HIIT me baby one more time

It is particularly difficult to run in the winter, especially on those blustery blizzard days when the ground is icy and covered in snow - better not risk a sprained ankle to run outside. Still a proponent of running outdoors, I will avoid the treadmill at all costs. It's flat, boring and you aren't going anywhere. It makes me feel like a hamster more than anything else. This brings me to HIIT - high intensity interval training. I've heard a lot about these workouts but never really tried them out until one fateful day I was looking for a quick cardio workout on YouTube, I came across this twenty minute workout video:
Needless to say, it kicked my butt. I was sore the day after, but it was great! The thing about HIIT is that they are great for people who are too lazy to go to the gym and get bored easily - short spurts of intense (but doable) exercises, quick rest, a few sets of various exercises, and then you're done! I forgot about HIIT for a bit and then it came back to me when I attended one of the fitness classes at work. It was a 30 minute HIIT class, pretty typical - three sets of an exercise for 30 seconds with 10 seconds rest in between. The exercises were things like squat jumps, burpees with tuck jumps, mountain climbers with a hop, chaturanga dandasanas to name a few, and I was SORE AF for the next couple of days. A good sore. When I started climbing, my entire body hurt for the next couple of days and I haven't felt that kind of soreness in a while. It was mostly from the squats and the chaturanga dandasana's...this will never fail to shred my shoulders.

I promise you that these workouts will make you sweat and perhaps even want to throw up a little bit, but in the best possible way - believe in the gains!! Also, I really like how there are low-impact modifications in the above video (i.e. if you have some joint pains) so that you don't have to jump but you will still get a great workout. YouTube is honestly full of so many great videos, there is a HIIT video for certain target areas and also for full body workouts. Fitnessblender is a great channel with a lot of HIIT workouts that are professionally filmed and easy to follow, including an on-screen timer, and some even include warm ups and cool downs. Everything you need, from start to finish.

In one of my previous fitness posts, I wrote that I was starting to work on my core strength and that I have. Been consistently doing a 10 - 20 minute core workout off YouTube every other day (mostly Rebecca Louise Fitness), and have definitely been seeing improvements, though I am nowhere close to getting abs haha. It's getting easier for me to do the workout videos and I'm getting through them with less difficulty. The core workout portions of the HIIT workouts (i.e. bicycle crunches) have become much easier for me. Yay for progress! Another hash tag fit goal is to be able to do a pull up. This is most definitely a work in progress...I can maybe do a quarter right now? In other news, I did a spin class for the first time ever and wow it was super tough. Who knew riding a stationary bike would be so turnt? I really like how the instructor will guide the class through a route and paint the scene - you're cycling on flat ground...and now there's a hill, increase your resistance!!! It's kind of funny but also very tiring, endorphins galore. Spinning is another great low-impact cardio workout, I can definitely get into it. I think it might be the only stationary machine I enjoy, though I think the reason I enjoy it is because of the class aspect - probably would still be bored doing it alone.

My goal for the winter is to do a 20-30 minute HIIT workout once every other day, and see where that takes me. I think the toughest part of these workouts is having proper form, because there is so little time and part of me wants to get as many reps in as possible, but of course proper form is key not only to getting the most out of the work out but also without it, injuries may ensue. A good idea is to find a place with a mirror so you can watch yourself until you get the hang of the movements, because some of them are quite tricky (like the chaturanga's I love so much).

If all goes according to plan, I'll be having a sweaty winter, and I hope that you do, too!

- HIIT = high intensity interval training 
- Good for no-fuss indoor cardio, you can even do it barefoot - just need a yoga mat
- Good for people who get bored easily
- Super easy to follow (especially the ones that don't require any equipment)
- Highly recommend!!