Common Misconceptions About HIIT

It’s no secret HIIT workouts are all the rage these days: they’re a fast-paced way to getting the most benefits out of your time in the studio or gym. They can also be equally intimidating if you haven’t tried one out, or are just getting started in your fitness journey. Sound familiar? This article is for you.

Myth #1: HIIT is for advanced students only

How often have you said this while scrolling through your ClassPass app? Chances are it’s been all of us at some point. This couldn’t be more false for HIIT classes. As an instructor, I scale workouts with every level of student in mind. If certain exercises are too complicated, I’ll provide modifications and equipment/weight recommendations so each student feels challenged at their current fitness level. On the fence for your first HIIT class? You’ve got this! Book it, and take a few minutes before class to chat with your instructor to get all your concerns voiced. We as instructors love getting to know our students and how we can help to make your first experience a great one.

Myth #2: HIIT is better for you than steady state cardio workouts

HIIT specific studios are having a major moment these days and increasing in popularity. One of the most common sidebar conversations I hear from students is that they’re foregoing steady state classes in order to see better results and not lose muscle mass. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. A study by the International Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that adding in low-impact steady state cardiovascular workouts will not hinder muscle growth. It also found that in beginners, it helped increase muscular gains. Think of it like this: any aerobic training increases your aerobic gains. Try adding low-impact steady state cardio to your recovery days for an added boost in results on your HIIT training days.

Myth #3: I need to go 5-7 days a week to see results

One of the major cautions I give my students is to really think strategically about their class lineup during the week. While it is tempting to challenge yourself by joining in 30-day challenges, etc, it’s important to understand your body’s limitations and your goals. HIIT classes should make up only three workouts per week to see excellent results, while also keeping you free from injuries. Same goes for doubling up classes. If you’re a two-a-day gym goer, plan your HIIT class in the morning, and opt for a low impact strength, yoga class or at home workout in the evening. Pro tip: this formula will also keep you from having major food cravings in the evening post-class!

Myth #4: HIIT is the only way to burn fat fast

Yes, HIIT is very effective at burning fat and calories. However, it’s not a bar none solution. HIIT is effective only when coupled with diet adjustments and a balanced workout routine. If your goal is to lean out your physique, it’s important to speak with a trainer or nutritionist on how to properly implement a routine and diet that works for your body. Everyone is different, and it is important to approach your routine objectively to avoid starting something that’s not effective for your goals and limitations.

Mandy Gragg is a New York City-based certified personal trainer and an active fashion and beauty blogger. She shares her fitness, fashion, and skincare tips on her blog Haute Unofficial. Follow her sporty adventure on Instagram for more fitness, beauty, and active fashion inspo.