HIIT, or high intensity interval training, has a lot going for it. It requires very little space (meaning you can do it at home) and not too much time (meaning you can squeeze it in whenever). Beyond that, HIIT touts a number of health benefits: It can stoke your metabolism, help you lose weight, and take your fitness to the next level.
But as you know if you’ve ever done a HIIT workout, it can be very, very intense. And if you do something so intense for so long (and so often), it’s not surprising that there’s a catch. Robin Berzin, M.D., an mbg Collective member and Functional Nutrition Program instructor, has seen many patients who consistently do HIIT workouts suffer from digestive troubles. How we move, she says, is important (and often overlooked).
“One patient of mine was doing high-intensity interval training almost every day, and it was actually overly stressing her body,” Berzin says. “What we know is that for the gut to move, it has to relax. And when you’re in a state of stress all day, and then you do high-intensity interval training over and over again, sometimes it never gives the gut that time to relax, digest, and move.”
In other words, HIIT is tough on the body, which can be great for strength and performance, but not so ideal for digestion. If you’re doing HIIT now and experience no symptoms, that’s awesome and you should keep doing what works. But if you’re a HIIT lover struggling with constipation, it may be time to make some changes.