The Importance Of Starting Slow With High Intensity Training

By GetFitFocus

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HIIT training really is just as easy as it sounds and simply involves alternating between periods of high exertion and relatively low intensity exercise. There are a few caveats however and it is important to approach this in a sensible and structured way in order to avoid injury or disappointment.

Most people will begin their HIIT with running as this is a very straightforward form of cardio training that doesn’t require access to any special tools or equipment. There are countless HIIT protocols however, and these vary in length and intensity.

The key thing to recognize here is that high intensity training of any kind can be highly dangerous if you have never done it before. This is also true if you’re overweight or if you’re in very poor physical health. It’s also dangerous if you have any pre-existing heart conditions. You need basic heart strength before you start pushing it to 100%. It is a good idea to build up at least a basic level of fitness before you start your HIIT training.

If you’re still gasping for breath whenever you ascend the stairs, then you’re not ready for HIIT. Here’s the thing, even if you’re used to exercising regularly and in good shape.Switching to HIIT will still come as a very big shock if you have not used it before. This is a whole new ball game in terms of the demands it places on your body. You will be surprised at how quickly you end up in a heap on the floor!

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Gently Build Up a Basic Level of Fitness

Before beginning an intensive training routine, it is always a good idea to consult with your physician. This is to ensure that you don’t have any underlying heart conditions! Before you start pushing yourself to your cardiovascular limit, it’s a good idea to first build up that basic level of fitness. Basic fitness will prevent you from shocking your heart too much. Right now, you might be thinking that you don’t need to worry about this and that it’s not likely you’re going to suffer any heart problems.

Even if you’re not worried, building this basic level of fitness is important for your ability to stick with an intense HIIT workout. This is the mistake that too many people make – they launch straight into their training. The hope is that they will be able to keep up a pace that is far above what they find ‘comfortable’. The belief is that you need to be pushing beyond your comfort levels in order to lose weight.

What actually happens is that you end up hating exercise and dreading your workouts. The result is that you’ll find yourself putting it off unless you’re feeling your very best. In no time at all your training falls by the wayside and you give up! So don’t aim for losing massive amounts of weight or transform your fitness right away. Rather focus on gradually improving your fitness so that your workouts are never outside the realms of comfort to begin with.

You’ll find that as you do this, you learn to do more and eventually this allows you to take on more challenging workouts and actually stick with them.

Start With Easy Jogs

 So how do you build up this basic fitness? The answer is actually to start with steady state cardio. Starting with a gentle pace to begin with and then build up. Begin with running but don’t aim to run a long distance or at such a high pace. Instead, just aim to enjoy running.

Set out with comfortable running shoes and jog carefully and slowly for half an hour. When it becomes painful, go home. Do this once a week and you will eventually find that you will start running faster and further without even trying. More importantly, you won’t risk over extending your body and injuring yourself. Overtraining at the start will lead you to loathe your training and possibly avoid it all together.

This can be very frustrating at first if you were hoping to get into great shape right away! But what’s very important here is to be disciplined with yourself. A lot of people think that getting into great shape is all about being disciplined enough to just keep training. You also have to be disciplined enough and patient to build that basic level of strength. Do this before you approach the more intense types and levels of training.

Build up your strength and stamina slowly and then you can look at adding HIIT workouts. And again, you’re going to start gently.


A lot of people will read the words ‘HIIT’ and assume that this is one type of workout. In reality though, HIIT is a very broad and flexible term that can encompass a great many different types of training and a great many different protocols. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to start HIIT and dive in right at the deep end with an intensive program aimed at dramatic changes in your body and fitness.

One of the most popular choices for instance is ‘Tabata’. This is a brutal, punishing, fast and highly effective method of training that will leave you gasping for air and dripping in sweat in just minutes. However it’s also far too intense to start with when your basic fitness is lacking.

So start easy and learn the correct movements. If you learn how to properly train at a slower pace, then your workouts will be a lot more effective when you turn the dial up!

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