I used to be the Cardio Queen. Cardio every single day. I thought that was the answer to my goals. I thought the more cardio I did, the better my body would look, feel and be.
OH BOY. Was I wrong.
I was also dieting at the time.
Doing intense cardio + dieting = disaster. And unfortunately, that's what most young women are doing.
You are buying into the programs that tell you that "20 minutes a day will lead to your fittest body."
Sorry, girl, but that's not exactly true. If it sounds too good to be true, then it is. It's not going to give you that magical body that they are trying to sell. It's a scam.
Most HIIT/Cardio programs are designed to BURN fat, but most of these programs are marketed towards YOUNG GIRLS WHO DON'T NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT. That's why I read comments like:
"I lost my period dieting and doing cardio"
"I am so tired and hungry all the time"
"I'm getting overly skinny and my family is concerned"
That's because you DO NOT need to be doing cardio every single day ESPECIALLY if you are in a calorie deficit AKA dieting.
Now if you are cutting carbs or eating low carb, then you are doing even MORE damage. If you aren't eating carbs, then doing HIIT will be downright detrimental to you. You are setting yourself up for loss of lean muscle and chances are, you won't even be able to make it through the entire workout. You simply can't workout at the intensity that HIIT requires without glucose in your system. If you aren't fueling the engine (your body), you won't get far with your workouts.
HIIT workouts sure, they will help you shed fat and increase your aestheticism - if that what you're trying to do. But in reality, you are probably just trying to look and feel good. But you find yourself going in the opposite direction.
Unfortunately, most girls want to have a lean, tight, "toned" body, and if you are starting out you PROBABLY don't have much muscle mass (key word: probably).
So what are you burning away doing HIIT every day? The little muscle mass you already have.
That's why your results won't be lean, tight and "toned."
HIIT is extremely hard on your central nervous system. That's why the demand on your body may make you feel tired, irritable and just plain cranky.
So now what?
So what do you do instead? Well, you lift some damn weights and EAT. Now I know that this isn't marketed to you on the Internet, so you're probably like "no Steph, you're wrong." But, I am a clear example that eating MORE FOOD and strength training will give you a healthier body and happier mind.
Your focus should be on strength training and if you really need to do cardio, do HIIT a few times a week. But know that there are other ways to move your body that aren't so intense - for example, Pilates, yoga, etc. You are still strengthening and moving without the crazy intense effects of HIIT every damn day.
And guess what? When you lift weights, you will NOT be dieting because your body NEEDS the fuel to move, build and grow. OMG GROW? LIKE GET BIGGER? Uh, yeah, your muscles are going to get bigger, but your fat is going to decrease. That's how lifting works. Metabolism boosted. And you might just find lifting a lot more enjoyable than trying to torture yourself for 30 minutes.
When it comes down to it, do what you enjoy doing, but make sure you aren't torturing yourself with workouts only because they are highly marketed on the Internet. Everyone has different results, goals, and everyone likes to do different things. Get off the bandwagon and do you own damn thing.