Lil Miss Fitness Freak

"And though she be but little, she is fierce"

My First Teaching Experience HIIT Style


Hey Friends!

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.

For realz.


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, 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.

HIIT backgroundI 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.

Our equipment:

  • 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:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.



31 thoughts on “My First Teaching Experience HIIT Style

  1. Sorry to hear how busy you’ve been, but I am SO SO SO glad you’re back. I was actually getting worried. PS: lately I’ve been referring to you in daily conversations. Almost like a “WWCD” (what would chelsea do)…..hope you don’t find it creepy 😉

  2. Oh never feel bad for not posting although we all probably do miss you! I know I did. But you always type quality posts and it’s always been quality over quantity. Also thank you for this post! I feel it/HIIT makes a healthy lifestyle way more attainable! I have never been a lover of exercise and I’m not majorly overweight or anything…well maybe by Hollywood standards I am.:) I’m definitely not in the shape you are, but I appreciate that you are pushing an attainable level of fitness for those of us that don’t love working out. Funny thing is, the more I work out, the more I want to. So the small expectations actually accomplish great things! I do appreciate not feeling the push to spend my life in the gym, I will admit. I love your posts! Keep up the wonderful work you do, lovely!!

  3. I definitely agree that high intensity or intervals is the way to go for cardio, and you can finish it within 25-30 minutes. No more bouncing on the elliptical for an hour with a magazine, which just doesn’t get the job done. Also, never ever ever ever feel bad for not posting. A lot of us are just selfishly waiting to get our “fitness freak” dose.Thanks For sharing your heart. ALSO cannot wait to see the tattoo!?! Was it the one you mentioned previously on your ribs?

  4. Hi Chelsea! I totally agree with you. I’ve been loving 30 min workouts. I alternate with 5 min intervals on the treadmill where I will run as long as I can and then walk. Then 5 min intervals of jump squats, planks, wall sits, step ups, etc. Feels great to get an intense workout in and be done so quickly!!!

    Take some time for yourself today, mmm k? 🙂

    Looove your blog BTW. Also, cannot wait to see the tattoo XO


  5. I only do interval training at the gym too! The main reason is because I get SUPER bored doing the same thing for an hour straight. On cardio days I sprint and jog/walk for 20 minutes or so and then do the stair master for 15 mins.

    Can’t wait to hear your other tips! 🙂 PS: We missed you but never feel guilty. Please.

    • So true that one way to get rid of boredom is to incorporate things like this. They are challenging and new and exciting so it’s the best of both worlds. Keep going strong! Thanks for your support, I miss you guys during these periods as well, you all have no idea how stress relieving it is to write and hear from you all. ❤

  6. Thank you so much for your tips – I am sure everybody’ll love this because everybody is always short on time! Ooh I cannot wait to see your workout plan! I’ve just started doing HIIT and am loving it – 5/6 days a week in the gym is not possible with my lifestyle either – bring on the HIIT! XO, D

  7. Woah! I literally just read about this two days ago on destination femme ( and knowing that another blogger out there does it definitely affirms the truth behind it. Seriously going to incorporate more HIIT into my workouts more often now! Thanks for your input 🙂

  8. This sounds like a great way to keep fit quickly and effectively. Juggling a full time job, plus hobbies and a social life can be hard, so keeping a good fitness regime in line can be very difficult- thank you for your tips and tricks. I cannot wait to see your tattoo. I hope you got the shakespear one you wanted. Thank you Chelsea for always posting amazing content-even when you’re so busy!

    • Aww you’re sweet, thank you! I did in fact get that quotation that I mentioned earlier and I love it. Still nursing it a bit (it’s swollen) but I can’t wait to see it all healed up! I love blogging and will always keep posting for you guys and can only hope that I can continue to help my readers with their questions and their journeys in any way that I can.

  9. I mix it up as well. Intervals are more fun (if cardio can really be fun) but steady state is more mental toughness. There are benefits to both, some days it is just easier to jump on the treadmill and hit start and lose yourself in the pace, other days it requires a planned interval workout.

  10. I’ve never done an HIIT workout before – they look so tiring! But I’ve been struggling to find time to workout lately with my work schedule, so maybe I should consider HIIT…

  11. Thanks SO much for this post; it came at just the right time!!! I usually love working out, however this week I’ve been lacking the motivation & energy and didn’t know why. I’ve been doing four times a week, in addition to 4-5 HIIT workouts on the treadmill. I’ll definitely be scaling back from now on! Thank you for your continued support, encouragement and inspiration.

  12. Hi Chelsea! I wanted to write you to let you know about my body transformation over the past 6 months.

    As busy as I am with my work and personal life, I needed motivation and a realistic program that could put me back on track and keep me there long-term. I needed a lifestyle change–not a diet plan. I was always athletic in high school, but since college and afterwards, I put my health and fitness on the backburner. It was very easy to make excuses and to be comfortable in my body. I am 5’7 and never was a big girl, but rather just not in the best shape that I could be in–not looking and FEELING my best.
    With your “Program”, learning how to eat, and doing a variety of workouts—from Pilates, and Yoga, to Circuit Training, Spin and HIIT, I have lost 3 lbs but most of all changed my health. Your blog, along with your ongoing posting—being available for any questions that I had—was priceless! Even with this-don’t feel guilty for not posting!

    I FEEL my best and could not be happier. It is amazing with moderation, clean eating, and exercise how good you can feel. And, even better, to see amazing results. This is a lifestyle that I CAN and will keep up with moving forward. This is NOT a short-lived diet/exercise program that does not fit into your life. With proper food prep / exercise planning, it is ALL possible to achieve the goals you want.

  13. Reading your blog is inspiring and enabling me to change up my workouts, which were in a serious rut! I have never tried HIIT but you talk about it all the time. I’m going to the gym tomorrow with my friend… I think I’ll try this!! Thank you thank you 🙂

  14. I love HIIT – took me a little while to get into because I’ve always been a low, slow and steady cardio kinda girl but now that I’ve experienced the magic of HIIT, I’m never going to turn my back on it. Question: did you notice a change in appetite when you started doing it? I know you said you were doing it every day at first, so that can obvs affect things, but was just curious. I just recently added a teeny bit more HIIT and more Zumba to my already running-and-power yoga-packed routine and have been a hungry hungry hippo.

  15. ver the past year I have lost 20 pounds. I always thought that you needed hours and hours a week to workout to be fit so I just never made time. The truth is, I do have time! Not hours…. Everyday I am finding a balance between work life and personal life and feeling like a new person

    Thanks for motivating me for the past year, Chelsea!

  16. Thanks for the great post! I love HIITS but never really knew the actual benefits of them! I always struggle to put them into my weekly workout routine!

  17. Love HIIT for days that I’m short on time, but really want to get in a sweaty workout! Can you do a post in the future on stretching? I always hear people (myself included) say “I’m a bad stretcher” or “I never know how long or when (before? after? both?) I should be doing it for” or “I don’t stretch.” I’d love to hear a trainer’s perspective and I think lots of other bad stretchers would find it useful.

  18. So you never feel guilty about not posting but instead know the value of your workI just wanted to write and thank you for changing my life in soooo many incredible and wonderful ways, they are too numerous to count.

    I have been following you and your blog for over a few months now, and you have changed my views about working out, health, and fitness. I am a runner, and always thought I needed hours to work out to see a difference in my figure.Thank you again for motivating me and pushing me to be a better person inside and out. I don’t think ‘THANK YOU’ will ever be enough to express my appreciation for YOU I hope to meet you someday!

  19. LOVE HIIT. If fact, the last couple of months, the only cardio I have done is short HIIT and plyo bursts b/w sets of strength moves. Haven’t done steady state in forever and don’t miss it at all. Words can’t begin to describe what your workouts have done for me. I feel stronger & have more energy than I imagined I could have.

  20. Well I guess that explains why I felt lazy today. I just started doing intervals and I did them two days in a row and now today my legs are feeling so tired. Probably because I hit them with two intense workouts with no recovery day.

  21. I have just recently found your blog and I look forward to following it!

  22. Chelsea, I have been following your blog for several months now and really enjoy it. You often have such inspiring ideas and are so generous with information. Thank you so much!

    I am in the process of dieting to lose a little weight (10-15 lbs.). I am really inspired by the way you eat. I’d like to follow your example and I wonder how differently your daily menus would look if you were still striving to lose weight, assuming that your daily activity level was constant?

  23. I just found your blog, and I love it! I’m trying to change my own eating habits so I eat healthier foods. Most of this stems from a desire to be as healthy as possible inside, but a small part of me wants to lose weight and feel better about my body. Thanks for the inspirational blog, keep it up- but never feel pressure! Take some time for yourself!

  24. I have been attempting to shed weight for years. It’s always an up and down battle. I take 2 steps forward and 4 backwards. I never seem to make a lot progress. I will start a weight loss plan, do nicely for awhile, then return to my previous habits. I do it time and time again. You articles preserve me motivated. On a regular basis I attempt to read on one thing new to maintain my excitement and keep on going onward. Thanks!

  25. Hey!
    So, I’ve been a big fan of your blog and read it religiously everyday 🙂
    Since you’re a personal trainer you can probably answer my question. So, I run like 50 miles a week. and do weights about twice a week. and throw in yoga about once and twice as well. I eat about 1,300-1,400 calories a day, mostly organic, and I have not lost a pound and it’s been 4 months. Could it be something else you think?

  26. Self care is critical for me as a student and yoga teacher. I like to start my day with oil pulling, skin brushing and massage. I get bi weekly pedicures and monthly massages. Playing golf and teaching yoga is my “me time”. Girls nights/weekends, time with friends, date nights with my boyfriend, vacations- all important. HOWEVER- many of these are luxuries that i am intensely grateful for. Sometimes I worry that our “self care” lists turn into ” privilege” lists- it’s a slippery slope. I’m acutely aware that if I worked full time outside the home or if we were on a tighter budget things many of the luxuries I call self care simply wouldn’t be possible. I try to keep that In mind and stay grateful and grounded.

  27. I need a “What Would Chelsea Do” gym app on my iPhone! Forget Siri!!!

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