Disadvantages of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an efficient way to upgrade your aerobic fitness. But that efficiency comes with a lot of tradeoffs. There are many potential disadvantages to this sort of interval training.

Most gym fanatics especially people in weight loss programs are interested in HIIT because it enables them to do more in a short time.

With high-intensity exercising, they force their body to go through a process that keeps working on burning calories even several hours after a workout, which is amazing!

But people need to understand that such an intense workout is not always good.

Although HIIT is a powerful tool, and a majority can practice it to get in shape but there are some cautions to keep in mind while setting up your workouts around such a high intensity.

Vigorous HIIT for more than 30 minutes per day and 3 times a week without a proper rest day in between can do more harm to your body than good.

And that’s only one negative of HIIT training, there are many others.

11 Potential Disadvantages Of High-Intensity Interval Training And Their Solutions

1. Higher Chance Of Injury

No pain no gain is only a myth. With high intensity comes a higher risk of injury.

HIIT is a powerful workout and requires a lot more movement and energy than any other form of exercising.

During HIIT, a person working out might lose control over the body and get injured.

Like in burpees, you might get damage your knees if you are working out while your body is not fully recovered from yesterday’s workout or the workout you did in the morning, and you are doing it again in the afternoon.

Similarly, running at high intensity can get hard on your body if done frequently, like more than once every day.

The best thing is to do a warm-up before starting a high-intensity workout and don’t always test your limits.

Plus if there is fatigue in your body then recover from fatigue 1st, or if you feel weak during workouts then use some of these solutions to remove weakness before workout 1st.

It is better to rest a little more and work out when you are ready for a demanding workout.

2. Stress On Muscles And Joints

Different interval durations and intensities can lead to different physiological issues. Longer intervals with high intensity result in higher acute cardio-circulatory responses.

Running at full speed causes muscle damage and soreness. Do as much as your body can tolerate.

There is always another day to come back and work out again. Don’t put so much stress on your muscles and joints that you can’t move them the next day.

Make exercise a part of life that enables you to live healthily, not an activity that keeps you in bed for days.

3. Stress On The Body

During HIIT, you might trigger cortisol which is the stress hormone.

It results in extra stress on the body that develops gastrointestinal diseases, for instance, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

If you are working out too heavily, you will naturally build fatigue that will stop you to touch the exercise equipment the next day.

Don’t put so much stress on the body that your mind is unable to go for the next workout on the next day.

4. Weakening Of Immunity

Doing excessively intense workouts can make you ill. If you practice HIIT more than 3 times a week, it can potentially make your immune system weak, and you eventually can fall sick.

However, regular physical activity boosts your natural defense mechanism and might help you with HIIT.

5. Decline In Mitochondrial Functioning

Mitochondria are also known as the powerhouse inside the cell. Sometimes, HIIT damages it so badly.

According to an admonitory new study of the molecular effects of HIIT, people who started working out with great energy developed acute declines in the performance of mitochondria and symptoms of blood sugar dysfunction.

In one study, people who practiced HIIT routines more than three times a week failed to improve their blood pressure or body fat.

6. Higher Susceptibility To Overtraining Or Burn Out

Excess of everything is bad, be it eating or exercising.

High-intensity interval training demands too much physical and psychological energy that puts you at risk of over-training or burnout.

Overtraining is a state in which excess exercise leads you to get an injury or fall ill. When we try to advance too quickly, our body hardly gets time to adapt appropriately.

So you are more likely to be unwell for a long time if you are over-training.

7. Loss Of Appetite And Sleep

HIIT is considered an ideal workout for building strength and fitness. However, it might affect your sleep, mood, and energy badly.

Individuals who practice high-intensity interval training regularly tend to achieve baseline cortisol levels.

Cortisol is good for body repair until you gain a flat cortisol level which eventually causes mood swings, loss of sleep, and appetite.

In terms of mood swings, flat cortisol is also associated with increased fatigue, a high level of depression, and low self-esteem.

It’s significant to note that you can elevate cortisol due to non-exercised induced stresses. So, if you’re just already stressed due to daily life, avoid over-practicing HIIT.

8. Plateau Or Drop-in Training Progress

HIIT of more than 30 minutes a day is too much of a high-intensity workout. And for a week, it is important to keep it down to 3 to 4 days a week with a proper rest day in between.

If that limit is exceeded, HIIT can have a destructive impact on your workout performance – resulting in a plateau or drop in training progress.

9. Depletion Of Glycogen

During the workout, the body first employs fuel that is available for quick processing.

Firstly, free-circulating sugar goes into the blood and utilizes glycogen (carbohydrates in the liver and muscles).

The human body restores glycogen during rest; however, during HIIT, you cannot replenish them.

If you perform HIIT frequently, it could result in a decreased amount of glycogen, leading to gluconeogenesis.

Gluconeogenesis is a metabolic process of transforming protein to generate glycogen; it restrains the amount of protein required to repair muscle tissues that are impaired by rigorous exercise.

10. Demotivation

You need the motivation to practice any exercise. Especially, HIIT requires a lot of energy and demands a lot from your body.

Excessive intensity eventually leads to burnout and demotivation. If you overdo high-intensity training, you will find yourself scared of doing it for a long time and end up quitting it.

So, the best option is to opt for a bit easier workout routine.

11. You Must Avoid Hiit If You Are:

1. Heart Patient

During HIIT, your muscles require extra oxygen. High-intensity workout places a lot of burden on your heart.

It has to perform additional work that results in extra pressure on the cardiorespiratory system.

If you are suffering from heart problems, HIIT can be extremely risky for you.

2. Not Sober

HIIT is not for you if you drink alcohol. You might get severe injuries if you practice HIIT in a hangover or even after.

3. New To Workout

When you are new to workout, HIIT is not a good option.

In the beginning, your muscles are not strong enough to handle high-intensity training, and if you start this training, you might strain your muscles.

Start small and build from there.

4. Injured

Among many disadvantages of HIIT training, the one that stands out is that it demands a 100% fit and well you. HIIT puts a lot of stress on muscles and joints.

And if you are injured, and start doing high-intensity interval training, you might make your injuries even worse.


That’s all in the disadvantages of HIIT training. No doubt it’s one of the most popular forms of exercise. However, it also has its fair share of disadvantages. This article looked at 11 of them.

If you are thinking of starting HIIT training, be sure to read this article first.

Share it with your friends on social media to help them make an informed decision about HIIT training.