You're Probably Doing too much HIIT

Victor Williams

November 6, 2020

Understand how to incorporate HIIT into your training regimen to produce effective results.

Many people have become addicted to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), because of the many positive aspects it brings to the table - the main being that it allows one to burn more calories in less time. Another is that people really feel like they’re getting more out of their workout, because it’s so tiring. Many of us feel like if we’re not dead at the conclusion of the workout, that we didn’t work hard enough. 
While there are many positive aspects of HIIT workouts, many people tend to get carried away with the volume of this training because they don’t understand the possible cons. But like anything else, too much of a good thing can become bad. The main con is that - because you are pushing your body to the max or near max - your muscles will need much more time to recover, due to the high stress that they are being put through. Doing too much or working too hard, too fast can produce negative results (injury). Also, too much HIIT training will reduce the intended effect of your HIIT workouts - at the end of the day, if your body is too fatigued to perform with high intensity, is your high intensity workout really high intensity? It’s about quality, not quantity. 
So, how do you make sure you’re not doing too much HIIT? The first thing you should do is listen to your body. If you start to underperform in areas where you know you should be doing better and have done better in the past, it’s a sign that you are overtraining and need to pay more attention to recovery. If you start to experience pain (vs soreness) in the days following your HIIT workouts, you should probably back off a bit. 
My general rule of thumb is to give yourself at least 48-72  hours in between bouts of maximum intensity training. Work in recovery days and other bouts of heart rate zone training so that you’re giving your body a balanced dose of varied training. For most of us, the goal is to be all around fit/healthy over a long period of time. On that note, remember this - long term consistency, trumps short term intensity!