Go HIIT or Go Home

I just about made it to Park City, Utah. Happy President’s Day y’all and God Bless America. God bless me too while you’re at it: I bankrupted myself financially and emotionally along the tortuous way here but sure no point in wallowing after the damage is done. (This attitude might very well be why I tend to repeat these typa mistakes with alarming frequency:  #StoryOfMyLife.)

To abridge a long, snore fest of a story, my tale of woe involved not one but three separate flight reservations with a leitmotif of what the actual motherfocking fock.  After a few more hours on the phone, it has emerged that my checked luggage is officially MIA. I’d be the first to admit I’d be occasionally prone to not having my wits about me but this time, it was beyond my control.

But, enough with the venting Michelle. We need to talk #fitfam. More specifically HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training.

I won’t lie. The February Fitness plans went to the dogs. I haven’t darkened the door of the gym in 2017 to my shame. Apart from walking to and from my car I haven’t done a stroke. Not a jot. I still haven’t managed to cancel my gym membership because their policy is that it has to be done in person. I know this because I phoned them from the comfort of my couch and asked for a special dispensation for no reason at all. Eff off and come down was the response. I phoned a couple more times, chancing my arm and hoping I’d get a more bendy employee the next time but the responses were all variations on the above theme. Ah well, what can you do? Also, hope seems to spring eternal with me and I continue to book classes daily and, ahem, cancel them daily. I wouldn’t want to get barred from using the app you know. It might come in handy some day. #SomeDay.

I booked (and cancelled) not one but two classes last Friday:

This was despite having after-work plans. Yes, I have a severe case of Persistent Delusional Disorder. Thank you for your kind concern.

I digress. I’m blaming sleep deprivation.

I wanted to consider HITT as a way of dispensing with the need for a gym membership. (I only ever go to hour-long classes when I attend a gym. We’d be talking roundabout 4 hours per year at the moment.)

HIIT devotees are ten a penny and with good reason. The cherries on top? You only need ten minutes, you can do it anywhere, and with no fancy equipment. A timer app or stopwatch helps. My friend Davina recommends the Tabata app and she’s looking mighty fine on it.

The bare bones of it: you exert yourself until you reach close to your peak heart rate for an interval of anything from a few seconds to several minutes. You then cool down with an interval of less intense training. And then you repeat the cycle several times. Simples.

Professor Westerblad (nice name Prof) at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden studied muscle biopsies of volunteers taken after they’d undergone a standardised HIIT sesh. These samples revealed a serious amount of #ripped (oh yeah) calcium (as in cell-signalling) channels. Training of normal (sustained, moderate) intensity generates nowhere near the amount of free radicals (free radicals being unstable, highly reactive molecules that seek stability by attaching to and thereby damaging healthy molecules) that HIIT generates. You’re essentially giving your body a bigger clean up job. HIIT has been shown to increase the resting metabolic rate for about 24 hours: #winning.

You can chose your poison, be it sprinting or using a treadmill or elliptical or whatever you fancy but I plan on starting with this:

Perform each of the following for 20 seconds, with as many reps as possible, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Then repeat!

  1. Squat jumps
  2. Push ups
  3. Burpees
  4. Sit ups
  5. Jumping lunges

And don’t be disheartened if you’re starting from a very low level of fitness. Westerblad concluded that elite athletes develop tolerance to the shock of HIIT and don’t see the dramatic results that ‘recreational’ athletes see. Phew! Soooo relieved I didn’t put myself at that disadvantage. Heaven forbid. I knew there was method in my madness. Persistent Delusional Disorder: the disorder that just keeps on giving.

P.S. To read more, please visit skipthescript.com

Throwback to Kitzbuhel 2015 where we were literally rolling around laughing in the back of a van with no seats after missing our planned lift home. Caroline couldn’t make this trip and is very badly missed x




My name is Michelle and I’m a Dublin-based GP (family doctor). Life is short: take the minimalist approach to maximise your health!

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