Pros and Cons of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

In this modernized era, people are very busy due to their hectic schedules. They do not get enough time for workouts. So, they try to choose a way that lessens the actual time of the exercise. Most of the time, the common phrase you can hear from people about exercising is “I don’t have time.” But it is not the correct way to lead a healthy and fitness life. So, they go for a method named High-Intensity Interval Training. In this way, the exercise that needed one hour will be completed in just half of it, which means 30 minutes.

Now the question arises, what is High-Intensity Interval Training? What are the benefits and downsides of it? Should you follow this method or not? What are the tips to remember while doing HIIT? So, scroll down and get a detailed view of all these questionnaires.

What is High-Intensity Interval Training?

High-Intensity Interval Training, also called HIIT, is an intensive workout that includes interval training activities. The person will do several rounds of high-intensity movements for several minutes. You will not stop exercising or take a break till your body feels exhausted. Resultingly, your heart rate gets increased to at least 80%, which is the maximum compared to those who try lower-intensity movements.

First of all, this type of training was introduced in the 1950s and is known as sprint interval training. During this practice, the heart rate reached 100% and was used by elite Olympic athletes to enhance their performances. HIIT can be incorporated into various activities, such as running outside or on a treadmill, dancing, rowing machines, stationary bicycles, etc.

Examples of high-intensity interval training are as follows:

  • Using a stationary bike and pedal as hard as you can for 30 seconds. Then, pedal at a slow speed for 2 to 4 minutes.
  • Jump rope,
  • Stair running,
  • Burpees,
  • Pull-ups, etc.

High Intensity Interval Exercise

Pros of High-Intensity Interval Training

HIIT has many health benefits that are as same as regular exercise offers. The benefits can be achieved in less time, such as increased calorie burn and reduced body fat, heart rate, and blood pressure. Not only all these, it also helps to improve blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity. Some of the main pros are explained below:

  1. Burn calories in a short time: You can burn a large amount of calories in a short time with the help of high-intensity interval training. While doing HIIT, your body undergoes full exertion due to exhausted 30 minutes of training. You inhale more oxygen while doing HIIT than in a non-interval workout routine. It will result in a great metabolism rate and help burn fat and calories faster.
  2. Saves time: High-Intensive Internal Training is an effective way to work out if you have a busy life because it saves time. If you can not go to the gym, back up and hit some quick sessions of HIIT, such as climbing stairs faster, performing squat jumps quickly, etc. Resultingly, you will not feel guilty about missing your gym session anytime.
  3. Manages stress level: HIIT also helps in managing your stress levels by increasing the rate of metabolism. Due to busy schedules, you face so many difficulties in life and face the same situation in the case of HIIT. So, it offers a better solution for them and distracts the mind from those circumstances.
  4. Reduce blood sugar: High-intensive interval training helps to reduce the blood sugar level of a person’s body. With the help of HIIT, glucose control is improved more accurately for a longer period. It boosts the production of hormones in your body, affecting the glucose level. Also, do not forget to monitor your glucose level before and after exercising.
  5. Workout at any moment: Although high-intensive interval training needs machines and weights, it is not that necessary. You can easily do HIIT at home or anywhere with exercises like burpees, lunges, push-ups, high knees, and more.
  6. Lowers blood pressure: HIIT also helps to lower blood pressure by lowering the stiffness in the artery walls. Even studies have proved that it will cause an increase in blood pressure in the short term; however, in the long term, you will notice the results.
  7. Gain muscles: When you lose fat, HIIT could help you to increase your muscle mass. The main effect will be seen in the areas used much in the workouts, such as legs and trunks. If you are not active, you may gain some muscle mass, but it might be less than what you can gain with weight training.

Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training

Cons of High-Intensity Interval Training

Indeed, HIIT is a stressful activity for the body, and even the results are not seen very quickly. You can see results only if you continue it for a long time. But, extending it to a long period may stress your body and result in various injuries. That is why there are some downsides of high-intensive interval training that are mentioned below:

  1. Not for everyone: Due to its severe degree of intensity, every person cannot do it. High intensity may result in cardiac arrest as your body is not adapted to that much stress.
  2. Causes dizziness: High-intensity interval training includes frequent sitting and standing activities which can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. It may result in dizziness. If you ever face this situation, stop your activity there and take a break to restore the body to place.
  3. Disturbed sleep: When you exhaust your body too much, it becomes difficult to sleep because the body is in pain. Also, the body releases adrenaline when you have a session too close to the bed, making it harder to shut your eyes for sleep.
  4. Sore muscles: High-intensity interval training sometimes sore your muscles, mainly if you do not warm up your body or have not worked out recently. Moreover, you may develop the risk of damaging your muscles.
  5. Higher risk of injuries: During HIIT, you move at a faster speed than regular exercise, which may cause some internal injuries, and that can be fatal. So, make sure to use the correct posture to avoid them and have a healthy body for the future.
  6. Demotivation: When you work out too hard, you burn out and get demotivated when you do not see any results. At some point, you may start to skip some of them, which is not the right thing you should do.
  7. Disrupted metabolism: High-intensive interval training directly affects your metabolism because you burn many calories in less time. Resultingly, you may disturb your insulin production and blood sugar levels.


Tips to Remember

While doing high-intensity interval training, you may remember some points so that you can avoid some serious complications that may occur during these sessions. These are mentioned below:

  1. Start with a lower-intensity exercise that you are familiar with. For example, start with jogging and then go for a running after some time.
  2. If you are facing joint pain, start with a low-intensity workout. When you feel that higher -intensity will not affect your pain anymore, move towards it.
  3. Remember to take enough break periods so that your body can rejuvenate itself. HIIT will work well only if you have break periods equal to a workout or longer than that.
  4. Make your workout periods last for a maximum of 30 seconds. Any workout period longer than that may harm your body due to excessive exertion.
  5. Start HIIT for the short term, such as doing twice a week with fewer cycles. Let your body adapt to it; after that, you can increase it according to your will.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

1. Is 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training per day enough?

Studies have proved that HIIT should be at least 20 minutes per day thrice a week. It means that you should do 75 minutes per week.

2. How long after starting HIIT do you see results?

The results of high-intensive interval training must be visible after a month.

3. What are the three stages of a HIIT workout?

The three stages of high-intensity interval training are:

  • warm-up
  • exercise
  • cool-down

4. What is the best form of HIIT?

The best form of HIIT is Tabata. It consists of 8 rounds of work broken up by 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest.

5. Does HIIT reduce belly fat?

High-intensive interval training helps reduce belly fat as time goes by.


Indeed, high-intensive interval training offers a person many attractive benefits, but one should also consider one’s mental and health conditions. You may burn calories in a great amount. However, you may affect your metabolism and risk your life. That is why it is advised that you always start any type of HIIT under surveillance and training. This way, you will not risk your health and lead a great life ahead.

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