So before I start apologizing for not being on zee blog this whole week and a half, I need to stop myself.
Because this blog is for my enjoyment and shouldn’t be a stressful thing. Life things (ie. workoholic with some social trips thrown in) gets in the way sometimes and I just don’t have the time to sit down and write no matter how much I’m missing it. I didn’t even have the time to nap once last week! #SleepDeprivationIsNotCool.
I thought about how I could squeeze in writing when I got home. I pondered and worried a bit about the possibility that my readers would be slightly annoyed with my lack of postage.
***PLEASE NOTE no one said anything to make me feel that way! ***
The truth is though…
When I arrived home at 10pm after an 8 hour day at work (plus training myself and clients in the mornings before work), blogging was the last thing on my mind. I just wanted to eat and go to sleep.
That’s just the way it is sometimes and I always have to keep in mind that this blog is my hobby, not my job. I hope you amazing peeps are okay with that.
I will say that what I AM sorry about is that I haven’t been able to answer your lovely questions in a timely fashion, but I guess that’s just the way it is right now and soon enough posts will be posted. A relaxed blogger is a happy and more in depth and helpful blogger amirite?
Just as a lil conclusion though, I want you guys to know that I love you guys and I love blogging and getting these posts up. I also love hearing from you guys so please don’t take this lil stretch of commentary as me saying I don’t enjoy it because it’s quite the contrary. I just don’t want to get into the mindset that I HAVE TO post “#” many times per week or feel guilty if I’m too busy.
So now, for today’s post I did want to share with you a lil workout I threw together for my first teaching-like experience at the Pulse last Thursday!
You see, as of recently, some of my professional spotters (the community guys, the ‘mature men’ HA not students) do a lil TRX (suspension training) workout with a fellow trainer at the Pulse on Thursday mornings. Unfortunately last week, Cayley had to cover an open support staff shift and so I offered to step in a do a lil HIIT circuit workout with them instead to make up for no TRX.
Keep in mind that I have never taught a class before.
But I was super excited to try!
And because they are amazing, they welcomed the idea! So bright and early Thursday morning (my rest day), we got to it and I had them sweatin just a tad. 😉
Before I continue I do want to address a few things (QUICKLY I promise) about HIIT as I have been asked a few questions about it.
1. What is HIIT?
High Intensity Interval Training. Fast bouts of back to back exercises (your working set) followed by a short rest period (or recovery period) and then you repeat the cycle. So where you’re used to resting between every single exercise or, if doing a cardiovascular based workout, doing it at all the same pace or steady state, in HIIT, you complete your entire working before breaking for a short time.
2. What are the benefits of HIIT style training?
- Doing this type of training keeps you in the sweet spot of building lean muscle (because you are working in an anaerobic state like you would weight training) while also placing you in the fat burning state as well (because of the cardiovascular and explosive components).
- Builds cardiovascular endurance.
- Keeps your heart rate up throughout your entire workout, forcing you to not take too lengthy of a rest period between sets.
- Makes your workout quick and efficient. Most HIIT sessions can be done in less than 45 minutes. If it’s sprint intervals, less than 30 minutes even.
- Like weight training (and UNLIKE regular steady state cardio) you have the benefit of burning calories hours after you complete your workout thanks to EPOC (excess post exercise oxygen consumption). Put simply, EPOC is just the process of your body trying to regain homeostasis after working in an anaerobic (lacking oxygen) state and helps with overall recovery.
- It’s fun! It’s probably something you haven’t don’t much of and because you can keep the sessions fresh and full of new things it not only keeps you challenged, but it also keeps you mentally engaged.
One thing that I particularly like about HIIT style training is that you are able to build lean muscle while still getting some cardiovascular training in. With something like steady state cardio, you may actually be whittling away your hard earned muscle and thus, in the long run, you are working against yourself. Check out some of the video logs posted by Layne Norton which discuss his stance AGAINST excessive steady state cardio and the negative effects on your metabolism when overly used.
3. If you are doing a HIIT form of endurance training, how is it different from regular ol’ cardio?
As mentioned, one of the main differences is the oxygen state you are in. For steady state, due to adaptation to the same speed and effort, you are generally working in an aerobic (or with oxygen) state. On the contrary, HIIT pushes the body into an anaerobic state, just like weight training does, where you are working in a state of oxygen deprivation. In addition, as mentioned above, because of that difference in states, one of the big benefits is the “afterburn” effect that EPOC has with HIIT. Steady state cardio does not continue to burn calories following the completion of your workout, or at least, not that many.
4. How often can I do HIIT?
It is not recommended to do more than 2-3 sessions of HIIT per week because it can be quite rough on your central nervous system. When done right they are very challenging and can do great things for shaping the body BUT if done in excess, your body can become stressed and release too much cortisol (stress hormone that has been contributed to weight gain particularly in the abdominal area) as a result.
5. What is a good HIIT workout?
There are so many options! You can do exercise based and/or cardio focused types of HIIT workouts which give you great variety to work with. These are not technical terms, but what I mean is that a cardio focus could be one involving sprints or hill climbs in intervals. On the other hand, you may choose to do back to back exercises that are no focused on running or cardio per say, like the workout I will provide below.
There are many great examples of various types of HIIT workouts online to check out. Sites like Bodybuilding.com, other fitness/nutrition sites and even pinterest can get you going to do some exploring.
So with that all said and done, here was the workout I threw together for the guys.
I tweaked our exact workout just a touch (broke the mountain climbers into two 30 second segments rather than one 1 minute one as suggested by one of my HIIT’ers) but the total time worked is the same. We did a total of 3 rounds of this and rested in between for about 90 seconds.
- TRX: For the rows and squats (for balance and support)
- Dumbbells: For the dumbbell swings
- Platform: For any modification that were required. For example, to make the side planks more challenging, put your feet up on the platform. OR to make the burpees less challenging, do the jump part then do the pushup on the platform.
That is what we used but you don’t need any of those things if you don’t have them or don’t want to use them. That is yet another great thing about these types of workouts is the customization that can be done! For example:
- We had the ability to use the TRX for the rows and squats but you don’t need it if you don’t have one available to you. Instead you can do jump squats (or start with body weight squats if pop or jump ones are too much for you right now) and instead of the inverted rows we did, you can simply do regular rows using a dumbbell (or if at home, use a heavier can or weight you have lying around. Just make it challenging enough).
- On that note, use what you have on hand if you’re doing this at home. Don’t have dumbbells? Use heavy cans or another heavy object that you can hold onto.
- Customize for your skill level at the time. Can’t do a full burpee? Do the part you can do and adjust the other part. Perhaps it’s the full push up you can’t do. So, do the first part then when you come down to the pushup, drop to your knees for half (or girlie as they are called) pushups. Can’t do pop squats for a minute yet? That’s okay! Do as many as possible then complete the minute without the pop or jump, just the squat.
Overall, the main thing here is to push yourself to give your maximal effort. Go as fast and hard as you can (with proper form maintained!) for each of the exercises until the timer tells you to switch or you won’t get the full benefit. You should be out of breathe at the end of each working set.
One last comment is the dumbbell swing.
Here’s an article and video of what that is. Click HERE
If you have a kettlebell available to you those are ideal, but dumbbells will work just fine. The point is that you should be NOT swinging your arms but instead driving that weight up using your glutes, hamstrings and hips. We are not working shoulders here, we are wanting to get some good hip action and glute poppin going mmmmkay? Also, ensure your shoulders are rolled back and your core is engaged (‘sucked in’) the entire time to protect your back.
Well I hope that ties up a few loose ends about HIIT training and I hope that someone will benefit from the workout I provided. Have a great Monday evening friends!
Oh and btw, I got my tat done today! Exciting! I will post up some pictures once the swelling is down a bit more as it’s a wee bit angry right now.