In theory, high intensity interval training (we’ll refer to it as H.I.I.T from now on) is an excellent concept that could be practiced whenever we participate in cardiovascular training. Much like the name suggests, H.I.I.T is a form of cardiovascular exercise that incorporates short bursts of high intensity movement into an otherwise steady state form of cardio. Though this form of exercise provides several benefits, that’s not to say it is for everyone.
If you’re thinking of incorporating H.I.I.T into your regular routine, here is a list of pros and cons that could help you decide if it’s for you or not.
Pro #1: The Fat Burning Properties
H.I.I.T is well-known for its fat-burning properties. Several studies show that by performing H.I.I.T, your body will burn fat and remain in a fat-burning state even after you step off the treadmill. This can work wonders if you are looking to lose a significant amount of weight.
Pro #2: It’s Quick and Convenient
This form of cardiovascular exercise does away with the long and drawn out version of steady state cardio. The reason being: your body can’t handle long series of high intensity training. Think sprinting. How long can you actually sprint full force? Not longer than 10-seconds, if you’re really pushing yourself to your limits. That’s the idea here with H.I.I.T. Realistically, you’re looking at cardio sessions upwards of 20 minutes or less depending on your goals.
Pro #3: The Results Come Quickly
After performing H.I.I.T regularly for up to 2-3 weeks, you should starting seeing noticeable results. That’s because this drastic style of training is effective. It certainly gets the job done when it comes to losing fat. Don’t be surprised if you start to see the affects sooner when looking in the mirror and checking out the scale.
Con #1: It Doesn’t Only Burn Fat
When I first started performing H.I.I.T, I couldn’t help but be obsessed with the results I was getting. I began performing H.I.I.T for all of my cardio training sessions. Though I was seeing great results, I quickly started noticing that I wasn’t only losing weight. I was losing strength as well. My pressing lifts were diminishing at an accelerated rate from overdoing H.I.I.T, so this is something to keep in mind.
Con #2: It Can Be Hard on Your Joints
Depending on the form of exercise you’re doing (running for example), H.I.I.T can be hard on your joints if left unchecked. You can reduce your chances of injuring your joints by warming up properly and exercising extensive mobile work, but just that doesn’t mean you won’t get injured. This is one of the primary reasons I am especially careful when performing H.I.I.T.
Con #3: It’s Not for Everyone
Though H.I.I.T is extremely effective, it’s not meant for just anyone to jump into. There are several factors to take into consideration when considering H.I.I.T. These include your weight, age, and overall health. Talk with your doctor if you have any health concerns that may affect your overall health by performing intense bouts of cardiovascular exercise.