Is HIIT overrated & too strenuous for losing body fat?

Woman running over a bridge

Is HIIT as great as everyone makes it sound?

HIIT is one of the most effective ways to shed that stubborn body fat, allowing us to forgo spending endless amounts of time in the gym working out.
It’s still tough to get people out of their heads and understand that more cardio will not lead to extreme fat loss.
HIIT surpasses steady-state cardio in fat loss, performance and preserving muscle mass while losing body fat.
It most definitely has its advantages in this department.
HIIT is one of the best-kept secrets for bodybuilders trying to lean up for a competition.
We spend a minimal amount of time on HIIT, and although we are known to spend more time walking to keep body fat low without compromising the loss of our hard-earned muscle.
There is also a fine line between cardio and its performance for fat loss.
Do we need to do this daily, or can we minimise the amount of cardio we do?
What are the long term effects of this?

The downfalls

A few downfalls can throw HIIT from the pedestal we seem to put it on.
Several people do not know or have been misled regarding the essential technique to achieve those fat burning goals.
Most of the time, the effectiveness of the sessions is deemed by how ‘thrashed’ you feel after its’ completion.
It may ignite an obsession with reaching this level at all times to experience success.

What about your fitness levels?

We must wonder if the people performing HIIT is within the fitness and stamina range or are newcomers to exercise.
Again, this can cause many imbalances and injuries if you do not properly execute this strategy.
HIIT does place your nervous system, muscles and joints in an incredibly harsh environment.
It’s highly likely to cause you problems if you train this way more than three times per week.
The question of safety is required when it comes to the obese, unfit or anyone a little bit older.

Therefore, is HIIT needed?

Well, this is a yes and no answer.
If you are new to the game, I would say that starting small is your best plan of action.
Enlist the help of a professional to run through the proper techniques, which will save you from taking days off training due to injury.
Once you feel confident in what to are doing, slowly allow yourself to transition towards higher intensity levels, but only as your fitness and experience grow.
We need to take one step at a time, just like the process of building muscle. For example, we cannot deadlift 100kg on the first day.
Lifting heavier weight is a gradual progression over weeks, months and, more than likely, years of training.
Progression with HIIT is the same.
However, your “giving it your all” level may be lighter than an expert.
This is ok.
Play it safe in the beginning, especially if you are overweight.
It’s better to allow the time and space to increase your fitness levels without any ill effects.

Don’t forget your diet plays a huge part in fat loss

One thing that’s important too would be the diet you currently have.
What is your regular food intake, and how does it sit on a macronutrient level?
Food quality is far more critical in your weight loss plan than exercise.

The calorie myth

Remember that burning a considerable amount of calories should not be your primary focus or aim.
Understandably, HIIT does burn lots of calories, and that looks great on your FitBit, but is it worth the risk of illness and injury?
HIIT can make you catch colds and flu as well.
However, that is if you overdo it.
Immune system shocks are not abnormal; neither are insomnia or higher cortisol levels.
If you are insistent on using some form of cardio, why not implement incidental (and gentle) exercise into your regime to create a better balance.
The whole aspect of good health, weight loss and body composition changes start with moving your body regularly, incorporating good quality foods, and getting some rest.
I do hope this helps you somewhat.
Remember, everything in moderation is beneficial.

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