If you follow fitness blogs or publications, you’ve probably heard of HIIT training. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT is, as the name says, high intensity training that is done in bouts alternated with rest.
For example, after a proper warm up, one might do sprints, stair climbs, or sled work in bouts of :60 seconds, with :60 rest. This is just an example, as a variety of exercise methods and work:rest intervals can be used.
Sounds simple, but this is exhausting! It requires mental fortitude, but drives big results!
Is HIIT for everyone?
Absolutely not! Every person is an individual with different goals, background, and preferences, and no one training style is a must-do for everybody.
The benefits of HIIT are widely known, so people who are healthy enough for HIIT should understand it is an option. Some people really take to the intensity and focus HIIT demands, and they begin to enjoy or at least appreciate it.
Who Should Avoid HIIT?
HIIT requires high exertion, so anyone with heart problems, breathing issues, or unstable/injured joints should not do HIIT. In some situations, people with high blood pressure should avoid exercising at a high intensity as well.
Anyone who’s doctor has recommended against vigorous exercise should also lean toward more moderate exercise. This does not mean “ineffective”.
Read about other training protocols here: Different Styles of Cardio and When to Use Them
Additionally, some people don’t enjoy the high intensity, or the mental effort needed to do HIIT. It is much better to modify a training protocol than quit. If a client of mine absolutely hates HIIT, we find other ways to reach their goals. After all, it does them no good if they decide not to suffer through it, and quit.
Who Should Do HIIT?
People who are healthy, have a base of at least 2 months moderate activity, and a drive for progress should absolutely try HIIT. It’ll be tough, but it’ll teach mental strength as well.
HIIT is a really great tool, but it’s not the only way to reach a health or performance goal. Consider your options and what is right for you. If you have questions about this, email me!
About the author
Kathryn Alexander is a strength coach and personal trainer in Austin, Texas. She loves hiking, college football, and the feel of a perfectly knurled barbell. Read more about Kathryn here.