Fitness experts reveal downside to working out ‘too hard’ and signs to recognise

HIIT is a popular workout with a punchy name that’s designed as a killer session in minimal time, but is there a chance we’re overdoing it?

Short for high-intensity interval training, HIIT classes involve intense bursts of exercise alternated with recovery periods. For Sean Johnson, regional fitness manager of Orangetheory Fitness, it’s understandable why they’re so ‘tempting’.

For people short on time, a hard session like HIIT where you’re working out above 85% of your maximum heart rate can be seen as a ‘quick fix’. However, experts say there are downsides to trying to squeeze every bit out of our workouts.

“A lot of people are pressed for time and seek a ‘quick fix’. To many people, the assumption is ‘no pain, no gain’ and so therefore seek out a hard-hitting, pulse-shattering workout to undo the unhealthy habits they may have gotten themselves into,” Johnson says.

“A hard workout can feel very rewarding when you move fast and blast around for a short time.”

Plus, there are benefits to HIIT training, with Johnson saying: “A shorter, more intense workout does have the ability to elicit a longer afterburn compared to a less intense longer workout.”

But is there a chance we’re overdoing it, in a bid to ‘get the most’ out of our workouts? There’s a growing trend for lower intensity exercise – often using a heart rate monitor so you can track where you’re at – which might provide a whole host of benefits, without making you feel a bit sick.

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