Fitness Specialist Explains Why HIIT Classes Might Not Be The Best Way To Get Lean

Fitness Specialist Explains Why HIIT Classes Might Not Be The Best Way To Get Lean


3 September 2018


Back in the day, we called it ‘bootcamp’. Now, it’s HIIT (standing for High Intensity Interval Training) which has gained a lot more popularity than its bootcamp counterpart. The truth is, there is really not much difference between the two in terms of the concept behind them, which is to workout at your top level of exertion in order to achieve maximum burn in minimum time alongside some cardiovascular and muscular endurance improvement.

This concept has in fact been around for a very long time. The only difference is that the environment and experience of HIIT is deemed as more “pleasant” than traditional bootcamp as trainees no longer have to put up with muddy or dusty outdoor environments. And instead of being shouted at by a tough drill sergeant, they get to move to the beat of the music with a charming group instructor who constantly cheers everyone on.

That’s why there’s no surprise that HIIT studios are mushrooming all over the world! This appealing concept of HIIT has enrolled a massive following for those looking to get lean, especially those who were once sedentary. HIIT is quick, fun, engaging and easy to follow. The truth is, HIIT is NOT effective for everyone.


Here are 3 reasons why:

1. It’s a stressful addiction

Exercise is a stressor. With the right dosage, it’s extremely great for our body to produce the kind of growth response in many areas such as muscle mass and the respiratory system. But when we get carried away, things will start to get overwhelming. Let’s not forget the stress we are already getting from work, family and issues we might currently be facing in our lives. If our body fails to combat all the stress accumulated, the stress hormone (cortisol hormone) will shoot through the roof. This can bring about a whole heap of negative impacts to our immune system, energy, appetite and even promote the storage of more fat, which is the opposite of what we all want!

2. Basics are not meant to be skipped

Success in anything is about getting the basics right. What about success in fitness? Well, there is no difference. The basics and fundamentals of fitness components such as mobility, stability and strength are crucial to be established before taking on any fast paced and strenuous activities. The issue is, many people have not been conditioned to do HIIT.
Risk of orthopedic injuries like rotator cuff tears, shoulder dislocation, meniscus tears, ACL tears and hip or ankle injuries can surface when there is a lack of structural integrity all across our body. Your best bet is to instill patience to practice strength and movement training for a period of 12 weeks before incorporating your first ever HIIT workout into your regime.

3. To burn fat, is to build more muscles!

The focus has always been, how much can you burn in one workout? Isn’t it tiring to think that every time we want to burn more, we have to workout more? Isn’t it a put off to think that in every workout, we have to suffer every single interval just to see some changes in our physique?What if we told you, you could keep burning more all day long even on days you are resting? Muscle is a metabolically active tissue and it is “calorie expensive” to keep. So the more you have it, the more you will burn. Even sitting on the couch doing a Netflix binge. Simple as that! Take gymnasts for example who possess the greatest physique of all, perform strength work for the most part of their training! So there you go, a solid example of why HIIT is not the only solution to stay lean, but a well designed strength training can be!

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3 Tips For Making Sustainable Fitness Improvements

  1. Going for the "less is more" approach is always the best, as health and fitness should never be about exercising only. Spending a good amount of attention on getting your eating and recovery right is also an essential part of the game.
  2. Getting yourself educated with proper exercise technique execution can go a long way. Invest in learning from a trusted coach as this can prevent you from making unnecessary mistakes while saving you the time it will take figuring it all out yourself.
  3. Always listen to your body, not the trend and ultimately nurture it with what suits you best at your current physical abilities and lifestyle you have.