HIIT workouts are great for 2 main reasons – the first is the improvements you gain in fitness for time spent exercising and second is the weight loss effect high intensity training has on your body.
But are HIIT workouts suitable for beginners ?
To answer this lets look at what a beginner needs from a workout and if a HIIT session fits the bill.
When starting out you need to go steady and respect that you are asking your body to do something it currently isn’t great at doing.
Therefore your workouts would try to challenge your body in a way that would make it respond but not in a way that would over work it and cause excess stress and damage, making it a negative experience.
Ideally you would want to work your upper body and lower body for strength and also add some cardio aspects to improve your heart and lung function. HIIT workouts are largely focussed around cardio movements so would feature mainly with this area of training or workout. Although you can easily and effectively use strength exercises as the lower intensity phases with good effect.
So does a HIIT workout meet these demands ? It does but only if you are sensible and use the correct level of intensity. Keep in mind that high intensity for one person may be different than for another. So it is all relative – from there you can see that it doesn’t mean you have to be pushing yourself 100% to achieve the HIIT effect.
For example – a simple HIIT workout for a beginner could be a walk – jog. Starting with a 5 minute warm up walk and then adding in a gentle jog for a minute every 2 minutes for the next 10 minutes.
This would easily achieve a HIIT effect, be appropriate for a beginner and give good results.
You can modify this type of workout to suit your current fitness level by increasing either the Low intensity part, i.e. the march on the spot and therefore extending the active rest between the harder phase. Or increase the high intensity part to make the workout more demanding.
Overall HIIT workouts are a great form of exercise and something I use a lot in my programmes and with my clients. My advice is to use them appropriately, do not just do the same session someone else has done, personalise it to your level and always go on the side of caution until you get familiar with this style of training.