Luke Zocchi and Tiffiny Hall stretch their legs in a studio.
Centr Team

Are you HIIT-ing it too hard?

Centr Team

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) has been getting serious attention for a fair few years now from fitness fans and mainstream media alike. Here at Centr, we absolutely love HIIT because it’s one of the most efficient and effective ways to scorch calories, burn fat, improve your cardio fitness, increase strength and stamina and lean out all in one go.

But of course, too much of a good thing can still lead to a few cracks and mishaps if you don’t go about it in the right way. So is it possible to HIIT too much? Well, yes, and it can lead to plateaus, injuries and even burnout.

HIIT-ing ’til it hurts

HIIT can be pretty challenging on the body – after all, it is HIGH intensity, working at a 80-90% level of effort for a short burst of time. The physical demands can put a strain on muscles and the cardiovascular system. This means that too much HIIT can lead to fatigue and burnout if you’re not careful.

Likewise, the repetitive pounding on joints, ligaments and tendons can also take its toll, leading to overuse injuries such as ankle sprains, knee injuries, shoulder pain and tendonitis over time if you don’t take precautions.

But all styles of workouts have their downfalls. If you know what to look out for and how to maximize a training style, you can keep yourself – and your body – safe from harm.

How do I know if I’m HIIT-ing too hard?

There are a few clues to know when you might be overdoing the HIIT, including these five:

1. Excessive fatigue
Feeling tired all the time or excessively fatigued after a workout is a clue that you’re training too hard and your body needs a rest.

2. Sore muscles for longer than 72 hours
This is more than just DOMS. It’s your body’s way of telling you it needs time to recover. Don’t ignore it!

3. Fitness plateaus
These are a sign that your body is no longer responding to the exercise you’re doing because it’s too used to it and is no longer challenged. It could also be that needs time to rest and recover before it can adapt to more training.

4. Sore joints and frequent injuries
This is a painfully clear sign that the intensity of HIIT is working your body too hard and it needs time to recover. It can also be a sign of poor technique due to exercise fatigue or just not knowing how to undertake HIIT properly. You may need to correct your form, and you should consult a doctor at this point if you are worried.

5. You're HIIT-ing every day
Your body needs time to recover from movement, especially from a workout like HIIT. That’s why we advocate for rest days, as well as providing Centr members with a range of workout options for a varied schedule, including yoga, boxing, functional training and weight-lifting. Having variety in your workouts will help prevent burnout and boredom, and you can still reap the benefits of HIIT without doing it every single day.

HITT-ing your stride for maximum results

We don’t want you to read this and think “well, no more HIIT for me!”

HIIT is all about training smarter, so we want you to be able to maximize your training in the best and safest way. Here are a few tips you can follow:

An infographic detailing the information from the bottom of the article.

Let's break that down:

  • Don’t go too hard too soon. HIIT to your fitness level

  • Don’t ignore body aches and niggles – if you feel an exercise somewhere other than the intended muscle group, back off to avoid injury

  • Include rest days in your training schedule for your body to adapt, recover and reap the rewards of HIIT

  • Include strength exercises in your HIIT sessions, which help protect your joints with lean muscle

  • Always warm up, cool down and stretch

  • Listen to your body and take a break if you’re feeling fatigued

  • Make sure you balance out your HIIT training with flexibility training for reduced soreness, an increased range of motion in your movements and improved posture


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