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Pre-COVID, I had just gotten into some HIIT classes, and I enjoyed them a lot. There’s something about going through circuits as a team with a group of people that really motivates you—you know, shooting for a common goal and all that. But after everything shut down, I lost my momentum. I shifted my focus to perfecting my at-home yoga practice and hopped off the cardio and strength train the second I could. I want to say it’s because I live in a small apartment, and I didn’t think I had quite enough room for anything but yoga, but honestly, a lot of it was laziness, too. At least I don’t lie.
But the other day, something sparked in me (could’ve been a sudden motivation to get back to it, could’ve been my boss assigning me this article—doesn’t matter), and I decided to start browsing virtual HIIT classes.
First, I pulled out my phone and opened my Mindbody app. It would’ve made sense to take a virtual HIIT class from a studio I had already heard of or been to, but I wanted to try something different. With live stream and on demand now an option, we can pretty much take classes anywhere we want—pretty cool. I wanted to try to find one in a city that’s already reopened. I thought maybe it would be cool to just video myself right into an in-person class!
I thought I heard something about parts of Colorado being open, so I typed ‘Denver’ into my location bar and ‘HIIT’ into search to see what was out there. The first studio that came up was HIITBox Colorado in Brighton, and I noticed they had both in-person and virtual classes listed (perfect). I booked a Virtual HIITCamps class for the following day after work.
After booking, I received a confirmation email letting me know I’d receive the link to my class 30 minutes before it started (and I’d done all those live stream yoga classes, so this wasn’t my first rodeo). The next day, I pushed my coffee table out of the way, rolled out my mat, grabbed some weights, and got ready.
When the class began, I saw a whiteboard with a bunch of circuits written on it. I looked at it for a bit, wondering if that was all I’d see.
Then, my instructor Adam popped onto the screen and introduced himself. I wasn't able to turn on my camera—because the limited space in my living room would’ve presented some less than ideal angles—but I talked to him through the mic.
I was the only person in the virtual class, and he talked to me by name and asked me if I’d ever taken a class like this before. Then he demonstrated the warm-up for me and explained how it would work. He’d set a timer for the warm-up and walk around the room, checking on everyone in the in-person class and coming by the computer to make sure I was doing well also and seeing if I had any questions.
When the warm-up was complete, he explained the circuits to me and set another timer that would last the rest of class. In sync with the in-person HIIT-ers, I did three rounds of each circuit with bursts of cardio in between and some abs at the end (and let me tell you, I was sweating). Throughout the workout, he’d come by and encourage me, making sure I was still doing okay.
Overall, I had a great workout, and it felt really good to take a HIIT class after such a long break (and in case it wasn't obvious, yes, I’m sore). I would totally take another class there, but next time I’ll come a little more prepared.
I think the people in the in-studio class had some music going, but I couldn’t really hear it. It would be awesome if I could ask the instructor for a link to his playlist next time before the start of class, or just make my own to have going throughout. Music is a great way to stay pumped during class, and it would’ve added a very real element to complete the experience and made me feel like I was even more connected.
Since I was the only person in the virtual session, and I couldn’t see the people in the studio because I needed to see the board listing the circuits, I was kind of on my own out there. It didn’t take away from the great workout I had, but I was kind of missing the group element that’s a big part of why I take these classes in the first place. The way the virtual experience is set up on Mindbody, though, allows you to see all the other people in the class along the bottom of your screen. The whole time I was thinking, “I totally should’ve told my friends to join!” Especially if you have friends or family that live far away or haven’t been able to see you due to quarantine, this is a great way to sweat together, motivate each other, and have fun from afar (it definitely beats those family Zoom calls).
Before joining, I didn’t know video would be such an important element on my end. I was crammed into my living room, wearing a horrible outfit, and not really able to set up my computer in a good position to fit me in the frame. Knowing this next time, I would pull up a chair to place my computer on, move my coffee table completely, or even take my workout outdoors, so I could really have room to get on camera. Plus, this will make it a lot less awkward when the instructor is trying to communicate with me (sorry, Adam). After all, now’s a great time to work on getting over our exercise embarrassment.
Like I said, this class was great. Adam was super encouraging, and the circuits were just hard enough to make me drip with sweat and feel it the next day. But I could go at my own pace, so they weren’t too hard for my first class back after such a long break. Next time, I’ll know what to expect, plan ahead, and make the experience even better.
Wanna try it for yourself? Book a class at HIITBox or browse virtual HIIT on Mindbody (and remember my advice, it’s so worth it).
For the first time ever, the globe will be watching surfing take center stage at the 2020 (postponed to July 2021) Olympics. People from all over the world will be appreciating the sport, many for the first time.
This symbolizes the surfing community breaking through centuries of negative stereotypes. Though conditions play a big part in the sport, the biggest hurdle the athletes will have to overcome to see success is mental. The winner will be the one who chooses their waves wisely with their understanding of the conditions and ability to intimidate and therefore overcome components. Meanwhile, they will be challenging themselves to emerge from crashing barrels, fly into the air, and land on the shifting surface gracefully. No big deal.
You’ve probably heard the invention of a wave pool, which creates the perfect man-made wave. In 2007, Kelly Slater founded his wave company with a passion to build the perfectly rideable wave at his surf ranch. It was debated whether the Olympics should be held in the ocean or on a manufactured wave, with many differing opinions on what would be right. The decision was made, and the event will take place in the sea, at Tsurigasaki Beach in Japan, about 40 miles east of Tokyo, where the rest of the 2021 games will be hosted.
As you watch, take a moment to reflect on the century of effort for this to happen. This initiative can be traced all the way back to the 1912 summer games that took place in Stockholm. Duke Kahanamoku, known as the father of modern surfing, won three gold medals in swimming, and while accepting his medal, he expressed that it was his dream to see surfing be added. To add fuel to the fire, International Surfing Association, recognized as the surfing world's governing authority by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), began lobbying for the inclusion of surfing in the Olympics in 1955.
Surfing is a multidimensional sport unlike any other. Nothing compares to paddling out to the serene silence that awaits beyond the breaking waves. Once you get out there, you immediately escape the many annoyances ingrained in everyday life—the constant notifications on your phone and laptop, your back-to-back schedule, answering to other people. You’re no longer on the time that your watch reads, you’re on mother nature’s time. You’re also no longer in control of your surroundings. Now, all you can do is surrender and wait for the next set to come, while trying to position yourself for when it does.
The high from catching the perfect wave is so addicting that surfers would fail on one hundred in a row just to catch that one. After you catch that perfect one, you replay it in your mind for the rest of the day.
A successful session is reliant on so many factors of mother nature—a force way bigger than us. For ideal conditions to exist, a good-sized swell must approach from the right direction, the wind must be flowing offshore, and you have to time your session right with the ebb and flow of the tide.
The sport is always teaching you life lessons. It is humbling, even if you’ve been practicing it for many years. One reason why it takes so long to master is that the conditions are going to be different every time you get out there. You might have caught a million yesterday, but today makes you feel like a kook because you can’t land one decent wave.
The community of people that you become a part of when you surf is special. A shared obsession with the ocean that brings you to dive into the water at dawn to get a session in bonds you quick. When you’re out there, you’ll find yourself interacting with people of all ages and backgrounds. People enjoy sharing the stoke of the sport. When you see someone out there teaching somebody new, you’ll encounter them cheering at the top of their lungs when they catch a good wave, and as you look around, you’ll see smiles all across the lineup. The other day, I caught a long wave in to be met with a cheering crowd of locals who frequent the spot that I do. When I got to shore, a local showed me their secret stash of hot packs to access in case I, or someone else, gets stung by a stingray when they aren’t around.
Being out in the ocean and abiding by her rules gives surfers a deep love and connection to nature. It’s common to see sea animals out there, like dolphins, stingrays, and fish. When you have an encounter, it’s a reminder that we are invading their territory. It sucks when you see trash floating in the water, or on the sand in its route to the water. It’s a sad reminder of the negative impact that humans can have on natural environments. It inspires you to pick up trash and advocate for sustainability so that we, as a collective, can take care of the beauty that we are lucky to have access to.
Tune in to see surfing break into the biggest international sporting event in the world beginning on Saturday, July 24th.
Do you live by the ocean? Paddle out with an instructor.
Don't live by the water, but still want to train for your next surf trip? Consider these classes.
If your location isn't listed above, browse Mindbody to see if they are available in your city.