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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.
To say the last year and a half was tough would be an understatement. In fact, it will probably go down as one of the most difficult times for our modern generation. In one of the many social polls we conducted during the pandemic, some of you described this time as a sheer “dumpster fire” or “like stepping on a Lego.” And to be honest, I couldn’t agree more.
Luckily, we’ve been able to get back to some form of normalcy in our lives and wellness routines over the last several months. As vaccines became available to the public, wellness businesses welcomed fitness fanatics, haircut seekers, and massage lovers back to in-person wellness experiences. And thank goodness for that—my roots and horrible posture from working from my bed were both getting wildly out of control. This girl needed a good massage and cupping session stat.
If there’s one thing we learned from the pandemic, it’s that our wellness routines are as personal as they are important. During shelter-at-home, those routines looked a bit different. For many, it meant taking a new approach to the “typical” wellness services we count on—I’m looking at you DIY haircuts, at-home waxing sessions (ouch!), and virtual swerking classes.
Now that we can leave our humble abodes to take advantage of in-person experiences again, the word “wellness” has seemingly taken on a new meaning.
Recently, we conducted another one of our famous social polls to see what wellness means to you, our Mindbody community, now that we're slowly but surely getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. We also tapped some of our most influential Mindbody business owners about the ever-evolving wellness landscape.
Here’s what you all had to say.
According to our annual Mindbody Wellness Index, 60% of Americans say they’re more focused on their health and wellness since COVID. Consumers are now realizing they need to take greater care of themselves to optimize and preserve their health. When we asked you on Instagram how important wellness is, a whopping 98% said it was more important than ever. When it comes to how you’re practicing wellness, though, the answers were all over the board. Many of you pointed to journaling, practicing breathwork, and daily workout routines (cycling and yoga topped the list) as being the activities that help you keep your chill throughout the week.
I’m also happy to report that over 50% said you tend to feel more blessed than stressed on a daily basis—which is more than likely a big improvement. Let’s be honest, a year ago I would’ve bet a billion dollars that 99.9% of us knew no other feeling than anxiety—am I right? But even with the stress in our lives dwindling, many of you are still experiencing burnout at the end of a long work week (guilty!). But instead of succumbing to a bottle of wine for relief (please, that was so 2020), you’re unwinding by going to your favorite workout classes—with hot yoga, barre, and Pilates as your faves.
Let’s be honest, we should credit the business owners in this space for helping us reignite our spark when it comes to our wellness routines, right? Thanks to them, we’ve been inspired to prioritize the activities that help us feel our best. In turn, we thought it’d be interesting to learn what wellness means to them—and how that definition has changed over the past eighteen months.
Here’s what they had to say.
“Wellness is living in balance—mind, body, spirit. Highs and lows. It all ebbs and flows and we can navigate it a bit better when we take time to move, breath and remember who we are, and how we are connected to this big, beautiful world.” - Jess Pierno, Founder, Owner, and Chief Inspiration Officer of Yoga Heights
“Wellness is a true balancing of the mental, physical, and spiritual. It has definitely evolved over the years for me—from something that I just thought was about exercising and eating a healthy diet—to also incorporating balancing and healing internally and spiritually.” - Stefanie Patterson, Owner, Indianapolis Salt Cave and Halotherapy Center
“My sense of wellness has evolved from staying healthy and motivated, mind/body/spirit... to being more gentle with myself, less demanding. Accepting my limitations, taking time for resting, and gaining real clarity about what's important. I care less about what people think of me—difficult as a performer and as a business owner with so many demands on me—and more about getting quiet and tapping into the divine source inside of me that helps me discern my next move. In this way, I know my motives are as pure as possible and I'm not getting distracted—not that I don't make mistakes! Those are necessary, that's how we learn!” - Johanna Krynytzky, Owner, Hip Expressions Belly Dance Studio
“My studio name reminds us that we are constantly evolving. The past 18 months have certainly shown us that! Wellness to me means doing your best on any given day to make sure that you are taking care of yourself as best you can. It leads to resilience. Diet, exercise, sleep, a sense of community, and some form of faith. It all matters. Setbacks happen all the time, and every day is a chance to start again. We strive to be 'cheerleaders' for our clients when we sense that things are coming out of balance in their lives. So many have been with us for 18 years and are friends—they are our community and we all watch out for each other.” - Mo Wolfe, Owner and Founder, Evolution Pilates
I think we can all agree that there isn’t one true definition of wellness anymore. To some of us, it means getting that hot yoga sesh in daily, and to others, it means carving out time to treat ourselves to a massage or manicure. As long as you’re actively pursuing wellness—whatever that means to you—you're on the right track.
Our MO has always been about connecting the world to wellness—a term that's seen a lot of change lately. Whether you’re fully embracing the in-person experience or still delighted by the convenience of practicing at-home wellness, the Mindbody app makes it easy for you to book experiences that help you feel like YOU again.