The Pros and Cons of High Intensity Interval (HIIT) Training

by | May 11, 2021 | Insights, Physical Activity


By: Adam Pounds, EIM Owner

HIIT training has been a popular form of exercise in the fitness industry for decades. The exercise was popular amongst cyclists and runners, before being used by athletes of all sports and skill levels.

HIIT training is the act of alternation between vigorous exercise and light exercise, also known as a recovery period. This causes your heart rate to go up and down continuously through the workout. Oftentimes, HIIT workouts are done in bursts of 20 or 30 seconds, with a 10 to 15 second recovery period. For example, instead of running full-speed for as long as possible, you would run as fast as you can for 20-30 seconds before taking a 10-15 second break to rest or walk.


The Benefits of HIIT workouts

There are many benefits to HIIT workouts that make it a super popular choice in the fitness industry. For starters, it’s super time-efficient. For those of us with busy days, crazy work schedules, or kids to take to school and sports practice, it can be hard to find time to squeeze in a workout. But with HIIT, you can have a fast, effective full-body workout in just 30 minutes. HIIT workouts are a great way to get killer workout in a short amount of time.

HIIT workouts can increase your EPOC, or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. EPOC, also known as oxygen debt, is the amount of oxygen required to restore your body homeostasis, or to its normal resting level of metabolic function. EPOC is cool because it allows your body to continue burning calories throughout the day, not just during your workout. Who doesn’t want that?

Next, HIIT workouts increase your VO2 max. VO2 max is the amount of oxygen your body can absorb and use during exercise. The greater your VO2 max, the more oxygen your body can consume and the more efficient your body can use oxygen to perform your exercise. Your VO2 max is also a great way to measure your overall personal fitness. A higher VO2 max can help you live longer by reducing your stress, boosting your immune system and overall fitness.

Additionally, HIIT workouts may help obese people and those with high blood pressure reduce their heart rate and blood pressure. It can also help those with diabetes regulate and control their blood sugar.


Any Drawbacks?

Though HIIT workouts are an acceptable form of exercise for most people, there may be drawbacks or difficulties for some. If you are new to working out or haven’t exercised in a long period of time, HIIT workouts may be too intense. However, you can ease into a HIIT workout routine by starting with low or moderate intensity.

Due to the up and down nature of many of the exercises, HIIT workouts may cause dizziness and are not suitable for those with dizzy spells.

Like any new extreme workout, jumping into HIIT may cause DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness. If you HIIT workout is too intense for you or you go too hard in your first session, you may experience extreme muscle soreness and have difficulty sitting or moving the next day. Though the soreness will go away, you may be less inclined to return to the gym as a result.

Finally, HIIT poses a higher risk of injury. If your form isn’t correct during certain exercises, you have a higher risk of pulling a muscle.


Who Is HIIT For?

HIIT workouts are great for anyone who is healthy with limited time to workout. It is also great for athletes who want to improve their performance, as it is good for training and can help with overall athleticism.

Of course, HIIT workouts are not recommended for those who are injured, have an underlying heart condition, who suffer from osteoporosis or are pregnant.

HIIT workouts are a great way to achieve great results like improved muscle tone, greater strength, fat burn, and increased endurance and cardio fitness in a short amount of time. If you are interested in trying a HIIT routine or learning more about the process, then learn more about the team at EIM and see how we can help you!


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