How Safe Are High-intensity Training Programs?

Is it safe to perform high-intensity training programs, such as “Insanity”? The answer is affirmative, but only under certain conditions, and even if you meet those criteria, it might not be a good idea.

Before even considering whether to engage in a high-intensity training program, ask yourself why you are considering such a program. For one thing, the benefits of such a program are not comprehensive. Recent studies indicate that, compared with a prolonged moderate-intensity workout, high-intensity training does little to reduce cholesterol or counter obesity, two of the more important reasons people engage in workout programs to begin with. And a traditional strength-training program will be far more effective if increased muscle mass is your goal.

However, a high-intensity workout can be helpful when you are trying to reduce systolic blood pressure or improve glucose tolerance. But similar results can be achieved with moderate-intensity training that, while more time-consuming, carries far fewer risks.

Speaking of those risks, high-intensity training programs carry more than a few.

    • Such programs are intended for younger and healthier people. If you have not been conditioning yourself for weeks, jumping into commercial exercise programs such as Insanity or P90X can be quite difficult and even dangerous.
    • Such heavy workouts lead to rapid fatigue. This causes decreased joint control and increased risk of injury.
    • These intense workouts can increase muscle mass at a much higher rate than the changes in your tendons. This can cause tendonitis or, worse, a muscle or tendon tear.

While high-intensity training might seem like a good solution for someone who has little time and big fitness goals, the risks can definitely outweigh the rewards. The human body needs to be treated with care. Avoid pushing it faster or harder to a point to which it can realistically adapt.

Taking care of your body should be an important priority in your life. Find a way to make time for exercise. We can work with you to create an individualized exercise program that can help you attain your goals. Remember: When it comes to physical conditioning, the tortoise will outrun the hare that has been injured.