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Caution All HIIT Lovers

By Joe Talarico on Jul 3, 2024 9:00:00 AM
5 Minutes Reading Time

HIIT can be an excellent cardio tool to improve your cardiovascular fitness and burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. It’s great for people who are tight on time, or may enjoy a higher intensity style of training. Having said that, there are some things you want to be mindful of if you find yourself to be the type of person that’s doing HIIT four or more times per week.

Injury Risk

Depending on what style of HIIT training you’re doing, you want to be careful that you aren’t putting excess strain on your joints. This can happen to people who enjoy CrossFit or anything with repetitive bouts of explosive movement. If your mobility or strength is not good, that will only heighten the chance of injury.

Long Term Results

While it is a great tool to burn calories and get moving, it is a lot of stress on the body. I used to get a lot of clients who hit a plateau losing weight. These same clients were doing four to six days of HIIT style classes, whether it was Orange Theory, Soul Cycle, you name it. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out why we weren’t able to move the needle, because I had them in a caloric deficit. The issue ended up being they were burnt out from all their classes. Once we took the classes down to one to two times per week, they blasted through their plateau and started losing weight again. We also cut out caffeine from their diets. Their adrenals were simply doing way too much work 24/7. You need to give your body time to recover. That’s not to say everyone has to follow the same steps my clients did, but it should be a red flag that you are overdoing something.


Not only can it hinder your fat loss progress, but it can mess with your hormones. If you are constantly overtraining, your hormones go all out of whack. Even without HIIT training, stress management becomes a very important factor particularly for those of us who already lead stressful lives. Just remember, your body can only handle so much stress before it’s a compounding effect.

So How Can You Make HIIT Work?

Make sure your routines are well structured and spread out. I say the same thing to my clients who want to put on size. Do the least amount to elicit the most amount of results. Don’t do more than you have to. At the very least, start there, gauge your recovery, and only add one day of HIIT at a time and give it at least two weeks of adding in that new day to see how your body then responds to that. You have to give your body time to take on the new stress and see how well it can adapt. If you start to notice things shifting (mood, sleep, plateau, etc.) then you know something is up. Peel back a day and now you know your limit. Make sure you are doing proper warm-ups and cool-downs the days you are doing your HIIT training.

Focus on prioritizing recovery after your workouts. Everyone should be shooting for eight to nine hours of high quality sleep. Eat enough protein, carbs, and fats to fuel your body to get you ready for the next day. Stay hydrated, don’t eat two to three hours before bed to let your body digest while you sleep, and always be mindful of your stress load that day.

Also consider mixing it up. Instead of five days of HIIT workouts, why not mix it up? Try two days of HIIT and then experiment with another form of exercise, like resistance training so that you can be stronger for your HIIT classes. See if there are any outdoor hobbies you can pick up that you’ve been wanting to try where you can test your stamina out.

Mistakes with HIIT programs | Mind Pump

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Joe Talarico

Joe is a certified Precision Nutrition and strength & conditioning coach. He assisted the UCLA Women’s Tennis team in winning their 2014 NCAA Championship Title, as well as study under the great strength coaches at Pepperdine University. He was a collegiate rower at the University of Rhode Island (where he got his Kinesiology degree) as well as an amateur physique competitor. He is currently the master trainer at Upgrade Labs in Santa Monica where he is combining his years of training clients in the gym with newer technology to optimize their performance and recovery. He also cohosts The RelationSH*T Show Podcast with his fiancée where they discuss all relationship topics unfiltered from who pays on dates, to open relationships.

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