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HIIT Workouts: Bust the Myths and Learn the Real Deal!

What’s Up with HIIT? Get the Scoop from Our Gym in Baltimore

HIIT workouts continue to generate lots of buzz since they first burst onto the fitness scene a few years ago. While they’re packed with potential, there’s also a lot of erroneous information floating around the workout world about this short but sweaty type of workout. 

Looking to sort out the fact from the fiction? Read on for a roundup of four common HIIT myths and misconceptions.

Myth #1: HIIT workouts require a paramount level of fitness.

Just because many of the people you know who wax enthusiastic about HIIT are ripped doesn’t mean they started out that way. In fact, HIIT workouts are appropriate for people at a variety of levels because they comprise “self-limiting” movements, which simply mean that participants work to a percentage of their personal max during intervals using an individualized rate of perceived exertion.

However, there is a catch. Just because everyone can do a HIIT workout doesn’t mean everyone should. Just as you wouldn’t jump into running a marathon without acquiring a certain level of fitness, you should also undertake HIIT with caution in order to reduce your risk of injury and muscle soreness. Experts recommend waiting until you can sustain 30 minutes of moderate, low-intensity aerobic exercise  before progressing to HIIT workouts.

Additionally, a personal trainer can offer invaluable partnership in guiding you to getting all of the benefits of HIIT training, whether you’re just starting out on your fitness journey or you’re looking to amp up your program.

(Sign up here for a personal trainer session.)

Myth #2: HIIT workouts are all you need to reach your fitness goals.

There’s no arguing that HIIT workouts deliver on their hype. Not only are they incredibly effective, but they’re also versatile. Explains PopSugar, “You can do a HIIT workout with almost any type of activity, including running, swimming, and cycling, as well as strength training with exercises like burpees, squats, and push-ups. HIIT is flexible and you can create different formulas for the work-to-rest ratio, but the most popular is 2:1. For example, you work for 40 seconds at your max and rest for 20, repeating this pattern for five to 10 sets. The Tabata Protocol might be the most well-known HIIT workout. Its eight rounds of 20-second intervals followed by 10 seconds of rest make it one of the hardest four-minute workouts you’ve ever done.”

This flexibility means it’s easy to stay engaged when incorporating HIIT into your fitness plan. The operative phrases in the previous sentence, however, are “incorporating” and “fitness plan.” No single exercise program will ever lead to comprehensive fitness. From strength training to eating right, you can expect best outcomes from a holistic approach. Do not rule out the value of building cardiovascular endurance by supplementing HIIT with low-intensity steady-state cardio.

Myth #3: More Is Better

The old saying goes, “You can never have too much of a good thing” is not applicable when it comes to interval training. HIIT workouts are intense, and it’s easy to overdo it, particularly if you’re doing it right. Extending HIIT workouts beyond 20 minutes, doing HIIT workouts every day, and/or failing to allow ample rest time between workouts can lead to diminishing returns.

Myth #4: HIIT can help you target problem areas.

HIIT workouts are all about working out your entire body. HIIT does not specifically target any one part of the body, which means that it is a highly efficient way to get a full-body workout.

If you’re going for the Arnold Schwarzenegger look, HIIT training alone won’t help you build muscle mass. It will, however, help you maintain lean muscle toward a sleeker and stronger body.

Now that you know the facts, what are you waiting for? Whether you’re looking to start your journey to fitness or just looking to change things up, HIIT offers life-changing potential.