only does this supplement increase the performance ability, it also increases the lean muscle mass in the body. The body needs to maintain homeostasis, which is the state of the body in which every factor is well-regulated. Creatine acts as a pH buffer, keeping the pH of the body regulated at all times.
This ensures that the muscles are present in the right pH conditions for maximum overall performance. Plus, creatine lets you enjoy more reps without getting tired or stripped of energy.
Another reason why Creatine is suitable for HIIT training is due to its ability to ensure faster recovery. In HIIT training session, it is a must to include recovery periods. When a person recovers at a faster rate, they can perform better in the gym and reap the maximum benefits of their workouts.
Creatine is also involved in increasing the number of satellite cells that are present in the body. These cells help to increase muscle mass by linking amino acids together for formation of new proteins. More muscle mass is directly proportional to more workouts and better results.
It should not come as a surprise that caffeine is helpful in increasing alertness in the body. It is responsible for making you more focused and alert during workouts and enhancing performance. Excessive amounts of caffeine can be harmful so it is important to determine your tolerance and make your daily intake according to that.
It is recommended to take 300 grams maximum, of caffeine before an intense workout. This will give you a surge of energy and keep you focused on the workout.
Caffeine activates the sympathetic nervous system, which is activated when the body is in a state of alertness. In this system, the hormone epinephrine is secreted and induces the breakdown of glycogen present in the muscles. Along with that, it also oxidizes fatty acids in skeletal muscles. Both these processes result in energy production that is later utilized for high intensity workouts.
So, caffeine can increase endurance in the body and keep the body in a high-energy state at all times.
Both of these are amino acids that are not commonly present in the body in large amounts. The body has 20 major amino acids that are all present in the L confirmation. L-Carnitine is an uncommon amino acid that has to be taken from external sources since it is not readily present in the body.
This amino acid aids in fat burning by mobilizing the fats present in the body for energy. Along with that, it also reduces the recovery time after a long workout. If you normally take two days off after a HIIT workout session, with the use of this supplement, you will be able to reduce the recovery time to one day. This gives you more time to work out and have a lot more endurance.
L-Carnitine is also involved in increasing glycogen reserves in the muscles. When carbs are taken in, the body uses some of it to form glucose and the excess is stored in the body in form of glycogen. This can be broken down for use when body is in need of energy. By increasing the muscle reserves of glycogen, this supplement ensures that muscles have energy whenever it is required.
Plus, this supplement also prevents the formation of free radicals. Free radicals are the by-products produced as a result of different chemical processes taking place in the body and can significantly harm the body in the long run.
During exercise, muscle tissues are damaged due to wear and tear. L-Carnitine keeps the muscles protected from tissue damage so that there is lesser fatigue. In addition, the use of this supplement also reduces muscle soreness and keeps you energized for the next round of workouts.
Taking about 3 grams of this supplement everyday can give the person following a HIIT workout plenty of benefits.
Betaine is a modified form of the amino acid glycine, which occurs naturally in the body. It is also present in many foods including beet, shellfish and spinach. So while it is likely that you are taking some of this supplement in your diet chances are that it may not be enough.
Betaine can form creatine in the body by donating methyl group. And as mentioned above, creatine has plenty of benefits for anyone who works out. Betaine, on its own, also has significant effects on the wellness of skeletal muscles. It keeps lactate levels low and removes this acid and keeps the body energized.
An addition, it increases the rate of protein synthesis in muscle cells. As more proteins are made, more energy is provided to the muscles. Since proteins are involved in body’s natural repair mechanism, their ample amount is essential for reducing recovery time.
A study showed that betaine can also lower exhaustion levels. Most athletes and individuals who work out frequently drink water to stay hydrated and reduce exhaustion. When coupled with betaine, water can reduce exhaustion by a factor of 40 times more.
Citrulline is a supplement that plays a role in synthesizing nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is very important for regulating blood flow to muscles and other organs and can enhance blood flow to the muscles.
Blood contains oxygen and nutrients for the wellness and strength of the body. As more blood flows to muscles, more nutrients are present for the muscles to extract energy. Also, in presence of ample oxygen, the muscles can respire aerobically and have lesser production of lactic acid. This contributes to lessened fatigue and more energy.
Citrulline malate also contributes to fat loss. In normal HIIT sessions, the rate of fat loss is 1.2%. However, with usage of Citrulline malate, the fat loss percentage goes up to 2.3%.
Citrulline, when used as citrulline malate also acts as a buffer for ammonia. It counteracts the effects of lactic acid on the body by cancelling out the acidity and increasing the ph. Taking up to 6 grams of citrulline about an hour before exercise can keep the body energized.
All these supplements complement high intensity workouts and make their results much better. Taking controlled amounts of these supplements ensures utmost performance, shorter recovery times and higher energy levels.