Tabata and HIIT workouts continue to be a very popular way to exercise, but doing them could be burning you out and slowing your progress.
If you don’t know what Tabata is, he is a researcher whose study has been bastardized into any form of exercise where the workload is 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds – a total of 4 minutes.
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, and it means you work really, really, really hard followed by rest, and you repeat this cycle of up and down. (Tabata in the general term is a type of HIIT.)
You DO burn a ton of calories and train your cardio-respiratory system to work at higher levels with these types of workouts.
You CAN lose weight using Tabata and HIIT.
You CAN get stronger.
You can ALSO BURN OUT…and you will, if not used appropriately.
The problem arises when you attempt to do this high intensity style of exercise day after day, week after week, and year after year.
If you have fallen victim to attempting to train like this year after year, YOU NEED TO TAKE A STEP BACK.
It’s especially true if you are suffering with pain.
First, take a full break if you’ve just been plowing through injuries. Taking a week (or month) or two off will do your body wonders and help it recover and repair.
You won’t want to do this.
You won’t feel like it’s the right thing to do. You’ll feel the “need to exercise” and go a little bonkers and think that this edgy feeling is your body’s signal that you are missing valuable workouts.
But, no. Your body isn’t missing anything more than rest.
So, if you are nervous about taking a full rest, or you always need to feel the “exercise” high and “need for speed,” so to speak, this is a red flag. This is your sympathetic nervous system on “GO” at all times.
Your Fight or Flight system is being an overachiever.
Once you REST, and the aches and pains start to subside, and you are sleeping better, start back (secondly) by doing low intensity work.
Yep, the boring kind, but still the kind that trains your heart and lungs and gets the blood mildly pumping. Consider this your base.
This could be low intensity swimming, biking, or even mixing up body weight or very light weight exercises that you simply repeat. (Body weight squats, light jogging in place, core exercises, carrying stuff; but it’s low intensity, not high intensity.)
Gradually, move back into adding high intensity work.
This is pretty simplistic, but it’s a start.
Your body talks to you. Listen to it.
If you are exhausted, feel beat up, stressed out, plateauing, and your resting heart rate is high, take a break from all of the High Intensity Interval Training. Your nervous system needs a break – and that’s okay. 🙂