From the start of the year, I have drifted away slightly for the gym setting and because I was starting to run more, I felt like because I was running, I didn’t necessarily have to go to the gym as often. This Summer, I have incorporated a new workout structure into my routine, HIIT and that’s what today’s post is all about.
(Photograph from Pexels.com)
If you don’t know what HIIT is (I’m sure most of you do though) it stands for high intensity interval training and according to Wikipedia, “is a form of interval training, a cardiovascular exercise strategy alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods”. I had heard of HIIT before, it’s all over the internet at the minute so I wasn’t completely oblivious to it but it never occurred to me to add it in on a regular basis. Scott had originally shown me a workout or two and at the time, it completely exhausted me but I loved it. It was the first time in a long time where it had the same impact that running had, so thinking back now, it seems very strange that I didn’t keep it up.
As I mentioned at the beginning, my usage of the gym had slipped from the beginning of the year and because I was started to run more, it almost gave me the excuse not to use the gym as often as I should. My motivation had started to lower severely over the last few months too so that also became a factor for me.
So what prompted my interest in HIIT workouts again? Well, one of my favourite Instagrammers at the minute is @steffi_loves, a local personal trainer in Belfast who not only is one of the sweetest women you’ll see on Instagram (and real life) but she is incredibly motivating when it comes to fitness. She records her own fitness workouts for her website and Instagram and doesn’t make it seem like the toughest thing in the world to do either. She had announced that she was hosting a HIIT session with a brunch afterwards and I’m all about a good brunch so I decided to sign up. I was going through a period (and if I’m being honest, I still am) of low self-confidence so I was more nervous than I was excited, but I knew that if I wanted to get over that hurdle, I had to make myself uncomfortable, even if it was just for a morning.
(Photograph from Pexels.com)
I don’t tend to go to a lot of group exercise classes, I prefer to workout on my own but after a while, I felt very at ease. At my local gym, when I hear group classes going on, there seems to be quite a lot of shouting from the instructor and that’s what puts me off. If I wanted to be shouted at, I would shout at myself, I don’t expect someone else to do it for me. I understand the reasons behind it; it’s meant motivate people to work out harder but it does the opposite for me. It simply makes me more annoyed and want to quit. Thankfully Stefanie wasn’t like this at all and I believe that was one of the biggest reasons why I enjoyed the class so much.
Now unfortunately I can’t remember how many or all the names of the exercises we did on the day but if you’re looking for exercises to put together yourself, you can check Stefanie’s website or there are hundreds of resources online. For our class however, we did a body weight circuit with thirty seconds on and fifteen seconds off then we repeated that three times with a minute and a half break in between. Once that was done, we completed a ten minute cool down with cardio mixed in there but some stretches too. It was such a fantastic class and it gave me the same exhaustion that running did, so I knew something had really clicked.
(One of the first HIIT sessions I did on my own after going to Steff’s class)
My set-up is very simple at the minute but I don’t think it needs to be complicated. I choose to do these workouts in the gym but they are so easy to do at home too. All I need is a mat or a soft floor then depending on the body part I’m focusing on, some hand weights too. That’s it, it really is that simple.
(One of my most recent HIIT sessions focusing on the arms.)
It has really changed the way I look at my fitness performance. When I first started the gym around five years ago, I wouldn’t leave until I had at least completed an hour worth of exercise and I felt like I had to hit a certain amount of calories before I had left. Back then, I didn’t really know that the calories on the machine weren’t that accurate and I thought the longer you worked out, the better it was for you. I was very wrong but thankfully over the years, I have started to become more knowledgeable about fitness and how you should pair different machines with different body parts that you want to focus on. I’ve discovered this year that I have completely fallen in love with both running and HIIT and while I know I can’t workout this way every single day because your body does need recovery, it’s nice to know that I’m still learning about my body and the way certain exercise can impact it.
Thank you for reading today’s post; I’m really excited that I have become passionate about using the gym again and HIIT training has changed the way I workout as well as giving me that little kick up the butt that I needed when it came to fitness.