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In the best of times, HIIT is hard.
As an instructor, I program my workouts to maximize work output, power, and your heart rate, while balancing it all with carefully-timed rest intervals.
When we couple HIIT with a pandemic, it gets even harder.
Instead of just showing up to class and hoping that there aren’t too many Burpees, factoring in the how, where, and when you take class becomes more labor-intensive.
It may feel overwhelming, so here’s a primer on how to find the right class, stay engaged, and get HIIT done.
One of the best parts of HIIT workouts is that they are infinitely flexible—and now with the increasing popularity and variety of online workouts, this flexibility is even greater.
I’ve programmed classes anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. During the COVID-19 era, this is an asset! You have the luxury of choice. Think about fitting in a 10-minute workout sesh between back-to-back Zooms, or blocking out time in your schedule for a full hour class at your favorite studio. No matter when you work out, or how long you sweat, your body and mind will thank you for giving it a calorie burn. (And don’t think a 10-minute interval workout will be easy—I’ve burned 200 calories during a short class before!)
This may seem like a tricky question, but the answer is simple: wherever you feel safe and comfortable. Like I said earlier, HIIT is endlessly flexible and can fit into your lifestyle as you see fit.. Personally, I’m striking a balance by teaching virtually and taking outdoor classes. It keeps me safe, while balancing my workout needs. (Plus, other people. IRL.)
If you’re still sheltering in place because you or a loved one is high-risk from COVID, look for a virtual option. If you don’t have equipment like weights, look for a bodyweight HIIT class that will challenge you, using only your body. (Keep in mind, that probably means a lot of Burpees. You’ve been warned.) And, if you’re an apartment dweller or injured, be sure to let your instructor know before class starts—they will always be able to make low-impact modifications if you can’t jump.
If you’re ready to venture back into in-person fitness, studios across the country are starting to get back indoors while others are making the most of good weather and teaching outside. If it’s been a while since you’ve taken a HIIT class, make sure you give yourself grace and don’t expect to come back at the same performance level as your last class in March. A lot has changed since then, including you!
Whatever you choose, make sure you’re finding a balance between challenging yourself and staying safe. If you want to keep doing virtual HIIT classes, go for it! Or, if you're ready for the IRL studio, and ready to follow all safety protocols, I say go ahead. As an instructor, it’s my job to keep you safe—I will always keep your comfort level in mind and will adjust your workout if you want to wear a face covering.
And—if you’re somewhere in the middle, there are some studios that are streaming in-person classes. While it’s a crazy experience for the instructor and feels a little bit like running a marathon while playing dodgeball, your experience will be as normal as fitness gets in 2020. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to see what’s happening in-studio before you go, which may ease your concerns about returning to in-person workouts.
I’m going to tell you a secret: I value the community aspect of HIIT more than anything else. There’s just something special about a class where everyone experiences the same thing, at the same time—and then get to rest and complain about what you just did. As an instructor, there’s no higher compliment than if someone looks at me during a break with a look that says, “How dare you!”
And that part of HIIT hasn’t changed with 2020, even if you’re taking your class virtually.
Here’s my challenge to you if you feel like something’s missing in virtual classes or feel yourself taking it easy:
• Stay present.
• Try to feel a different muscle engage.
• Breathe into the shaking.
•. Resist the urge to hide off-camera when the instructor calls for planks.
• Scroll through video of other attendees during rest breaks.
I promise you, you aren’t the only one suffering, and you can always unmute yourself and give props.
Finally, what do you do if you aren’t feeling engaged during classes, whether they are in-person or virtual? Just because you can’t give someone a high-five for nailing that last set doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate them. Give them a shout out or chat them up after class. Engaging with other people during and after workouts can help you stay motivated, as well as fulfilling that acute need for social connection we all have right now.
Regardless of where, when, or how you choose to work out, you can do it. I believe in you—so make like Tim Gunn and make HIIT work.
When you think of self-love what do you think of? Bubble baths, walks on the beach, facemasks, or what? Self-love can mean so many different things but when we think about self-love, we have to acknowledge loving ourselves both on the outside and on the inside. The way that we show ourselves love is one of the most important things we will ever do.
How do we treat ourselves? How do we talk to ourselves? What foods are we putting into our bodies? How are we thinking about our overall well-being when practicing self-love?
As self-love defines and redefined itself for you over the years, here are a few foundational tips to think about when easing into your self-love journey.
Don’t we love this one? Loving ourselves has a lot to do with the boundaries that we have for ourselves, with others, and for others. Take time to think about your own emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs when setting boundaries that reflect your personal needs. Boundaries don’t have to be big and scary; they are here to remind us that you get to have your lived experience and still have expectations about how you’d like to be treated and what you’d like to feel.
When thinking about your boundaries, ask yourself:
In a world where perfectionism and curated existences have been rewarded, begin to cultivate compassion for yourself. You are a soul having a human experience and it’s totally okay if things are not perfect.
Mindfulness exercises such as Breathwork, self-care activities, and self-compassion, all help train the mind, emotions, and even the body’s stress chemicals to be able to deal with undesired situations. Self-compassion means, can you be nice to yourself? Can you find empathy and kindness for yourself in the middle of what feels chaotic, stressful, or unwanted? Self-compassion means that we get to make mistakes, have our plans not work out the way that we wanted, and we still get to celebrate that we are doing the best that we can and it is enough.
When thinking about self-compassion, ask yourself:
In every sense of the word “nourishment”, begin to learn what nourishes you and what depletes you. Nourishment doesn’t just mean food for yourself; it means that whatever you are consuming whether it be media, podcasts, people, energy, information, etc. all impact the way that we think, feel, and experience life.
Nourishing yourself definitely goes right along the lines of having your boundaries intact and practicing self-compassion.
When thinking about nourishment, ask yourself:
That’s it. Those are the foundational steps to cultivating a self-love practice that you can ease into your daily routine. Come back to these questions often, because like anything else, self-love is a practice and it takes effort, time, and intention to maintain.