WHY HIIT IS NOT FOR YOU - NOT YET ANYWAY.
Its been the rage for years now, with gyms and personal trainers selling their group sessions as the only way to get in shape. But is HIIT causing you more damage than it is good?
The evidence is clear. Multiple sports college and medical institutions have conducted research on the effectiveness of High Intensity Interval training. In most cases there is a marked improvement in post workout metabolic rate, improvement in VO2max and cardiovascular capacity (endurance), and (depending on the types of exercises chosen for the workout) usually in improvement in all round strength.
HIIT as a concept is great for conditioning, so don’t misunderstand this as a suggestion that HIIT should be banished as a training technique from the fitness world. HIIT (also often concealed within the WODs of Crossfit) should be weighed up carefully against the following factors:-
- What level are your physical abilities? (Joint mobility, motoric abilities and movement habits, current level of cardiovascular fitness, integrated total body strength, injuries…)
- Age? - It should be noted that age shouldn’t prevent the use of interval training as a technique as long as the physical abilities issue in point #1 has been addressed
- What are your overall goals? (if fat loss is your main focus then nutrition is key. HIIT training on a diet that excludes carbs will be counter productive for fat loss, and likely to bring injury as a direct result of fatigue during the workout. Consult a professional for appropriate nutritional guidance); again referring to point #1, if you have already worked on your movement abilities then HIIT can be a sure way to challenge overall endurance and stamina now that you are ready.
Injury rates are poorly recorded as people often don’t consider themselves as injured until an issue repeats itself or becomes chronic, and that often the causing factor has been halted and time passes before our self esteem allows us to admit that our physical condition has taken a hit. Anecdotally though I come into contact daily with trainees showing up to HIIT classes with pre-existing conditions (often accompanied by a compensatory bandage of strip of KT tape) or complaints during a particular exercise of when a knee or a shoulder doesn’t enjoy repeated poor movement control. (As a side note, HIIT classes are not the time to learn technique, they are too high paced and by definition ‘intense’ to allow time for educating and learning new skills). Time and time again I advise these participants to go away and address their skills deficiencies and when they are ready to come back to HIIT training as a complimentary element to an overall well planned workout regime.
Feel free to post comments or questions or be in touch for specific guidance on if your approach to fitness is appropriate for your goals.