Well, the problem is that the amount you sweat and how tired you are after a workout does not always equate to results with your health and fitness. So many people feel like the solution to getting in shape is doing HIIT or sweating it out but that is not always the case. Now don’t get me wrong, HIIT can play an important role in getting fit, getting in shape and giving you results but it should not be the base to your entire regime regardless of what your goals is; be it muscle building, weight loss or sports specific performance.
Let’s take the example of a person who is overweight or just a beginner to training. If they base their entire program on HIIT there may be a few issues that arise. Firstly, they are not giving their body a chance to learn any fundamental functional movements, the pace of HIIT is forcing them to just ‘get it done’ within the particular time period. This may lead to, not only incorrect technique, poor movement efficiency but may result in serious, long term injury. Secondly, a person who is overweight may have serious pre-existing joint issues that they need to fix before diving in to HIIT. If they are jumping and having high impact sessions then the chances are that they are going to end up injured again.
Secondly, by focusing on HIIT alone you are actually not building muscle or specifically in the fat burning zone, at least not for long periods of time. You see HIIT burns a lot of calories and has an EPOC effect on training which allows a person to burn energy even after they finish exercising. This is why it is so popular. Some people may burn 300-500 calories in a workout session and that calorie expenditure will put them in a calorie deficit for the day. This is often correct for most people but this, especially for beginners is not going to get you long term sustainable results. If you want to get these long term results and be efficient you need to base your training around strength, steady state, mobility and HIIT, not just HIIT. Let me explain more.
So if you want to be in good shape for long periods of time, you need to build muscle and make your body more efficient. To build muscle you need specific controlled movements that are done in a specific tempo that will allow you to build muscle. You must first start by understanding the movement, recruiting muscle fibers and by activation. This, unfortunately, does not come in the form of a HIIT session. The best place to start would be to focus on muscle activation, neural connection between body and mind and also my personal favourite style of activation, Isometric training.
Isometric training is focused on holding a particular movement in a static position to contract it. This is what I utilize with all beginner clients so that they can maximize their recruitment, understand the concept of training and to help with activation. This should be the prerequisite to HIIT for every single person. Following I focus on your compound movements of vertical pull, horizontal pull, vertical push, horizontal push, knee dominant and hip dominant movements. These lay the foundation for all training sessions. When a person has a solid foundation, understands the movements and is able to perform those movements correctly then the option of HIIT can be brought in.