High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – I’m hooked!
So I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog front. Owl is now almost ten months and I’m starting to regain a modicum of control within my chaotic life. But more on that later.
These days, I have only a few priorities. My family, my career, and my fitness. When Owl was five months old, I was running twice a week but really in a rut in terms of fitness. Ok, I was still fat. I’ve never been overweight, but I still carrying an extra couple of comfortable kilos around my belly. It wobbled and I didn’t like that.
I started to look at the popular fitness programs out there, namely Michelle Bridges’ 12WBT (12 week body transformation). This eventually led me to buy one of her DVDs, enchantingly titled “Project Ripped“.
What a workout! I’m not usually a fan of DVDs, and dislike aerobics, but her DVD challenged me (ok I almost died the first time) and from the first session I was hooked. She didn’t make me do planks, she made me do a plank on alternate arms (“punching”). There was a lot of jumping around the room like a frog (harder than it sounds!) There were frightening mutations of every exercise, like “press jacks” and “oblique pushups” instead of your average pushup.
But it wasn’t just the exercises that were new to me. The style of training – short intervals of intense exercise at almost maximal effort, interspersed with rest periods – was something I hadn’t considered up til now. (I lie, I did do interval training in 2011 when I trained for a 14k race).
Michelle promised I would “get ripped” and the manic exercises would “cut me up” and “incinerate fat”. I got to doing a bit of reading on HIIT and discovered she wasn’t just talking through her shapely ass. HIIT is amazing. It builds muscle, improves fitness dramatically, and reduces weight, in a relatively short period of time. I’ll write in more detail about the science of this.
Anyhoo, here I am, 3 months later. I’m fit, lean, even buff – those extra kilos have been whittled away. I started doing intervals and hill reps for my regular runs too. I can do “man pushups”. I feel strong, and I no longer have back or knee pain. I can carry my 10kg baby around tucked under my arm.
Here are some of the amazing benefits of HIIT for fit mamas:
- You can train for as little as ten minutes a day (some reports say four minutes!) making this an extremely efficient form of exercise, which is perfect for busy mums.
- No equipment is needed – work with your body weight
- It can be done anywhere – I did HIIT in our hotel room while on holiday, and even at the beach while the kids played!
- I can attend to domestic tasks during the 1 min rest breaks – think hanging out the laundry while doing a workout!
I have now graduated to the next level DVD, “Project Extreme”, but I am still fond of good old Project Ripped. It’s fun, and Michelle has a way of drawing you into it. Sure there is a bit of screaming along the way (“This is the training that counts!! There is a reason!!!”) which took some getting used to. But I’m telling you, the last 30 seconds when I am doing those jump squats, and she is yelling “Come on! Whatever you’ve got!! Put your name on it!!” I do get a bit emotional and yes I do jump higher! More on other HIIT training sources coming up.
Photo source: Jane Heller