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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).
Well, here we are—a couple of months into 2021. A year that we all (still) hope will be much better than the last. This past year was nothing short of a dumpster fire—between the pandemic, ongoing racial injustice, and the most dramatic election ever, 2020 was riddled with anxiety, grief, anger, and was just downright exhausting.
Heck—if somebody even dared to ask me how I was doing last year, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and say, “Omg I can’t even.” I mean, what other year can you think of that became its own expression? When something would go horribly awry, we would literally blame it on the year by saying, “2020, am I right?” complete with a sheepish chuckle —and eventually some tears when you realized just how many times you’ve said those words. Seriously, I lost count a long time ago. It was not healthy.
Sorry, tangent—where was I? Ah yes, 2021. The good news is there’s still hope that this year won’t make us want to roll into a tiny little ball on the floor and cry. Well, at least not as much as its predecessor—I’m not a miracle worker, you guys. However, I do have some wellness tips to help you stay just a little bit cooler, calmer, and collected-er this year.
If there’s one thing we learned last year, it’s that wellness is always here for us. Maybe at this time last year, your goal of going to Pilates five days a week came to a screeching halt as fitness studios were required to shut down to protect the community. For a time, we were all frazzled because our usual workouts and wellness routines were turned upside practically overnight. I think I speak for us all when I say that our favorite fitness class, and the community that comes with it, plays a huge role in our overall happiness. The good news is the wellness industry has come a long way in just under a year.
While it is true that some areas still aren’t allowing the in-studio experience for their workout classes due to the pandemic, we have more options to practice wellness safely than ever before. Right now, some studios are allowed to operate with in-person, socially distanced classes—and pretty much every studio broke into the virtual space to provide fitness classes you could participate in from the comfort of your own home. Not to mention, at-home virtual options are typically cheaper and allow you to try our studios from all over the country. With online gym memberships like Mindbody Flex, you can have access to thousands of live stream classes at your fingertips for less than $5 per class.
Look, 2020 was scary. After a year like that, it’s can be hard to tap into a positive mindset. But it’s more important now than ever before to let go of assumptions and focus on the good that 2021 can bring. This shift to acceptance will ultimately help you put your best foot forward in any situation that arises.
Take a step back and try to focus on the things we can be grateful for in this moment. Like what? Well, for starters more and more people are receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, which means things are slowly, but surely, getting back to normal. I, for one, am grateful that my at-risk family members have already received their first rounds of vaccinations and are on the path of staying healthy since they are protected from the coronavirus.
The best thing we can do right now for our mental health is to learn to give ourselves some grace through practicing self-care. And this can look different for everyone. Maybe your version of self-care comes in the form of daily journaling, getting a workout session in, curling up with a good book, or having that glass of wine while taking a bubble bath. Whatever makes YOU feel good—keep doing it.
To keep my mental health in check, something that I’ve started incorporating into my daily self-care routine is practicing mindfulness. Some days that means I focus on my breathwork practice—other days I may scroll through the Mindbody app to find a virtual meditation class or Yoga Nidra class. I’ve also embraced the motto there’s an app for that. Right now, I’m really loving the Headway app because it helps me set daily intentions from the moment I wake up with a morning survey and then checks in with me at the end of the day with an evening survey. Having the ability to write down my goals and hold myself accountable for them has really taken my self-care routine to the next level.
Some days we fall a little short of our goals—and guess what? THAT’S OKAY. Honestly, I think we should all just focus on being okay for the rest of the year. The past year caused us to be tough on ourselves and I encourage you to make this year kinder. Any new goals you set that involve changing habits or overhauling your lifestyle will likely have some setbacks. So, when that happens, remember to be compassionate with yourself.
If there’s anything I want you to take away from this blog post is to let go of the illusion that perfection is always the end goal. When in doubt I always remind myself of something my favorite spin instructor (hey Steph!) says: “If you look for perfection, you'll never be content. Just focus on your growth.” Allow that to sink in and make it a goal to remind yourself of this every single day.
And remember: You don’t have to—and really shouldn’t—give up hope that things will get better this year, even if you feel overwhelmed now. Having a positive mindset is never a silly thing. In fact, it is actually quite admirable; you’re an admirable badass.