Once the pandemic hit in 2020 I could no longer use my favorite gym due to restricted hours and Covid safety protocols. This was frustrating to say the least. What did I do? I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and purchased a yoga mat along with several sets of dumbbells. It was time to venture onto YouTube and discover the phenomenon known as “High Intensity Interval Training,” otherwise known as HIIT. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept of HIIT, it involves performing exercises to the point of fatigue while offering only small amounts of time for recovery before moving on to the next exercise.
In 2021 I fell deep down the HIIT rabbit hole. I have tried dozens of routines, and over time I have found my favorites. Here is a quick summary of four (4) of my “go-to” HIIT routine providers on YouTube with a few pointers to help you figure out what type of routine you might want to try…
As a disclaimer of my biases… I am a physical therapist in my early fifties, and I do tend to gravitate towards routines that are safe, comprehensive, and require either hand held weights or body weight for resistance.
ACHV PEAK (DJ and Jen)
A. Not intimidating to try as a beginner/novice and easy to follow.
B. No music during the routines; instead you receive verbal instruction and motivation (DJ loves to yell out the word “SQUEEZE” when referencing muscle recruitment).
C. The instructor does often give modifications to exercises as viable options and demonstrates them appropriately. In some of the sessions, DJ’s partner Jen will also participate and demonstrate modifications.
D. Overall, these routines are safe, and the creators do a good job motivating the viewer.
A. Very good for beginners and intermediate training.
B. This couple has a heavy West Coast vibe, and you can plainly see a high production value in their videos. Their routines are accompanied by hip-hop style music that blends into the background (usually without lyrics).
C. The instructors use the high production value to visually detail exercise form rather than relying on speaking during the routine. You will often see the upcoming exercise demonstration on one side of the screen as you are finishing up the current exercise.
D. The routines are safe, and I have a need to see what Juice and Toya do when the workout is complete. They have a tendency to turn to one another when the routine is done and perform a special “handshake” routine that changes from session to session. It is oddly entertaining.
A. Beginners might find some of her routines to be too intense to handle. I would recommend this trainer more for people who have at least some experience with resistance training.
B. A very high production value of videos is the norm for this trainer, and she makes it seem effortless. These routines have the best music accompaniments out of all of the routines I have tried, and I often find myself using the “Shazam” app on any phone to identify some of the recording artists featured. The music is very cool and motivating.
C. This trainer uses the strategy of verbally explaining the exercises in detail prior to starting the routine. She is concise and informative with her explanations, and she will often reaffirm this during the routines by giving extra visual feedback.
D. Although her workouts are comprehensive, she does tend to be a bit more focused on the legs and core than many other trainers. Very often at the end of her routines, she will include a timed challenge such as a two-minute plank. I have not been able to complete one as of yet… If you are goal oriented, these routines will likely motivate you.
ZEUS FITNESS (Grant)
A. You can find routines for many different ability levels and sessions that last anywhere from fifteen minutes to over one hour. Most of the routines I find very doable, while with a few I have a hard time keeping up with this trainer. Grant’s style is exemplified through the setting of his videos: He is the owner of what looks to me to be a “boot camp” style gym in the UK and has perhaps a heavy Irish or Scottish accent? (It is very entertaining to hear Grant say the word “eight” with his accent when counting out repetitions.)
B. This trainer tends to use music accompaniments with some routines and straight verbal instruction with others. He does tend to verbally instruct whether or not there is music playing.
C. There is diversity in how these HITT sessions are organized. You may find a routine that sticks to forty (40) seconds of exercise followed by twenty (20) seconds of rest, or you may find that you have to stick with Grant as he barrels through sets of fifteen (15) repetitions for a number of exercises in series.
D. Some of the routines incorporate light plyometric movements and compound movements. These exercises are demonstrated well, and I do feel that they are safe for most people to perform.