There are some misconceptions about strength training and HIIT that we'd like to address. Strength training and HIIT should be done by the vast majority of people as the two of them can help you reach your goals, whatever they may be.
We're taking the top 5 concerns/questions we get and letting you know whether or not they're actually true!
1. STRENGTH TRAINING WILL MAKE WOMEN BULKY
Strength training will NOT make women bulky unless they are purposefully working towards a goal of being larger or very muscular. Generally, this cannot happen without the use of steroids or other added substances. Women naturally do not produce enough testosterone in their bodies to ever become as large as men, nor build and retain muscle in the same way that men do. Strength training will give women an opportunity to build muscle which will make the body look leaner and stronger without being overtly larger.
2. I MUST USE HEAVY WEIGHTS TO DO STRENGTH TRAINING
Strength training looks different for everyone. Overall, strength training includes working with resistance. Depending on the particular goal and needs, heavy weights are not necessary to achieve the desired results. Strength training can have a variety of different looks and should be thought of as resistance training. Using some form of resistance: body weight, bands, dumbbells, barbells, etc., will all help you get stronger and build muscle. Different amounts of volume (reps, sets and weight) can help you achieve results without going insanely heavy.
3. I HAVE PRIOR INJURIES SO I SHOULDN'T STRENGTH TRAIN
If you have prior injuries (or even current ones), you should be strength training. You'll want to regain or build strength in any of the areas where it was lost or injured, as well as around it so that it's less likely to get re-injured. If you're currently injured, you can still workout! You'll want to avoid working out on the area that's currently injured but can certainly work around it. If you're lower body is injured, you can work your upper body and vice versa.
4. I HAVE TO RUN TO DO HIIT
There is no requirement to include running in a HIIT workout. HIIT is High Intensity Interval Training--the intense intervals can be anything you want them to be as long as they are within 90-100% of your max heart rate. This can be fast elliptical-ing, swimming, biking, whatever it may be. Everyone's max is a little different and everyone's version of intense is different so you're HIIT should suit you.
5. STRENGTH AND CARDIO INTENSITY ARE RELATIVE
Strength training and cardio intensity are relative to the individual. What's light or heavy to one person, may be the opposite to another. There are so many variances when it comes to how heavy or light something feels. You may also be really strong in your lower body but not as strong in the shoulders, for example, or vice versa. Same goes for intensity: what may be fast to one person may be slow to another. Your intensity and performance should be based on you, your health history, your maximum weights and more.