A Rutgers study found that injuries sustained during workouts increased between 2007 and 2016, and they attributed the increase in injuries to HIIT workouts.
High Intensity Interval Training has gained traction in the workout world for its ability to burn calories and increase cardiovascular fitness in a relatively short amount of time. Just this morning I did Tabatas for a grand total of eight minutes, was ready to puke by the end, and am reaping all the benefits of a sprinting, maximal effort as I type.
I’m a big fan of HIIT workouts because I think most people are chronically stressed by slow, steady, consistent cardio, but I also think this study warrants a lot of attention and speaks to a big issue in health today. Impatience leads to radical changes, and those changes are hard and have real consequences. If you’re looking for health advice online or in a magazine, there is a lot of advice about quick fixes (there’s some great stuff there, but I don’t think your health fell apart by excluding Macca), one tweak to shed fat, one workout to add to get ready for summer, or even how to not die by eating (!?!?).
The Biggest Loser is a great example of what’s expected vs. what’s real. Not only is an extended weight loss effort crammed into an hour of TV, the numbers these people shed in short amounts of time make it seem like if you only lost 2 pounds in your first week of a new eating strategy, you’ve failed.
The truth is that real, sustainable change takes time and needs to be done carefully. If you read an article about the benefits of fiber and up your intake by 200%, there are going to be consequences…probably mostly felt by your toilet and stomach, but still. Even if you eliminate some unhealthy food, there will probably be a detox period where your body is trying to figure out what happened to its old source of fuel and feeling pretty poor as that adjustment takes place. In terms of exercise, the same is true. Someone who’s been sedentary for years should certainly not start doing sprinting workouts if and when they get inspired to move. Someone who hasn’t lifted since college probably shouldn’t jump into deadlifts at twice her body weight.
As unsexy as it is, sustainable efforts toward health involve gradual changes to which your body can adjust while avoiding injury, sickness, and hunger can lead to unhealthy binges. In short, when you are ready, do the slow, steady work to get yourself healthy.
Part of that work, by the way, might involve getting some help. If your car weren’t running the way you wanted it to, you’d probably take it to a mechanic who knows stuff about cars to get it fixed. Treat your body with the same respect as your car for goodness sake. It’s easy to feel like an expert about health because of the availability of information, but nutrition advice, by design, is confusing out there on the internet. Talk to a trainer about how to get your body ready for HIIT. Talk to a health coach about getting your nutrition in order. Talk to a sleep expert about getting your sleep hygene in straightened out. Transitioning to a healthy lifestyle isn’t easy, but it can be simple. What say you? Any quick health tips made a big difference? Any been total failures?