In my last post I talked about my recent experiences with ballet fitness. The exercise which I’ve been doing a lot more of recently though is HIIT – high intensity interval training. HIIT is basically alternating really intense aerobic exercises with less intense recovery periods. It’s a more efficient way of exercising than running on a treadmill for example. One of the other benefits is that you can also burn calories for hours afterwards.
I’m not overweight by anybody’s standards but I’ve been making an effort to ‘tone up’ and to incease my overall fitness level. At first I found it quite difficult but I quickly began to really enjoy the challenges of trying to attain my fitness goals. As I’ve mentioned before when talking about fitness, I don’t like gyms. They’re expensive and not always convenient to get to and dare I say it – I feel slightly foolish working out in front of other people! I don’t really know why but I just prefer to do it alone. I can’t even work out when my husband is at home and I wait until he has gone out to work! So instead of the gym, I’ve been working out with my trusty fitness app on my smart TV with a wonderful personal trainer called Leigh Linton. Leigh is incredibly fit and has a great personality that really motivates and inspires you to work hard and keep up with her.
So my main goals at the moment are increasing fitness, body toning, a little bit of weight loss and if possible, maybe even get my abs back! A high intensity workout begins with an aerobic warmup with activities such as jogging – this is so important for getting your muscles ready for your forthcoming workout and for increasing your heart rate. Some of the exercises I’ve been doing include bicep and hamstring curls, hamstring bridges, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, press ups and tuck jumps. Variety is key. Exercises that are great for working and toning your abs include bicycle crunches as well as the normal crunches, deadbugs, sit ups and v sits. If you have a flat bum and want to tone that up, good exercises include lunges and jumping lunges, plies and squats. Another thing that many of us hate is the dreaded ‘bingo wings’ – tricep dips are a great exercise for toning them up.
Burpees are a fantastic exercise for building strength and working loads of different muscle groups (a compound exercise) – they are really hard when you first begin but they do get easier as you increase your strength. You can also incorporate press ups into them. Another exercise that has gained notoriety is the plank which is great for building strength in your back and core. Variations you can do include one arm planks, one legged planks, side planks and ‘travelling’ in plank position.
As well as warming up, at the end of a HIIT workout it’s important to stretch out your muscles and allow your heart rate to slow down. I’ve been mixing HIIT with slower, gentler exercise such as yoga and I’ve really been reaping the benefits. I sleep a lot better, have a lot more energy both physically and mentally and feel a lot more awake and alert. I use social media a lot and I see so many people that seem sceptical about fitness and working out and I think that’s a real shame. If you stick with it, push yourself and rise to the challenges, not only is it good for you but it is incredibly satisfying. If you’re like me and enjoy fitness, here’s a quote to help motivate you – ‘sweating is just your body crying fat’. I don’t know who originally said it but I think it’s great!
Until next time, stay beautiful (and fit) x