6 High-Intensity Interval Training Disadvantages No One Talks About

Nobody can deny that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is incredibly effective when it comes to burning fat. This study found that two-minute sprints have the same fat burning effect as a 30-minute steady cardio workout.

Such promising results have made HIIT very popular, especially among busy people. However, most people don’t realize that HIIT may not be ideal for them. Unbeknownst to many, HIIT has side effects that may do more harm than good.

Disadvantages of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Realize that the side effects of HIIT vary from person to person, depending on your health. Read on to discover some common HIIT disadvantages you should consider before you start doing it.

1. It can lead to tiredness and sleepiness.

Have you ever felt like jumping back to bed after your morning workout? While there are many causes of this, it may have been due to your workout’s intensity.

HIIT workouts—such as sprinting—strain the entire body, and this can cause fatigue in people who are out of shape.

2. HIIT may increase stress.

This may sound ironic, since we’ve been told that exercise reduces stress. But when you sprint, your body assumes that you’re fleeing from a predator, and it reacts by releasing stress hormones.

Luckily, your hormones quickly normalize once your brain realizes you’re not in danger. However, your stress hormone levels may stay elevated if you overdo it with HIIT. That’s why it’s not advisable to do HIIT more than three times a week.

3. HIIT may cause injuries.

Surgeons in the UK say that the number of young people who need surgeries has increased due to HIIT workouts, such as CrossFit. I doubt you need any studies to confirm this. When someone jumps on high boxes and lifts heavy weights at high intensity, they will eventually get hurt.

Note that some HIIT exercises, such as hill sprints, have a low injury risk.

6 High-Intensity Interval Training Disadvantages No One Talks About

4. HIIT is not ideal for beginners.

I’m a big advocate of starting slowly for people who want to get in shape. It allows you to learn proper form and build consistency. With HIIT, it is hard to learn proper form, since you perform the exercises at high intensity. Plus, you may suffer burnout.

If you want to exercise consistently, start with easy workouts then progress to harder workouts, as you get stronger.

5. HIIT requires longer recovery periods.

It takes longer for your body to recover from a HIIT workout, because it puts lots of strain on your muscles, ligaments, bones and joints. People who do 30-minute HIIT workouts should stick to three sessions a week.

With other training techniques, such as steady cardio and bodyweight circuits, you can exercise five to six times a week without burnout.

6. HIIT is not ideal for people with heart problems.

You have to get your heart rate above 80 percent of your maximum limit while doing HIIT. This may not be safe for people with heart disease and high blood pressure. If you have heart problems, choose low-intensity workouts, such as jogging and swimming.

Do you know other disadvantages of HIIT? Share them in the comments.

Photos via Getty Images

50 comments

Olivia M
Past Member about a month ago

Thanks for sharing

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Jack Y
Jack Y2 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y2 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Richard B
Past Member 2 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Kathy K
Kathy K3 months ago

Thanks.

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Aa M
Aa M3 months ago

Thank you. important that people know

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Aa M
Aa M3 months ago

so true

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Ruth S
Ruth S3 months ago

Thanks.

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