by Alexandra Schultz
Hello to you, busy mother, father, grandfather, grandmother, college student, or whoever has taken the time to read this blog article. My name is Alexandra and I am a coach for CutThroat Athletics, home of CutThroat CrossFit. I wanted to take a moment to talk to you on a personal level about why I am such a proponent for high intensity interval training (or HIIT) and how it completely changed my life.
A little bit of a backstory on me, starting from 16 on I was in and out of the hospital, I got diagnosed early on with Celiacs disease (back when no one knew what it was), I had problems with my liver and was threatened to be put on the transplant list and the doctors were doing biopsies, endoscopes, colonoscopies and exploratory surgeries on me like they were going out of style(seriously, they should have offered me a buy 2 get 1 free special). My health had been in a bad place for quite a long time. When I first heard about HIIT, I had just finished up a week long stint in the hospital with a deadly case of pneumonia. The pneumonia had completely taken over my left lung, damaging it permanently and I was unable to breath without the support of oxygen, I was released after a week long hospital stay and put on a mandatory three weeks of bed rest.
I had been home a week and a half and I was sitting on my couch, binging on a bag of chocolate covered almonds, crying and feeling completely disgusted with myself and what I had become. What happened to the fun, active and fit girl I used to be? Now I was overweight, completely inactive and even worse than that I couldn’t even walk down the hallway without getting winded. I just had discovered a new app called Pinterest and I was perusing it as I sat in my misery. That is where I found an article about HIIT training, kick your butt in 12 minutes it said at the top in big bold letters…12 minutes?? Ya right!!! Nothing could do that, everyone I knew who was fit and perfect worked out on the treadmill for hours, not minutes. Who could possibly have success in minutes? I was tempted to prove them wrong, so I gave it a go…9 minutes later I was on the floor and panting, I could not even finish the rest of the session, the remaining 3 minutes stared back at me mockingly singing “I told you so, I told you so!!”.
At first I felt completely intimidated, even a little depressed, could I really do this HIIT thing? I wasn’t healthy or fit like the ladies who were promoting it and it had already kicked my butt, how could it possibly be something I could do? But I decided to go for it. I started out with just 12 minutes a day, 3-4 days a week because that was the time I had and that was where my fitness level was at. Then it progressed to 5 days a week, then 7 days a week. Within weeks, I started seeing improvements in my lung capacity and function, improvements in my speed and agility, I started leaning out, I was able to hold my own body weight, even complete a few push ups and the more progress I saw, the more I became hooked.
I started trying HIIT for longer sessions, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, sometimes even an hour!!I started writing my own programs, testing how much I could push myself in the shortest amount of time. It was fun to see how much I could achieve.
These results were not even the tip of the iceberg, everything else was improving in my life right along with my training.
I had more energy, I was finally able to go on hikes with my husband and not be left in the dust, I was more willing to try new things where before I was too insecure to. I was horse back riding, running 5k’s, mountain biking. I was just becoming and wanting to be more active cause I had the energy and power to do just that. That person who was ill all the time and couldn’t walk down the hallway without getting winded was becoming more of a faded memory and a confident, happy person was taking her place.
People started noticing I was losing weight and becoming stronger and that made me smile, because inside I knew that what I was doing was becoming more fulfilling to me than just the goal of losing weight. The best part was, I was only spending 30 minutes of my day, and I only needed by body weight and I was having such fantastic results from the inside out.
The confidence HIIT gave me, allowed me to feel brave enough to join a gym, HIIT train with other people and then I entered into the world of bodybuilding. A place I would have never explored had I not found confidence in myself, my strength and my abilities. Being able to hold and power your own body weight is the building block for any exercise routine. I became obsessed with lifting weights and then I would interval train after or on my rest days and it made my lifting that much stronger, that much better and more powerful. Bodybuilding then progressed into power lifting and now that’s what I do today(and I still use the amazing benefits of HIIT on my rest days). HIIT gave me the initial confidence to try and it kept me from getting bored with my routine.
I love HIIT so much, and it changed my life so much, I wanted to use it to change others lives and that is why I ended up getting my group fitness instructor certification. So that I could teach HIIT! It is so fun to do in a group, and I love how anyone can partake in it.
I found HIIT at the lowest part of my life and it helped bring me to the best moments of my life. I don’t know if I would be where I am today without it.
Now you know a little more about me and one of the many reasons why I love HIIT training.
So the question becomes, what can HIIT do for you and your life?