Self-care & HIIT! GUEST BLOG
This week’s SELF CARE blog comes from one of the amazing SELF-CARE trainers, Sarah Honey Lawson. Sarah used to be my head trainer at Fit for a Princess and also used to run the Making Things Easy office. She also spent four years in the Army, including a posting in Afghanistan and now runs a PT business out in Bahrain called The Army Girl’s Guide. Here, she writes about the importance of HIIT (as she’s our HIIT trainer) within a life of SELF-CARE!
Let’s HIIT it!
A long time ago Janey recognised the benefits of High Intensity Interval training (HIIT). So much so, she added a dedicated class to the Fit for a Princess timetable in Wandsworth. In early 2014 I started teaching that class, and it was one of my absolute favourites to do. But it was actually long before then that I became a HIIT advocate.
HIIT in the military
During military training it’s easy to stay fit. Constantly marching from here to there, workout sessions scheduled into the timetable, and dragging heavy equipment around all day. The real challenge is leaving training and entering the real army, where, as a new Troop Commander, staying at the top of your fitness game is of the utmost importance, but with little time to achieve it. This is when HIIT became my best friend.
The concept of HIIT is that you work as close to your maximum effort as you can for a short period of time, followed by a quick recovery period. The workout should be of such a high intensity that it isn’t sustainable for long periods of time, and as such the workout is generally complete in about 30 minutes.
What are the benefits?
Although the workout is shorter than your typical hour class, the benefits go on for long after that. Due to the effort level you are working out at, your body is working in overdrive to give you the energy you need. This creates an oxygen debt that your body must make up. This ‘pay back’ happens long after your workout has ended, meaning you are burning calories for up to 48 hours after the workout has ended. Now that’s what we like to hear! (If you want a little more info on this, check out my Fat Series and how exercise can help you burn fat).
The fat burn effect
HIIT has also been shown to increase your levels of irisin, the fat burning hormone! The intense activity produces more of this hormone, which activates the genes that turn our bad white fat (often found as visceral fat in the belly) into good, metabolically active brown fat. A great way to increase your irisin levels is to perform HIIT in a fasted state (as long as you have the energy required to give it your all!). Try doing your HIIT exercises before breakfast and enjoy the fat burning after effects!
If you are looking to improve your general fitness levels, don’t be fooled into thinking a long slow jog is the only effective way. Intervals of aerobic HIIT have been shown to increase VO2max (your body’s ability to consume oxygen – the higher it is, the better your body is at giving your muscles the oxygen they require for energy) compared to continuous aerobic training, even though HIIT workouts take less time to complete.
Take home points
So you see why I fell in love with HIIT? It took less time, I could get a good sweat on, burn calories for the rest of the day and still be improving my fitness levels. It hit (excuse the pun) every fitness requirement for me.
But balance is still key. HIIT can place a lot of stress on the body, increasing cortisol levels and when done repetitively it can put your body at risk of injury. The key here is balance. And that’s what I love so much about Janey’s Self Care Bootcamp. You have such a wonderful range of exercise to do that you will be burning fat, toning, improving fitness levels, stretching and relaxing all in one program!
So I’ll see you there?
I can’t wait for you to get started on the Self Care Bootcamp, and I’d love for you to let me know what you think of my HIIT workouts too. Remember, give it all you’ve got… you can relax tomorrow ; )
Sarah’s workouts are filmed all the way in Bahrain (some on the beach – how’s that for a back drop!) and they really are incredible.
There are over 7 hours of workouts in total on the SELF-CARE bootcamp – HIIT, power conditioning, Kick Boxing, Yoga, Cardio & core and you get to keep all resources and videos for life (plus you can download them so you can take them anywhere and don’t even need an internet connection!).
BOOK YOUR PLACE NOW and come be part of the SELF-CARE revolution!