Hands up if you ran to a HIIT class in the days following Thanksgiving to fight off holiday pounds. We know-- HIIT workouts are all the rage and they do an incredible job of getting you in shape, fast! Have you ever thought though that maybe there's too much of a good thing? Recently, Greatist interviewed Joey Thurman, a certified personal trainer and the author of 365 Health and Fitness Hacks That Could Save Your Life about HIIT workouts and how often they should be done a week.
"The idea is to elevate your heart rate for a brief period, followed by resting for a given period,” he said. But the most important part of HIIT is that each workout should be given maximum effort. If you're doing a tabata workout, one of the most popular types of HIIT workouts, and you are doing 20 seconds of push ups for 4 rounds, by the last second of the last round, you should have reached maximum effort meaning you could not do one more pushup.
HIIT workouts were designed to be done quickly at maximum intensity. It's for people who want to fit a workout in who may only have 20 to 30 minutes to get a sweat in, so if you're logging 5 HIIT classes a week, chances are you're not going hard enough. Another potential outcome is injury from overuse if you are using max effort and still maintaining a routine of 5 time a week. So what's the golden number? Experts say 2 to 3 in order to still gain those benefits without injuring yourself. “Research shows that intervals can repair your metabolism by reducing inflammation, forcing the body to improve its ability to use and burn energy,” says Thurman.
HIIT for the win!