Breaking Up With HIIT For A Bit

Update on me! I returned from Denmark and a three week trip around Europe about 5 weeks ago, took a summer Anatomy & Physiology course, and now I am ready to get back to BUSINESS with my blog and wellness adventures 🙂

I have always loved doing little experiments on myself relating to health and fitness. It’s a huge reason why I pursued an exercise science major. Part of it was out of necessity—as A figure skater I had to figure out a way to get lean in order to perform well in my sport. But part of it was out of curiosity, too. I am fascinated with the fact that we have the power to shape and manipulate our bodies to points we never would have dreamed of. Yes, genetics play a large part in where you hold your body fat, how fast you lose weight, how easily you gain muscle, where you gain weight, etc, but your lifestyle choices HUGELY affect your body fat percentage. Over the years I’ve learned a lot of the things I did intuitively really helped me reach my goals (intermittent fasting, learning the importance of consistency but also changing ingredients up). However, I’ve also made a ton of mistakes and wreaked havoc on my metabolism. Having always executed my little “experiments” on my own, and finally reaching a point where I’m fed up with all of the conflicting health info out there, I decided to finally look to what works and get a coach. I’ve always been engrossed in the bodybuilding community and the sculpted athletes involved in the sport. Even if I never compete, I decided I want to push my body to achieve the same strength as figure competitors. So this time I hired a coach to guide me through the process. I’ve done extensive online research but nothing is quite the same as having a real person available to answer all of your questions, and I am glad to gain more knowledge of health and fitness through such a different lens. Not only is it nice to have the moral support of someone who has achieved results before rooting for you, but it is also important to have that person as a constant reminder that I’m not alone in this journey. I have been flying solo for long enough.

I have also avoided the strength training trend for long enough. I have always been someone who puts on muscle pretty easily (my figure skating coach once told my mom I should be a bodybuilder—haha) but growing up as a figure skater I was pressured to achieve that lean look. Well, now according to widespread fitness advice on social media, a lean, sculpted, and badass aesthetic is achievable through lifting heavy. This is the exact opposite of what my skating coaches used to tell me. The feelings I hold towards the media for telling women we have to work out differently than men to achieve the results we want is another whole blog post (or should I say rant) in itself so…I’ll save that for later. Of course, living for health experiments, I have to find out for myself if these Instagram transformations are another marketing scheme or the real deal (I think I know the answer to that). So I have decided to fully commit myself to the Lifting Life and see what happens.

Rather than waiting until i have achieved optimal results, I am going to share my journey as I go, something that i have not seen done often besides the awesome vegan YouTuber High Carb Hannah. This is the ultimate way to put myself out there and share my journey but it is totally honest, so it it works you’ll know it’s real! If I have craved one thing when doing research it is to follow someone along as they execute major changes in their lifestyle which is what I plan to do with the help of my coach, a specialist in competitive bodybuilding and muscle hypertrophy. If you are sick of seeing just the before and after success stories with anecdotes of the actual process, follow my journey through Youtube, this blog, and Instagram because i am here to share the process, what works what doesn’t, and all about what I have learned in the past so you can at least avoid some of the massive mistakes I’ve made. 

P.S. Are you wondering what that lovely melon-looking orange thing is in the cover photo? Well, that is Kabocha squash, whom I am in a long term relationship with. I FINALLY found it at the store again. It is like a mix between pumpkin and sweet potato and is so tasty, so don’t sleep on it!

IMG_1147

 

Disclaimer: I am not an expert. I am merely here to share my own experiences. What works for me will not necessarily work for you. Consult a medical professional before changing your diet or exercise habits.

 

Why I’m Hitting on HIIT

I am in a long-term relationship with HIIT workouts. We may even be married. Out of all of the fitness plans I have ever tried, my HIIT workouts have by far been the most effective. I got into the best shape of my life doing “Bodyrock Bootcamp” workouts with Lisa Marie (bodyrock youtube), and since then I have had a love for creating my own High Intensity Interval Training Workouts. The reason these are so effective is because they work EVERY muscle in your body, in an intense bout of exercise. The key is to remember that it is a short period of time so you must go all out. This is not a two hour long weight session in the gym. This workout is meant to push your limits, test your boundaries, and increase your endurance while at the same time energizing you for the rest of your day. It does wonders in speeding your metabolism, shedding fat, and building lean muscle. Ideally, you can incorporate weights into some of the exercises or end with a weights burnout. You should SWEAT when you do these workouts. I cannot wait to share some of my own creations every week with you!

 

Today I introduced one of my good friends to these workouts. We ran to the beach nearby and did it outside, which is way more thrilling than being a gym! You can really do these workouts anywhere. It was an hour and a half long endeavor and we ended the workout with some failed attempts at acro yoga, but it was still an absolute blast! In Denmark working out outside is completely normal–they even have outdoor gyms and parkour structures set up around the beach. What a world! The beach was packed with people at a toasty 70 degrees and the sun does not go down until 9:30 PM right now, which leaves no excuses for skipping a workout!

 

Another thing that struck me: a single workout can turn your whole outlook around. After dragging my feet all day because it had been so long since a proper workout, my friend and I fed each other with motivation and we had the best workout. Afterwards all of my goals seemed attainable again! Stay positive, keep with it, and don’t give up because it IS worth it and simply takes consistency 🙂

61a79710-724d-403d-a8c3-3a25ad985a2c.jpg

Intuitive Exercise

Does you body ever just feel like it is rejecting you? You have a cold that won’t let go, exhaustion but can’t sleep, and your mind is craving a workout but your legs feel like lead? That is how you know it is time for a day…or two…gasp, THREE days off! Intuitive eating means you honor your physical cues over your emotional or mental cravings. Yes, exercise means mental toughness and pushing past your body’s limits, but sometimes we really need to listen to our bodies and give it a rest! Your stomach growls when you are hungry, your body tells you when you need to pee, but when we are dragging, tired, sick, and no have energy left, we usually push through and try to complete the workout plan anyways. The truth is, if you take a rest, you will probably have a much, much better workout the next day, which basically cancels out your day off! Your muscles have time to recover and rebuild, and rather than having an extended period of mediocre workouts you can get back to your usual high intensity much sooner.

I have literally been sick for 4 weeks with some kind of sinus infection / cold / virus (a typical state of mine throughout study abroad), and I have been trying to suck it up and push through in order to continue my workout consistency. But when I kept getting worse I decided enough was enough so I have not exercised in 3 days (besides a lot of biking–it is Denmark after all)! I am really itching to get back to it but I am already starting to feel better. Instead, I spent the evening at Tivoli (a famous amusement park in Copenhagen), listening to a wonderful up and coming artist, Jada, with some friends! So take care of yourselves people, listen to your bodies, and practice intuitive exercise 🙂 

 

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
A photo of me on my rest day meeting my favorite up and coming Danish artist, Jada!
Processed with VSCO with g6 preset
The Bike Home!