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High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Benefits And Side Effects

igh-intensity interval training (HIIT) means the physical workout that includes alternate intense exercises along with  fixed periods of less-intense activity or even your body being fully at rest. High intensity interval training. HIIT has gained a lot of popularity and is the new workout trend these days. High intensity interval training tells you to workout with short time intervals (15 seconds to 4 minutes) interspersed with similar short rest periods. During the intense bursts of activity, you can use standard cardio machines or do other circuit based exercises such as squats and lunges. High intensity interval training is suggested by experts to burn fat quickly and effectively.

In this high intense workout, the sessions are harder and shorter than the general cardio sessions such as jogging and walking. For example, HIIT workout means you have to run as fast as you can for atleast 1 minute and then walking for 2 minutes. Repeat that 3-minute course five times for 15 minutes, and that will help in burning fat. However, you should remember that recovering your body  before the next interval is also important. Forcing your body to repeatedly follow through the intervals can be tiring and breaking. Giving proper rest in between provides excellent cardio sustainability.  Keep reading this article to know about the benefits and side effects of High intensity interval training (HIIT).


  • 45 seconds of running
  • 15 seconds rest
  • Repeat 1 and 2, 5 times
  • Take 3 minutes of rest
  • Repeat steps 1-3, three times, then end the session with a total time of 24 minutes

HIIT benefits

When your body is going through a true session of HIIT workout, it counts on your  anaerobic pathways or majorly breaking down glucose without oxygen to produce the enough energy that the body needs as fuel. This gives a sudden supply of energy, but the amount is extremely less, which means that the amount of time you can sustain that max effort is very short. However, high intensity training can provide a lot of advantages to your system. So, the main benefits of HIIT are:


1. Healthy heart

Most people are not into a habit of going into an anaerobic zone, which is when you cannot breathe and your heart is pumping too fast due to the exercises in HIIT. However, extreme training sessions extreme results. According to a study, after eight weeks of following HIIT workout, people can bicycle twice as long as they could before, even while maintaining the same pace. Therefore, another benefit of high intense interval training is that it promotes good heart health.

Also read: Love Your Daily HIIT Workouts? These 5 Foods Can Help You Stay Energised


2. Time efficient

HIIT is one of the best workout trainings for people who have a busy schedule and are not able to take out time for exercising. You can push in your workout in your lunch time easily and shed a few pounds within no time. According to a research, it has been observed that one can achieve more goals even in 15 minutes of interval training for atleast three days, compared to a person jogging on the treadmill for an hour. As per a study, just two weeks of high-intensity intervals can enhance your  aerobic capacity as much as what six to eight weeks of endurance training can do. you can get an effective training session in less than 20 minutes.

3. Improves metabolism

HIIT can also contribute towards enhancing your metabolism. It increases the fat burning and more muscle preserved. HIIT regulates the production of your human growth hormone by a lot, during the next 24 hours after you are done with your workout. The human growth hormone is not only responsible for more calorie burning, but it also slows down the aging process, adding on to the benefits of this training.

4. No need of equipment

Running, cycling, jump roping, and rowing all are excellent workouts to include in HIIT. However, the good part is that there is no need of any equipment to get these exercises done. You can perform all the workouts without the requirement of any tools. Jumping and lunges can get your heart rate up and you can enjoy all the benefits of High intense interval training. Moreover, some equipment such as dumbbells can make HIIT less effective that normal cardio because you should be aiming for pushing yourself hard on your heart rate going up, instead of fluffing up the biceps. And, you can do HIIT anywhere you want. Go to maximum levels of training for a short period of time and then a good recovery period time, and repeating the process again. You can even make small changes in the basis of time and space barriers and still go through the training effectively. 

5. Weight loss without muscle


When you are on a strict diet, it can be tough not to lose muscle along with the extra fat. However, HIIT helps in doing so. According to many studies, it does not support muscle loss, but it includes both weight training and high intense cardio. HIIT workouts allows you to keep their muscle mass and burns fat, while making sure that most of the weight lost comes from fat stores.

HIIT side effects

HIIT has been the buzz of the town since years and everyone has been obsessing over this training since a while. From fitness trainers to expert researchers, people are trying this workout practice nowadays. However, many healthcare professionals have also started to know about some disadvantages of high intense interval training, especially when practiced regularly on a long run. So, the main side effects of HIIT are:


1. Strain on the body

It is a highly demanding form of training that can put strain on your body, especially if you do not follow it in a proper way and with a training base to begin with. HIIT’s high intense workout format can put a lot more strain on your system than regular cardio and your muscles mostly get affected in this process.

Also read: What Does Low And High Intensity Workout Mean To Your Body?

2. Injury risk


This is an intense and progressive training that requires a lot of strength in each session. If it is not followed properly, the overexhaustion due to HIIT can result in over training and high injury risk. All the cardio exercises in intervals, paired up with improper rest and less recovery period can lead to severe and even long-term injuries.

3. Hard to sustain for a long time

This high intense training is effective in terms of saving time and burning fat, but it is surely not an easy task. It requires a lot of effort to repeat the intervals 5-6 times. While some people think of this as a challenge and motivation. On the other hand, others might do it forcefully and think of each session as a burden. Due to this reason, it might be hard to sustain for a long time and you might opt out.

Also read: Overall Fitness And Fat-Burning: Fitness Enthusiast Shares Easy Tips To Perfect Your Exercise Philosophy

4. Not for everyone

The HIIT workout can be different for everyone and has a distinct effect on each individual’s body. This cardio exercise can be highly physically demanding and can make you fatigue if you try to do it in bad cardiovascular health. It is important that you should be at the best of your overall health condition with low intensity cardio before jumping into high intensity interval training.


So, these were the benefits and side effects of high intensity interval training. You can try this training to burn fat and enjoy all the other benefits. However, you should keep all the side effects in mind, if you decide to follow this training. You can talk to your fitness expert about the detailed sessions before implementing them in your workout schedule.

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