Have we gotten carried away with HIIT?

Box jumps

“Everything in moderation” guides my nutrition and fitness decisions. I firmly that being healthy does NOT have to be hard, restrictive or compulsive. Recently, I’ve watched in horror as HIIT has overtaken the fitness world. Now, don’t get me wrong—I love a good high-intensity interval training session and we know that it works. But lately it seems that HIIT is the ONLY way you can exercise, which leaves me worried that people are overdosing on HIIT when a little bit would do the trick.

Look at the number of magazine covers devoted to HIIT, the industry articles explaining and debating it, the selfies documenting the HIIT workout that brought the instructor to his knees today (and yesterday and the day before, too), as well as the number of workout DVDs and infomercials devoted to these hardcore workouts. You can’t escape it—it’s everywhere you turn. And, sure, there are a few professionals out there suggesting that people exercise caution with the volume of HIIT training they do, but in consumer land HIIT has become the one-size-fits-most approach to quick results and we, as an industry, are certainly delivering.

HIIT is hot—and, when something is hot, we feel compelled to comply and give our customers what they want. In doing so, our clients can no longer escape it even in our capable, trusted hands so they begin to believe this is the answer to their prayers. You’ve got HIIT on the schedule everywhere and instructors who have classes that aren’t titled HIIT are sneaking it in, too (yes, we’ve witnessed Reformer Tabata). You gotta admit, deep down you know that too much of a good thing is NOT the best for you or those you teach. But we need a voice of reason.

As professionals, we need to TRULY understand what HIIT is and then educate people about what they should and shouldn’t be doing to get the most from their workouts—collectively, not individually. Furthermore, we must keep ourselves in check and not let the need to be popular outweigh our responsibility to act as the educated professional tasked with LEADING consumers to the fitness promise land.

What is HIIT?

HIIT—high-intensity interval training—includes a shorter workout of intense intervals with varying work-to-rest ratios. If your clients want to get all they believe HIIT has to offer, they have to go hard! Because of its popularity, however, HIIT now comes in all shapes and sizes these days: strength, cardio, hybrid, equipment based, non-equipment based and beyond; short, long

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Fitnovatives Blog — Courtesy “American Council On Exercise” (ACEfitness.org)

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