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HIIT Training: HIITgirl Classes
During my time as a HIITgirl, I’ve discovered three things: 1) I’m stronger than I think, 2) It is possible to make time for exercise and finally (and rather embarrassingly), 3) Yep, I’m a grunter.
Despite making noises during my classes that should really be confined to a farm, these past six weeks have been a real eye-opener. Not only have I looked forward to the sessions, I have more energy, I’m more alert and I’m a sharper dresser, as I no longer have to untuck my blouses to cover up my post-party season love handles.
I was ridiculously nervous when I went in for my re-test with Dean at Pure Sports Medicine - so much so that I was worried that my elevated heart rate might affect the results. Unsure of what to expect, I sat open-mouthed as Dean confirmed a vast increase in both my VO2 Max and fitness levels, and decreased hip, thigh and (most noticeably) stomach measurements. Due to the nature of the exercises that I’d been doing, I had built up muscle mass and lost body fat, which was great news for not just my overall health, but also the overstretched stitching of my favourite pair of skinny jeans.
So what’s made me such a HIITgirl advocate? Well firstly, the diversity of the classes has been both challenging and interesting enough to keep me coming back. No session is the same thanks to the equipment used and the variety of moves, ranging from trampolines, sand bags and medicine balls to burpees, press ups and lunges. Plus, the class sizes are small enough to ensure that each of the instructors can keep a watchful eye on you so that you don’t get injured. Also throw in the handy HIITgirl App which allows you to book on-the-move and the length of the classes (only 30 minutes) and you have all the makings of an effective and enjoyable fitness experience that fits into the most hectic of weekday schedules.
I also no longer suffer from the debilitating migraines that I used to have after doing anything high intensity, thanks to Dean’s recommendation of upping the number of glasses of water that I drank beforehand (two before I set off and a bottle on the train). Now the only problem that I’ve had to contend with is just a minor case of DOMS (can’t believe I know what that means now).
Don’t get me wrong, the sessions are super tough (one look at my saturated face post-workout is evidence enough), but the way that they’re conducted and the way the studio is set up (massive timer on the screen, tongue-in-cheek quotes on the wall and a dancefloor-worthy playlist) have been key in keeping me motivated when I’ve felt about ready to dissolve.
Since my last entry, I’ve moved onto the Drench and Signature classes. Signature incorporates increased work cycles and more equipment whereas Drench is purely meta (cardio) moves and sees you hooked up to a heart rate monitor too. Both proved difficult in different ways, but Drench for me was the killer. However, having learnt that I’d burnt 333kcal after the half hour session, I felt pretty good. After I was scraped off the studio floor, that is.
So will I be carrying on with HIIT? I think the answer to that is an emphatic yes. One word of advice though, book in for a pedicure beforehand. HIITgirl advocates barefoot training as a means of strengthening the small stabilising muscles of the feet, improving balance, movement and proprioception (the unconscious perception of space and our orientation and movement within the space around us) and encouraging better muscle alignment. I was new to this and wasn’t sure how it would take its toll, but under the careful instruction of the HIITgirl team, I was able to make the transition gently and avoid any niggling calf or foot pain that can sometimes accompany it.
I will certainly miss my regular workout sessions with HIITgirl and definitely want to carry on with this type of training. The past six weeks have really changed my perception of exercise and it’s made me wonder, what did I ever do without it?
Fitness test results:
Overall reduction in bodyweight of 1.5kgs
Decrease in girth measurement through all sites (hip, waist, arm, and thigh) by 12mm
Estimated V02* max increase of 12% (*your body's ability to take up and utilise oxygen)