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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).
Since 1992, April has been recognized as Stress Awareness Month. It was established to help shed light on the issues behind stress, teach us how to fight it, and create methods to overcome it. While this initiative has existed just shy of three decades, this year it seems particularly important.
With a year under our belts in pandemic mode—a lot of us had to get creative when it came to keeping our cool. On top of that, everyday stresses didn’t just magically disappear during this time either. Just think about it—have you ever been in a situation that was overwhelming? Maybe you’ve had a looming deadline or a to-do list that seems, well...totally un-doable? If you’ve ever felt you were in over your head, please know you’re not alone—you never are. At one time or another, we’ve all been affected by stress—although each person may manifest it differently. Me? I'm definitely a frequent rider on the "hot mess stress express."
There are many ways to help combat stress—some of us seek out support from friends and family, while others find solace in taking up meditation or unwinding with a relaxing yoga class. Whatever helps you find peace, just keep doing you. But also know we have some resources to help you overcome stress whenever the need arises.
Here are some blog posts that are always available to you when you feel a little stressed out:
When in doubt, breathwork expert and sound healer, Shanila Sattar, always has tips to help ground yourself—especially in times of need. In this blog post, she gives you the recipe for incorporating self-love into your daily routine by encouraging us to ask ourselves these questions: 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 we all know, self-love defines and redefines itself for everyone over the years, here are a few foundational tips to think about when easing into your self-love journey.
Yoga Nidra, or “yogic sleep,” is a practice that has been around for thousands of years and it aims to restore the mind, body, and soul through deep, guided meditation. The way it works is like the way a power nap helps one feel refreshed during a particularly exhausting day, except you aren’t technically sleeping. I describe it as a long-form of savasana—anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour. (Real talk: savasana is one of the best parts of practicing yoga, am I right?)
TLDR: I learned that I could conquer stress in a matter of minutes with Yoga Nidra.
Are we safe in saying this last year brought up a ton of emotions the likes of which we did not plan for? The good, the bad, the “unprecedented”—our hearts and minds have been taken on a wild rollercoaster ride, and for many of us, our mental health is suffering. With our minds running in thousands of directions, it’s hard to notice our own needs. Yes, our attention to the goings-on of last year is vital but caring for ourselves is as important as ever. Here are some tips from our favorite yoga instructor, Dani Schenone.
Have you been feeling it? The big emotion floating around the last year is the Big Anxiety. Coupled with the stress of what the COVID-19 pandemic has bought for millions of people, disturbed wellness routines, and worry, we have a recipe to create massive damage to ourselves. Adjusting to the new normal, with social distancing practices in place and adapting to precautions and routines, may be the root of even more anxiousness for many as we’re navigating uncharted territories.
If you've got those familiar feelings of stress and anxiety coursing through your body right now, you're definitely not alone. We get it. Times are uncertain, our mental health is taxed, we're doing what we can to reduce stress and anxiety in general, and relaxation has taken a back seat. It’s no secret that stress is proven to weaken our immunity, so now more than ever, it's important to relax, deal with what's happening, and find the coping mechanisms to help you reclaim your mental health and reduce your involvement in stressed moments. Let's deal with stress and anxiety together and see what we can do to reduce them.
Meditation will change your life if you let it. The pace of our modern life is at least ten times what it was just 10 years ago. Technology improved our lives but also created a more frenetic and stressful pace. If we decided to stop, breathe, and become more mindful, we would reduce stress and experience much more enjoyment in each moment of our everyday lives.
There’s always something to worry about. Whether it’s our career, relationships, dating, or trauma, we go through moments that bombard us with negative thoughts that can make us feel anxious and stressed. Our worries may often define our choices, our view of the world, or ourselves. This doesn’t mean they are faults, flaws, or downfalls—we just need to practice managing them in a healthy way, placing deserved value on self-care. Yoga is only one connection. Check out these seven yoga poses that can help your mind and body when you’re experiencing anxiety, depression, or overall stress.
We’re all guilty of our routines and habits running our lives at one point or another. We’re all guilty of being attached to our schedules and our to-do list. We’re all guilty of running on a loop every now and then. As the energies of 2021 continue to shift, we get to ask ourselves the intentions of why and how we are participating in the places we are participating in, the thoughts we are thinking, the habits we are cultivating, and the communities that we are a part of. This intention and mindfulness process can not only shift our own experiences but of those around us as well.
If you have found meditation to be useful in trying times, right now is an incredible time to also try virtual sound baths to receive the deep sound healing benefits. As many of us are processing a variety of emotions as a collective—stress, worry, fear, anxiety, uncertainty—we can start to cause long-term damage to our bodies, especially to our immune and nervous systems. Giving ourselves self-care in a way that is easy, non-intrusive, and simple, can be the perfect way to help your body restore.
These resources aren’t the only thing we have to help you deal with stress—they’re just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, there are tons of classes available to you on the Mindbody app and through Mindbody Flex to help you reignite your calm whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed. And always remember, at the end of the day, your best is always good enough.