Athlete Health and High-Intensity Interval Training

Gain a Competitive Edge for Your Athletes, Your Team, and Yourself

After completing this HIIT course, you’ll know:

The health benefits and potential risks of high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

The physiological effects and different phases of stress, and how HIIT affects overall stress load.

How to assess health relative to performance using metrics such as work outputs and heart rate.

How healthy sleep, adequate nutrition and other lifestyle factors are necessary for proper recovery in a HIIT program.

How the connections between hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenals (the “HPA-axis”) regulate stress hormones via the nervous system.

The role of macronutrients and micronutrients in energy production and effects on stress, inflammation, recovery and a HIIT program.

Some common deficiencies for athletes and what types of quality foods to prioritize for optimized nutrition.

Course Description

The Athlete Health and High-Intensity Interval Training course teaches a holistic approach to ensuring optimal health while implementing High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

HIIT can be an amazing tool to take your training and performance to the next level but can have a detrimental effect on health if recovery, nutrition, and overall stress load are ignored. This course focuses on the lifestyle factors that need to be considered when implementing and optimizing a HIIT program. This course focuses on:

  • The lifestyle factors that need to be considered when implementing and optimizing a HIIT program;
  • The physiological effects of stress and its relationship to recovery;
  • Important recovery tools such as sleep, nutrition, sun exposure and more;
  • Methods to determine early if your HIIT protocol is negatively impacting health.

2 hours on-demand video

Full lifetime access

Access across devices

Course Content

Part 1: Defining Health, Fitness and Stress

This lesson sets the groundwork for the course by defining topics such as health (physical, mental, social well-being), fitness, and stress. Phil then dives into the health benefits and potential risks of high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

Lesson duration: 11:04

Part 2: The Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis and HIIT

Part 2 dives deeper into the physiological effects of stress and how HIIT can potentially contribute to negative chronic stress (overtraining) if not implemented safely.

Topics covered:

  • General Adaptation Syndrome continuum – how stress manifests in different stages
  • Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis and how it integrates with the nervous system to regulate stress hormones
  • Underlying predisposing conditions that can lead to athlete death

Lesson duration: 19:30

Part 3: Athletes - Fit but Unhealthy?

Part 3 focuses on the fact that athletes can be fit but unhealthy and how a holistic approach to assessing excess stress is the best practice for approaching athlete health.

Topics covered:

  • Sleep as a vital part for recovery from stress, including healthy sleep guidelines
  • Overfat definition and how increased body fat can impair health
  • How to easily assess body fat
  • Assessing health relative to performance using metrics such as work outputs and heart rate

Lesson duration: 23:03

Part 4: Nutrition - Food Quality

Food quality is crucial for optimal nutrition and therefore optimal recovery and repair from stress.

Topics covered:

  • Diet = calories + nutrients
  • Defining food quality
  • Low quality, processed/junk foods and the effects they can have on the body including added stress and impaired recovery
  • High quality foods that are less processed and healthy and how they support recovery from stress
  • Examples of low quality and high quality foods (including foods that are disguised as “healthy” but are actually low nutrient quality foods that can inhibit stress repair)

Lesson duration: 12:32

Part 5: Nutrition - Carbohydrate, Fat, Protein

In part 5, we dive deeper into the role of nutrition in optimizing repair from stresses such as HIIT.

Topics covered:

  • Macronutrients from food – carbohydrates, fats and proteins
  • The role carbohydrates, fats and proteins play in contributing to energy production as ATP and its use in HIIT
  • The requirements of micronutrients in energy production
  • The relationship between dietary fats, refined carbohydrates and inflammation (a stressor)

Lesson duration: 18:35

Part 6: Nutrition - Plant Food, Water, Vitamins

The last part of the course completes the discussion on nutrition and delves into some common deficiencies in athletes that could be impairing performance and affecting health.

Topics covered:

  • The importance of plant foods (phytonutrients) for recovery from HIIT
  • Hydration / water consumption – the dangers of under-hydration and over-hydration
  • Vitamin D from food and sun sources
  • Common deficiencies in athletes

Lesson duration: 11:24

About the Instructor

Dr. Philip Maffetone

Dr. Philip Maffetone

Consultant, Writer, Independent Researcher, and Lecturer



Dr. Philip Maffetone is a coach and health practitioner working in the areas of exercise and sports medicine, nutrition, and biofeedback. He provides athletes an individualized system for success in a wide variety of sports, most notably endurance competitions, by combining training, nutrition and neuromuscular treatment. He also has authored more than 20 books and hundreds of articles in various languages on all topics of health and fitness. These titles include The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing and The Overfat Pandemic (Skyhorse Publishing), and the textbook Complementary Sports Medicine (Human Kinetics). His research has been published in Sports Medicine, Frontiers in Public Health, PLOS and other biomedical journals.


Dr. Maffetone was a private sports practitioner and coach between 1977 and 1997, and now a consultant, writer, independent researcher, and lecturer.

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Some Frequently Asked Questions

How is course content accessed/delivered?

All course material is available through our easy-to-use online platform.

Once in enrolled, you get instant access to the video lectures so you can progress through the course at your own pace. Each lecture also has lesson comments to ask/answer questions and interact with your instructors and fellow students.

Will I get any support or individual attention?

Of course! There are discussion sections for each lesson where you can ask questions or leave comments and engage with your instructors and fellow students. You also have email access to the instructors.

And if you have any technical issues accessing the course content, you can always email us at – we’ll get you back to learning in no time.

How long will I have access to the content?

When you enroll in HIIT Course, you’ll get instant, lifetime access to all course content so you can take the course at your own pace and come back as often as you need to refresh your knowledge.

Will I receive Continuing Education Credits for this course?

No. We do not offer CEUs for this individual sport course.

However, if you are looking to earn CEUs about HIIT, you can earn CEUs for the larger Science and Application of High-Intensity Interval Training course. That course offers a Certificate of Completion and you’ll earn National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Continuing Education credit hours as well as endorsed credits from BASES.

What if I sign up and decide the course is not right for me?

If you’re not 100% satisfied in your investment in the course, we’ll refund 100% of what you’ve paid if you make a request within 45 days of enrollment.

No questions asked.

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