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Read on to find out how one woman found her way to fitness with the High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) programme.
I am 47 years old. I am a mother of four, I have often abused my body with food, but I have always exercised, thinking that was enough and that I could then stuff my face. I have tried low calorie diets, often eating less than 1000 calories a day. I have tried intermittent fasting, often staying hungry for 24 hours in an effort to shed one dress size.
I have tried everything, but the elusive inch loss would not come. Sure, I would feel good, as I always stayed active, but in our forties, perhaps our metabolism changes and we need something else.
I heard about Joe Wicks, also known as the body coach while here in the UK, doing another Masters. I started following him on Instagram and Facebook and suddenly, he was there wherever I looked. He is a big believer in HIIT training, good fats and eating a lot, but eating in a different way.
So I signed up, and I have to say, it is a revelation! I can finally see the glimmer of collar-bones that I thought I had lost, my skin looks better and I feel great. People have started complimenting me on how good I am looking and I can start seeing myself looking slightly slimmer in my photos on Facebook!
So what is HIIT training? An acronym for High Intensity Interval Training, this is much shorter than an average session at the gym. Whereas earlier I would slog at the gym for an hour, I can do a quick HIIT session at home or at the gym.
It is normally 30 seconds of really high intensity workouts (think mountain climbers or running on the spot or jumping jacks at home; or running on the treadmill, rowing or cycling on the machines at the gym), but really giving it all you’ve got for 30 seconds, and then 30 to 45 seconds of rest or gentler exercise. Basically you get your heart rate up really high and then rest, and you do this 13-15 times, preceded with a warm up, followed up by a cool down, and you’re done with your workout in 20-25 minutes!
Sounds too good to be true, but combined with the right proportions of foods and healthy fats, I’ve started seeing results I hardly believed possible. HIIT is supposed to be excellent for burning fats and inch loss, and I am seeing that on my own body, and I am very pleased.
I’m combining this with drinking at least four litres of water a day in addition to green teas and a coffee, cutting out sugar and desserts (the hardest for me!) and eating in a specific way, at least for this first part of my fat loss journey. I eat carbohydrates and low fat high protein meals after the HIIT session, and low carbohydrate, good fat and high protein meals for the other two. All my food is being cooked in extra virgin coconut oil, and I am eating a lot of avocados, salmon, chicken breast, sour cream and cottage cheese. I am overdosing on spinach, broccoli and green beans, and my skin and hair have never looked better. All wheat has been cut out and for carbohydrates, I am using brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes and polenta.
I think it is definitely an education in nutrition for me. As a trained yoga teacher and a chef (I used to run a dessert business in New Delhi a few years ago called Karma Pies), I always understood the body and food. But understanding good fats like coconut oil (so prevalent in our country) and fatty foods like avocado and salmon, I am really seeing their impact on my body, energy and inch loss.
I am on Day 22 of a 90 day plan, and I hope to keep learning more on this amazing journey. Everyone’s bodies are different, and everyone’s journeys are different. What works for one person may not work for another. But what is important is that we keep trying active, fit and trying to feel better and stronger.
Perhaps it’s not about Size Zero any more. Perhaps it’s about Size Fit and Strong!
Published earlier here.
Image source: pixabay.
Jhilmil Breckenridge is a poet, writer and activist who speaks out about mental health, incarceration
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