HIIT workouts are a dime a dozen and promise all kinds of life changing results.  However, there are some major downsides when it comes to these high impact workouts and the stress they cause on our body and hormone levels.

High impact workouts are defined as workouts that have a high impact on our joints.  Some common examples are exercises such as running, cross fit and burpees which all put a strain on our joints and bones resulting in long term health problems.  But what about the other side effects?

Let’s talk hormones

When it comes to hormones, we would typically associate exercise with endorphins, the happy hormone.  Endorphins are released during low impact workouts and strength training such as our 1WRKOUT classes.  This is responsible for the happy, energized glow you feel after a great class!

On the other side of the coin, high impact workouts can release a not-so-good feeling hormone.  High impact workouts typically consist of short classes that are super high intensity and really push your body to its limit, sometimes making you physically sick!  High impact workouts release the stress hormone cortisol, which activates our fight or flight senses.  When pushed regularly to spike our cortisol levels, we remain in a constant state of stress, whether knowing it or not.  This can cause long term problems which detract from any goodness of exercise.


After even just a few sessions you may find that you plateau and no longer respond in a positive way to the workouts.  Common side effects from HIIT include fatigue, weight gain, increased appetite, sleep disruption and higher blood sugar levels.  Sounds pretty rough right?

In the long term this can become more serious.  If cortisol levels remain high for a sustained period of time, your fight or flight response becomes impaired and will not react in certain situations in the way that it should.  As you age this can cause long term inflammation, depression, exhaustion and lowered immune function making you more vulnerable to sickness.  Certainly not ideal in our current situation with a pandemic.

On the flip side

Low impact exercise actually does exactly the opposite and has been shown to decrease cortisol levels, hence the great stress relieving effect of 1WRKOUT.  Yay!