Advantages and Disadvantages of Doing HIIT

While we all know that finding the time for our daily exercise is important to everyone, there is much debate about what kind of exercise is best for us. Especially when it comes to cardio training. One of the more popular forms of cardio is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). It comes with its own set of pros and cons, though. Here is what you should know about this time saving workout.

Is HIIT Good for Me?

High intensity interval training has become a buzzword in the fitness industry, gaining momentum in popularity over the past decade. The American College of Sports Medicine published their annual report on most popular activities and HIIT has been in their top ten list or years.

This type of training has been researched often and is considered one of the best forms of exercise someone can do. Like anything else, ease into it, adding it periodically as part of your training routine.

More on HIIT

HIIT consists of shorter more intense sessions using typically 10-60 seconds of work. This is alternated with rest or light activity between bouts (this is where the interval part of the name comes in). HIIT has the potential to elevate your heart rate to 70-90 percent of your maximum heart rate, depending on your current fitness level.

The demand placed on the body for oxygen increases proportionately with the intensity level of your workout. During intense exercise, your body needs more oxygen than breathing can provide. Thie gap between the demand for oxygen in the muscles, and the actual amount of oxygen delivered, is called oxygen debt.

HIIT is considered anaerobic (“without oxygen”) exercise because your body uses more oxygen than it can be supplied. This is why with HIIT, you’ll run out of breath more quickly than traditional steady state cardio exercise. Your muscles will utilize more oxygen (caused by the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles). The rest periods in HIIT are important because it allows your body to clear the lactic acid and restore oxygen levels.

Advantages of HIIT

Here are a few advantages of high intensity interval training that may help you decide if HIIT is right for you.

Shorter Sessions

If you are deciding between HIIT or other long, slow duration cardio, the time factor may be a big key to consider. HIIT sessions are much shorter and more time efficient than typical cardio sessions. This is because the intensity levels are higher so you will become fatigued more quickly.

Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC)

Unlike with steady state cardio, HIIT workouts help keep your body burning calories long after your session is done because of EPOC. EPOC, or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, refers to the amount of oxygen required to return the body to its normal metabolic level (called homeostasis). The higher the intensity level, the longer the EPOC will be.

The body has to work hard to restore the oxygen levels up that it lost during the session, which is why you continue to burn calories (and fat) post-workout, even for up to 24 + hours, according to research.

Better for Long-term Fat Loss

While people see great results with steady state aerobic exercise at the start, HIIT has been shown to be better for long-term fat loss results.

Helps with Muscle Retention

One reason why hard core gym goers tend to avoid cardio is that they do not want to lose muscle. HIIT helps retain muscle because it can include movements that activate the muscles the same way that strength training does.

Disadvantages

More Demanding on the Body

Due to the high intensity nature of HIIT, you do place a lot more stress on the body. This also means that there is an increased risk of injury.

Longer Recovery Time

It does take longer to recover from a HIIT workout so due to the physical demands, it can be challenging to complete a HIIT workout every single day so you will have to find alternate workout options in between to give your body a break.

Can be Intimidating for Beginners

It can be intimidating for new gym goers to give it a go at first. It does look intense because it is intense but also very rewarding!

So Should I Choose HIIT?

The final answer does depend on your preference and lifestyle. If you find yourself skipping workouts because you’re dreading the hour-long jog, then try giving HIIT a go. If you hate the intensity of HIIT, then turn to steady state cardio. A good idea, however, would be to do both on alternate days and rotate between the two so that you can reap the benefits of each.

Use the Award-Winning Jefit App for All Your Training Needs

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.

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