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Don't Do HIIT If You Say "Yes" to These 3 Questions

Morgan Garza's picture
HIIT fitness

HIIT is not for everyone and answering these 3 questions will help you decide if it is something to consider adding to your routine.


High-intensity interval training or HIIT is a big hit (sorry, I had to) in the fitness world and has held strong through the years especially amongst bodybuilders. Comprised of short bursts of 100% effort using primarily bodyweight, HIIT is a seriously difficult exercise method. Incredibly demanding on the body, it also has great rewards if you are able to efficiently support these demands.

However, this extremely challenging workout is surely not for the mainstream exercisers. If you’re just getting back into being active or if you’re severely overweight, HIIT is probably not going to be the best option for you. Championed for building muscle and burning fat, it requires a substantial amount of energy (food), rest and stamina to keep up with the unforgiving philosophy of this exercise.

If you say “yes” to the following three questions, you should definitely think twice before you give this challenge a shot.

  1. Are you on a low-carb or carb-free diet?
  2. Do you do weight training three or more times a week?
  3. Are you trying to lose a lot of weight?

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High-intensity exercise requires high amounts of glucose (carbs) to sustain adequate energy levels to complete the workout and benefit from it. They key here is benefit. You may make it through a 20-minute HIIT workout with minor struggle, but not benefit because you body is just burning through your energy reserves. Consuming a post-workout protein drink is also important to replenish the body and feed the muscles.

If you are already lifting weights 3-4 times a week at an intense level, becoming fatigued may have nothing to do with your muscles! The Central Nervous System (CNS) can become overworked with a week’s worth of weight lifting and HIIT combined and can easily shut down and wreak havoc on the body. When the CNS is taxed, it leads to “overtraining” syndrome and can be hard to come back from.

While HIIT is great for increasing stamina, muscle definition and strength, it is actually not great if you’re trying to drop some serious pounds. A huge part of losing weight is diet. And if you haven’t sorted a diet plan out yet, then it is important to focus on that before you get into burning loads of calories, and having to consume loads of calories in replacement.

It is important to know your body, your limitations, and your goals.