HIIT it or QuIIT it? The Pros and Cons of High Intensity Interval Training


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Mara and Elysia talk about the popular trend HIIT. Everyone is doing it, but should everyone be participating? LISTEN AND SEE! But for those who love to read...here's a little written preview:

What is HIIT Training:

High-intensity interval training is a form of interval training, a cardiovascular exercise strategy alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods, until too exhausted to continue.

It’s great for those who are short on time as a way of maximizing your time spent in the gym. A typical HIT session, not including your warm up, SHOULD last a maximum of 20 minutes.

Many of the benefits of HIIT training have been vastly overstated by the media and marketers but there are definitely some advantages to it.


HIIT training SUPPOSEDLY leads to greater EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) when compared to continuous exercise. This means that after you have finished exercising, your body will continue to burn calories at a higher rate than normal. The evidence base is small, but at least one study has shown that you can match the training effect of continuous training in less time using a proper HIIT protocol.

You get maximum benefit for decreased time investment. Since we are all super busy and stressed for time, and can’t find the time in the day to exercise, this can be very valuable. It has been shown to also increase muscle growth, however, that is not the gold standard of muscle building. Strength training always wins. Even though there has been shown some benefit, it’s not the most valuable way to build muscle.


Increased Injury

HIIT workouts often call for complicated exercise moves, like burpees and box jumps. Trainers warn that doing these moves with the wrong form can lead to pulled muscles and other injuries. Combine that with the rapid-fire pace of HIIT, and you’ve got a recipe for fitness injuries.

Plus, intense routines often put heavy stress on your body, which can cause overuse injuries and joint strains. Work ‘till hurts, like “fitspo” Instagrammers encourage, and you’ll find yourself with strained knees and shoulders.

HIIT workouts should usually be done no more than 3 times a week. Also, you should start under the guidance of a professional trainer who can ensure your form is stable and correct. This will help prevent injuries from HIIT.

Advanced Preparation

Despite articles everywhere promise five fat-shredding minutes to a beach body, HIIT workouts aren’t for fitness newbies. The complicated moves and intense demands mean this style of training works best for experienced gym-goers. If you want to start a HIIT workout with little prior experience, you need to prepare yourself with weeks of lower-intensity training.

There’s also plenty of workout prep to do before and after. Dynamic stretching or warm-up exercises before HIIT will minimize the odds of soreness and injuries. Post-workout static stretches are also a good idea to avoid injury and soothe strained muscles. This prep work might take as long or longer than your five minutes of training.

Make sure to check out the instagram @muscle.spasms as well as our hosts @Elysian.form and @maramarek

70 episodes