THE BASICS: HIITGirl offers 30 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training- broken down into 30 seconds of a fast rep-bursts, followed by a 30 second rest (for the “easier” classes). 30 seconds of exercise sounds like a doddle. You are so wrong, my friend. So very wrong. First class is free. Membership or class card options available- with an additional 20% discount on some packages when you sign up on the day of your trial class (as advertised in January 2014).
THE BITCHES: Carly
THE CLASS: Hello, my name is Carly and I’m late for everything. Including this class. But it’s not my fault (it never is, but this time it really wasn’t). I’ll admit it- I have a phone that I don’t understand how to use, and when I look at the map, the blue dot (me) just pings about excitedly across the entire borough I’m occupying. And there I am, even more confused about where I am than if I was just looking at a good old fashioned A-Z.
I actually got to Highgate Station in plenty of time to get to the HIITGirl studio (about 15 minute walk), but I could not for the life of me work out where I was in relation to the studio. Cursing myself under my breath for both my lack of spatial awareness and my technologically incapable brain, I ambled around lost and frustrated, before finally Mr. Blue dot realised where I was, and directed me appropriately. I hot-footed it to the studio like you wouldn’t believe.
I’m totally ashamed that, despite the effort, I still arrived late to this class, although I managed to phone ahead to warn them (only courteous). I was UNBELIEVABLY ANNOYED with myself because it’s only a 30 minute class and I had been so excited to try out this lovely looking studio.
Thankfully it was only by a couple of minutes and I was allowed to join. But I felt like a naughty puppy as I slunk in, put my bags at the back, and sprinted over to the only spare mat- right in the front of the class (lesson to the latecomer- you shall be punished with a mat at the front). I really appreciate the fact that HIITGirl let me in- but would obviously recommend arriving on time!!
As I had missed the first couple of minutes, it was straight into the 30 second sessions, which covered a whole host of fast, repetitive movements to send the heart rate soaring quickly. Burpees, star jumps, lunges, crunches, press ups, and a lot of things I don’t know the name of and could only clumsily describe- let’s just put them under the umbrella of “Ouchie”. The point was to push ourselves to complete as many reps as we could in that short burst of time, and then take the following 30 seconds to catch our breath and briefly relax.
The concept behind HIIT Girl is twofold- it’s 30 minutes long so it can easily slot into busy lives, without giving the excuse “I haven’t got the time to workout” a leg to stand on. In parallel to this, it offers what it says on the tin; High Intensity Interval Training. That is, short, sharp intervals of intense exercise followed by a tiny rest (which feels so much shorter than the exercise section!) This technique is meant to shock your metabolism into burning fat, toning up, and keeping this magic working for the following 24 hours (please note this is not exactly a scientific description of what happens, but covers the basic idea.)
Our lovely trainer was calm but encouraging, she talked and demonstrated us through each interval, pushing us to push ourselves whilst the big clock counted down on a large screen at the front of the studio. The timer itself was linked to a snazzy looking ipod docking mechanism- it was pretty slick and spoke to the gadget geek within me.
Our trainer took a quick whizz round of the group from time to time, asking us what level we felt we were working at, with 1 being standing still and 10 being near death through sweat. The perfectly sized little group of us tended to fluctuate between 7 to 9. I felt like I was at a consistent “8”. I think the panic-stricken rush to find the studio, which had finally resulted in me pelting across Crouch End, meant I had completed a 10 minute high energy cardio session before unceremoniously bursting through the HIIT Girl doors. Needless to say, I was DRIPPING with sweat from the second the workout started, as a result. This is what endorphins are made of!
We spent the final few minute of class before warm down on the bikes and completing standing sprints, purely to raise the heart rate and send the metabolism off home on a real high. Short sharp bursts of energy on the bike, little rests, and then a short, fast, burst of on-the-spot jogging. I am pretty certain my legs were nothing but a cartoon-like blur. The warm down was gratefully received.
One final observation- after the class, I had a chance to look around the studio and appreciate it properly (i.e. the sweat stopped dripping into my eyes and I could admire my surroundings). This place is a girl’s workout paradise. Aromatherapy candles, fuscia pink accents around the bright, airy studio, roses in a vase on the reception desk, stylish frames on the walls and frosty glass so it’s light but you aren’t having your workout in public view. Never mind a workout studio, I’d like my apartment to look like this!
THE VERDICT: The class felt like it lasted for just the right amount of time for the work we’d put into it. There wasn’t a minute where I was looking at the clock thinking “please have mercy”- I didn’t really have time to think about the 30 minute stretch when it was being broken down into little chunks. On the flipside, neither did the 30 minutes fly by too quickly to feel like we’d achieved anything substantial. It was a perfect amount of time for the level and intensity of exercise we completed, and felt like a very effective total-body workout.
The studio itself deserves a verdict too- the exercise-sadist in me also liked the fact that the pretty, sexy pink girliness totally belied the amount of sheer, sweaty graft the HIITGirl workout requires of you. Grr.
THE EXTRAS: HIITGirl launched their new Yogabomb classes in January 2014. They sound delightful! Who fancies joining me for a class?