The Stigma around HIIT

The Stigma around HIIT

What I think 

Having trained as a HIIT instructor, I have a love and desire for the intense nature of this particular type of exercise. Nothing can beat the feeling of knowing you’ve worked really hard, even if it’s only for 30 minutes, and seeing the amazing results after a few sessions. It helps me to drop body fat quickly, improves my fitness levels dramatically and has the added bonus of not burning off the muscle I am building in my gym sessions. For me, it is the perfect style of class!

What you think

However, having spoken to many people in and around my gym club, I have noticed that there seems to be a stigma associated with these high intensity classes, - Insanity, Metafit, HIIT etc. Many people have used phrases such as ‘I’m not fit enough to do that.’, ‘I’m too old for that.’ or ‘That’s too hard for me.’, when referring to the prospect of attending such a class. Whilst I appreciate why at first glance someone would think that, I find it difficult to understand such reasoning.

The Facts

Firstly, HIIT gets you fit. Whilst the first session may be difficult, your body will quickly adapt to it’s nature and become more efficient at dealing with the intensity and duration of the workout. Within a few sessions, you will notice your fitness levels improving and soon enough this, ‘I’m not fit enough to do that’ justification will be invalid. There have been countless studies showing how this type of training not only improves your aerobic functioning, but also your mood, appetite levels and insulin sensitivity. It is a great way of improving the overall fitness and health of your body.

Secondly, all exercises in HIIT training can be adapted.  We can substitute plyo squats for normal, static squats. We can use lateral step taps instead of lateral leaps. We can do pressups on our knees or against the wall rather than ones on our toes. Every exercise has alternatives for all fitness levels and generations. There is no reason why anyone should feel that age is an issue when it comes to HIIT.

Third and finally, addressing the ‘That’s too hard for me’ analysis. Unlike most classes where you keep to the beat of a song, in HIIT you chose your timing. The idea is to work as hard as you physically can, without having to keep up with the instructor or in time with the music. If you can only complete 5 reps in the timeframe, that is fine. If you can do 15 reps, then great. If you can smash out 30+, then good for you! HIIT accommodates for everyone. Nothing is too difficult as you work at your own level and pace.

Changed your mind?

Overall, I cannot recommend HIIT training more highly. It is great for improving health, fitness and body image, as well as the feeling of pride after completing a workout. Yes, it is a hard and intense form of exercise, but it is only as difficult as you chose to make it. For me, the benefits are worth every drop of sweat and I love it. Your mind will always give up before your body does, so get some confidence and give HIIT training a go!

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