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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).
Ah, 2020—the year that truly put our sanity to the test. On top of that, something that most people use to navigate through a tough time has essentially been stripped away from us—our normal workout routines. I don’t know about you, but even skipping a week at the gym can send me into a tailspin. But several months of sheltering in place and being forced to adapt to this new normal?
That’s a different story.
While I think we can all say we’re grateful that fitness studios were quick to offer virtual classes when COVID-19 hit—there is something about constantly working out by ourselves that may trigger some of us to hit pause on our workout routines and start turning towards less robust habits. *Reluctantly raises hand*
The other day I came across a stat that really set off some alarms. According to a recent study, Americans are spending an additional two hours each day on their couch since March 2020. As of recently, I can say I’m totally guilty of a little too much R&R. While an evening of Netflix and wine once sounded like heaven on earth for most of us, I think it’s safe to say the repetition of this is starting to get kind of old. Also, Schitt’s Creek is over now, so I really don’t have any excuse to not dedicate my free time to jumping back into my at-home workouts.
I started pondering what made dial back my fitness routine in the first place? Was it a lack of motivation? No, not really. Screen fatigue? I think my Netflix history outlined above would tell you that’s a solid ‘no.’ Then it hit me—the thing that motivated me to stay on top of my fitness goals was being around other people with the same goals. Pre-COVID, going to my favorite spin studio and the local yoga hot spot was how I typically spent my social hour during the workweek. I realized the best way to amp up my at-home workout routine was to re-connect with my workout buddies and start doing virtual classes together to create that sense of community I craved.
If you’re also experiencing some form of live stream lull when it comes to your workouts, then getting a virtual workout buddy may be exactly what you need. Here’s why:
Just like in-person workouts, making plans to sweat it out with one of your friends motivates you to show up and be your best self. According to the Mindbody Wellness Index, 25% of the folks we surveyed said they found it difficult to hold themselves accountable to their workout goals on their own—and an additional 20% of people said a lack of support was responsible for missed workouts.
Everybody enjoys a little friendly competition, right? Maybe you have a friend who is a powerhouse at virtual HIIT—try signing up for a class with them to help you take your workout to a whole new level.
Getting a workout sesh in with a friend is the perfect time to try a new exercise such as virtual yoga or virtual barre. Trying something new can be scary—I get it. But by trying a new type of exercise with a friend, you can both give each other a confidence boost by acting as each other’s personal hype man.
Look, we’re all craving human interaction these days—and I know I’m not the only one who is missing weekly happy hours with friends. Luckily, fitness studios are getting creative with their virtual offerings post-workout, too! When we asked members of our MindbodyOne Community how they are keeping things interesting for their students in the virtual space, they said they are hosting monthly virtual wine dates to share fitness stories and personal victories. Not only do you get to drink wine, but you and your buddy get to meet other like-minded people at the same time.
As 2020 winds down (thank goodness), you have a unique opportunity to reconnect with your friends and take your workout sessions to the next level with a virtual workout buddy. So, why not start now? Book a virtual fitness class and encourage your friends to show up for you and themselves today.