High intensity interval training has become increasingly popular in recent times. This form of training helps to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time as well as improve VO2 max and decrease resting blood pressure (1). HIIT’s ability to produce similar benefits to moderate intensity exercise in less time has made it a popular and fun alternative to steady state cardio for the casual gym member. HIIT is a great way to burn calories and build muscle, depending on one’s fitness level, they can even be done simultaneously when properly integrated into a routine by an experienced personal trainer. 

However, performing this style of workout can also be unfavorable to someone in the following circumstances: 

If you’re somebody who has just begun exercising, then don’t try to do HIIT straight away. Build up your fitness level gradually and get into the system first before trying HIIT. Your joints, muscles and tendons will need to develop strength before being able to handle the impact of sprints and other forms of HIIT. If you will try to do HIIT in the first few weeks, you could be at risk of a nasty injury, and no one wants that! Take things slowly, ironically the phrase ‘it’s a marathon, not a sprint’ applies here.  

If you have a heart condition, HIIT is a very strenuous type of exercise, which puts a lot of stress on the heart. While taking part in HIIT, your working muscle mass demands more oxygen. Your heart compensates the increased oxygen demand by increasing its cardiac output, which places increased activity by your cardiac and respiratory systems. In healthy individuals, this is a favourable response – resistance makes one stronger. However, if you’re living with a cardiac issue, then it could have an adverse effect. Just to be safe, always consult your physician before taking part in any exercise routine.  

If you’re injured or have a sprain, your muscles and tendons won’t be able to react to the training appropriately then try to prevent this kind of workout. HIIT places lots of stress in your muscle mass, joints, tendons, and ligaments and chances are high that you may hurt yourself further. Maintain activity with a gentler type of exercise routine in your recovery phase.  

If you’re overtraining. Unless you’re a part of the genetic minority and can recover, this activity puts a lot of stress on your system and hence should only be carried out a few times per week. Retaining a spot between your high-intensity exercise days will give your muscles, joints, and tendons, an opportunity to recuperate from your last workout. 

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