Saturday, March 1, 2014

7:05 AM
I have to admit, I am pretty bummed that I picked February to be the High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) month for my Fitness Project because I have REALLY loved the work outs and could have happily spent three more days (or another year) doing them. As it was, I did 39 HIIT workouts in 28 days, and dramatically increased my ability to do pushups, burpees, box jumps and many other forms of torture for sustained intervals of up to two minutes. I was also fairly successful in the other elements of the Fitness Project - I did eat mostly gluten-free; I tried a bunch of new classes, exercises and apps; my entire family joined me for several Scientific 7 Minute Workouts; several folks participated in the 7x7 Challenge; my husband and friends took Cardio Assault classes with me; and for my signature event, I helped a friend apply for her certification as a GRIT instructor by being a participant in her videotaped mock class (more on that, and actual footage, later).

Since this was my final week of doing HIIT, I wanted to go out with a bang. Time was super-constrained though so I substituted volume for novelty and variety, as described below:

Monday: Boxing
So boxing gyms are a dime a dozen, right? And you look in the steamy windows and you see a bunch of sweaty people just dancing around and whacking away at black, stuffed punching bags, right?


Turns out that boxing and boxing classes are a very intense, highly choreographed, and stunningly difficult form of HIIT, or so I found out after being totally schooled last Monday night.

I realized as I stumbled through the punching forms (jabs, hooks, uppercuts), choreographed sequences (1,2,3,1,1,4) and associated footwork, that I actually know next to nothing about boxing. While I have a temper, I am not a violent person and the violence of boxing has never appealed to me. I guess from a distance I just sort of thought that people threw punches at each other in a small ring until someone fell down. I also though they just bounced around a lot on their toes, a movement I implemented with enthusiasm until the instructor apparently got embarrassed for me and tried to show me some more effective punching stances. I am apparently no Million Dollar Baby ringer, although by the end of the class I was finding some real satisfaction in rapidly punching the heck out of the bag, hair in my eyes, sweat dripping down my face, legs and arms shaking with impact and exertion. I am glad I tried boxing, both for the work of it and more for the appreciation I now have for what real boxers do. Also, if you have had a really bad day, then this might be just the thing.

Tuesday: Sworkit
Since I do many workouts at home in my garage, in the storage room of my office, or in public parks while my kids play, I am always looking for good apps that deliver on effective, efficient workouts. That is why I am such a big fan of the Nike Training Club App, the Scientific 7 Minute Workout App, and based on my trial of it on Tuesday night, the Sworkit app.

Sworkit builds randomized circuit training workouts that require no equipment, meaning that you can truly do them anywhere. You have the ability to choose which part of your body you want to work on, what you want to focus on (e.g., strength or cardio), how long you want to work out, and how long you want the intervals, transitions and rests to be. You can allow it to randomly give you the exercises, or you can design your own workouts based on the exercise database. While not perfect (I would have preferred a count down to the transitions), I definitely liked the app and will use it again. Warning: there are some truly random exercises in their database which I have never seen or done before, although it does allow you to skip through ones you don't want to do.

Wednesday: TRX Suspend
So I love the TRX Suspension Trainer anyway, but couple it with short bursts of cardio and you pretty much have the perfect work out. That was the format of the TRX circuit class I took on Wednesday, one minute of a TRX exercise / one minute of stationary biking for 45 minutes. Awesome. Full body. Workout.

Friday: GRIT Video Taped
The GRIT classes offered at my gym have been a staple of my HIIT month because they are short (30 minutes), hard, and at times of the day that I can sometimes make it to. My favorite spin instructor at the gym follows the MommyTasker Blog and, seeing that I was into GRIT, let me know that she was training to be an instructor and would be teaching extra classes to train for the certification process. I was unfortunately unable to make any of these extra GRIT sessions because of my work schedule until today, which just so happened to be a day that she was video taping her class for certification. Lest you think that I have been making up the fact that I have been squatting, jumping, push upping or otherwise punishing myself this last month, here is the proof - a video of me and four other bad ass mommies doing a GRIT Strength work out. I artfully managed to place myself behind the stereo, but if you want a killer workout (especially towards the middle/end when we start to go all crazy on the plyo), you can follow along.

GRIT2 from MommyTasker on Vimeo.

As of tomorrow I will switch my focus away from HIIT to rock climbing and eating vegan. March should be a much quieter month, hopefully with some more time spent out of doors on real rock. I ate decidedly un-vegan today in preparation of a month without some of my favorite foods (cheese!), but hope to dive even deeper into healthy and minimalist eating for a while. I will definitely miss the intensity and the efficiency of doing HIIT, but am glad I have some new tools and ideas that I can weave into other workouts to achieve some of the benefits.

To learn more about my Fitness Project, please contact me at,, or connect with me on Facebook.


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