High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is something we commonly associate with boot camps, men’s gyms, Crossfit and so on. The truth is most of our classes use different forms of HIIT all the time. Whether it’s for 4 minutes or 30, you probably do it every week at WiO.

What is HIIT? Lets ask Wikipedia:

“High-intensity interval training (HIIT), also called high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) is an enhanced form of interval training, an exercise strategy alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods. HIIT is a form of cardiovascular exercise. Usual HIIT sessions may vary from 4–30 minutes. These short, intense workouts provide improved athletic capacity and condition, improved glucose metabolism, and improved fat burning.[1][2][3] Compared with other regimens, HIIT may not be as effective for treating hyperlipidemia and obesity, or improving muscle and bone mass.[4]Researchers also note that HIIT requires "an extremely high level of subject motivation," and question whether the general population could safely or practically tolerate the extreme nature of the exercise regimen.[5]”

All right, so this is pretty general. In fact, there are numerous researchers creating their own HIIT regimens and/or guidelines every week (ie: Jillian Michaels). Regardless of the specific methodology, one truth exists: you want to PUSH yourself to your max (85% and higher heart rate) for the allotted time. One method is the Gibala regimen, which focuses on 60 seconds of intense exercise followed by 60 seconds of rest or light exercise. Another involves 40-second bursts with 15-second breaks. Then there’s Tabata, which is 20 seconds at your absolute max and a 10-second break. Whether you realize it or not, all of these are incorporated into WiO classes. Next Stop, Sweata, High Speed, Mixer and any Ride class. Why? Because it’s effective and efficient.

OK enough chatter, we get it. It’s hard and it works. But, lets rewind a touch. That Wiki definition highlighted an important detail:

“Researchers also note that HIIT requires "an extremely high level of subject motivation," and question whether the general population could safely or practically tolerate the extreme nature of the exercise regimen.[5]”

Yep, that part. First off, that’s why we use these methods in classes with trained instructors who are there to guide and coach you. As for the motivation part, look to your instructors as well, but also look around to each other. Use the energy around you in class to push faster, to get stronger and to motivate performance. Easier said than done, of course, which is why I wanted to hear for some of the super motivated WiO instructors and find out how they “push” in their workouts. Hopefully, you can take some of these words into your next class!

What does a “push” mean to you?

Aleta: Not listening to my mind when it tells me that my body "can't," reaching for that little bit of extra strength I know I possess. :)

Vanessa: A push means reaching your comfort zone and getting past it! It’s the only way you’ll become stronger.

Julia: Fighting beyond what you think is your end point. Knowing that place of pain/fatigue and fighting to that next moment. You know you get there because even though you can’t breathe, there is a sense of pride or accomplishment.

Steph: I say this a lot in class and I really believe it: pushing yourself is about being uncomfortable. To me, that's being so breathless from a sprint on the bike that I have to stop and recover. Other times it's seeing that shake in my legs during a CandyBarre class. Worth it every time!

What drives you to “push” or work harder in your own workouts?

Brittani: Walking into each and every workout with a purpose. Whether that purpose is simple like dropping a few pounds or more complex like living a healthier and more fit lifestyle, having a purpose is what drives me to push harder to get there and feel accomplished at the end.

Stefanie S.: What drives me to push, is setting a goal for myself, i.e. signing up for a race or participating in small fitness challenges with friends. I always want to give 100% during my workouts, not only for myself, but so clients see that I work just as hard as them to achieve my wanted results.

Lauren B.: RESULTS BABY!! Both the physical and non-physical kind.  Of course we all love to see and feel the external results. Whether that be in a ride class achieving a faster sprint or a heavier climb or in a mat class being able to lift heavier weights or do more burpees. That extra push in class makes for some amazing out of class results too. Like seeing new muscle definition, having clothes fit better (even dropping a size!). But then consider the internal results. Having more energy during the day, faster metabolism, sleeping better at night, or best of all - having higher self-esteem. Some of these might not be first things associated with giving that extra push in a class, but trust me you'll see all these results come alive in no time!

Cassie: We all know when we get to that place where it just feels TOO hard! When I get there, I kick into push mode knowing that if I can get through those next 30 seconds or so, I will feel so great mentally and physically. The feeling when I don’t give up lasts way longer than any thoughts or feelings of "arrrgggg ouch!" during the intense exercise.

For you, what class most resembles “push” at WiO?

Michelle: Whether it is Blended at River or in the Mat room at Willow, Next Stop Skinny for sure! For one minute your only responsibility is to "push" - giving your max effort leaving you breathless after that 60 seconds of hard work.

Kaley: High speed! Your goal is fatigue, is 100% exertion at max effort. The entire 55-minutes is formulated to help you push. To take each 20-second segment and work to your full potential. The work and the rest allow you to test your limits, play with your edges, and see how far you can take yourself for that pre-determined amount of time.