This Is Why HIIT Workouts Aren't For Everyone

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a popular fitness trend that involves alternating between short intervals of high-intensity exercise and brief periods of rest. Because this category is so broad, HIIT encompasses everything from running to CrossFit to weight lifting. While HIIT is an effective way to burn calories and stay in shape, it's certainly not for everyone (via Well+Good). HIIT may be a great option for those who are already in shape and working out at a higher intensity, but for people who are just starting out, it might not be sustainable.

"The message of 'squeezing it in' perpetuates the idea that exercise is a chore," says Panteleimon Ekkekakis, a professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University. "We want to break down the association of exercise as punishment, as something unpleasant, something to tolerate or a bitter pill you have to swallow. For example, instead of viewing a bike ride as exercise, we want people to think of it as a chance to enjoy the outdoors or to spend time with family."

How often should you do HIIT?

Not only can HIIT potentially increase the risk of injury, but it can also cause those at the beginning of their fitness journey to view exercise as unpleasant and unenjoyable, which may discourage them from working out altogether. If you're physically fit and genuinely enjoy HIIT, there's nothing wrong with implementing it into your weekly workout routine. However, you shouldn't do it every day (via CNet). The American Council on Exercise recommends engaging in HIIT only 1-2 times per week for no more than 6 weeks at a time. Many other fitness experts also suggest leaving at least 1 day of rest or low-intensity exercise in between HIIT workouts.

Doing this can help reduce the risk of injury and burnout and maximize the overall benefits and effectiveness of your workouts. "If we continuously push our bodies past our capabilities, we're at risk of burnout, losing motivation, and injury," Lee Jay, a personal trainer based in Tel Aviv, told CNet. "In reality, very few of us need to follow a strict program. If your HIIT workouts are making you feel more low than high, it may be time to reevaluate your program."