Food & Fitness

HITT and the City

The 2010 Best of Canada Natural Health Awards

Living Healthy in the Real World has been nominated in the Health Resource – Social Media category for the 2010 Canadian Natural Health Awards! It’s very exciting. If you like this blog (and if you live in Canada), feel free to cast a vote in this direction 🙂


I had the opportunity last week to visit Aspire Fitness, a small gym on the outskirts of my city. Jason Penner, the owner, put me through his HITT program with a few of the other clients that he has been working with.

HITT stands for High Intensity Tempo Training. At Jason’s gym, the circuit involves a series of ten different exercises. You do each exercise for 90 seconds straight before moving to the next one. When you are done the entire set of ten, you get a 90-second break before doing it all over again. And then a third time. The word “intensity” is in the name for a reason! It’s a tough workout with fast turnover between exercises. Midway through the first set I could already feel the sweat on my face, and I’m no wimp when it comes to fitness.

Doing the HITT class reminded me a lot of my boot camp days. I really loved the focus of the class and how there’s such a personal aspect to it, when there’s just you, the trainer, and a couple of other clients all working your butts off. At the end of the practice session, Jason offered me eight weeks of HITT, three times a week (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings, an hour each time). I will be writing about my experiences with HITT each week in return for the free classes.

I’ve been trying to lose some body fat for a while now, and I think that eight weeks solid of HITT might just help me out with losing the body fat. My goals for the eight weeks might be lofty, but here they are:

1) I want to lose 5 lbs;

2) I want to lose 3% of my body fat;

3) I want to lose 2 inches.

If I don’t quite manage to achieve those goals, that’s okay – but I’m still going to strive for those goals. We’ll see how well I do!

Yesterday morning was my first real HITT class. My instructor is Holly, and she’s great. There are five of us in the class, so we each do a different exercise at the same time and follow each other through the circuit. The first exercise that Holly put me through was hill sprints. I loved it for the first 20 seconds. Then I spent the next 70 seconds counting down and praying I wouldn’t fall off of the inclined treadmill. When they say “hill sprints”, they aren’t joking! It was so tough that I hadn’t caught my breath until after I’d finished the next four exercises, 90 seconds each (push ups, lat raises, weighted step-ups, and push-pulls). By the third circuit, I got a stitch in my side while doing 90 seconds of jumping jacks. It’s been a while since a workout has caused a stitch in my side, so suffice it to say that I was thoroughly impressed. Especially because this was only Day One.

Because it was my first class yesterday morning, I weighed in and measured my waist on Sunday morning for my “starting measurements” at home. I have recorded my stats and am planning on checking them again midway through the HITT program, in four weeks, and then again at the end of the program. Jason also took our weight, body fat, and chest, waist, and hip measurements on Monday night. Because I tend to weigh myself first thing in the morning before I’ve eaten, and because I have a different scale than the one at Aspire Fitness, the weight and body fat percentage were not the same on both scales. Jason will be taking our measurements again later on, so I figure I might as well take my own measurements at home too – it doesn’t hurt to have a couple of ways to track progress.

I’m fine with sharing the numbers of my measurements, but I know that some readers prefer not to know that kind of information. Does anyone have a preference one way or another? Let me know!

Next week I’ll talk some more about the online component of the HITT program. Although I do have a food blog, I will also be recording everything I eat (and all the exercising that I do) at my online Aspire Fitness profile as well. I’m interested to see the nutrient breakdown. Super excited about the next eight weeks of HITT!

Have you ever tried HITT? What were your experiences with it like? What kind of exercise are you doing right now? Do you use an online program to track nutrient intake and your fitness progress? Share in the comments section below!


    1. Sagan Morrow

      I often find that I like having someone else there because I end up pushing myself more. I really wonder if I’d force myself to finish the 90 seconds of hill sprints if no one were watching… it would take a whole lot of mental focus to do it!

  1. asithi

    Congrats on the nomination!

    I’m like Andrea, I try to do my own HITT workouts at home. Sometimes I get the intensity right and sometimes I don’t. There is just less motivation when you are exercising by yourself. But regardless, I am excited for you. This sounds like a great way to take your exercising up a notch.

    When I focused on losing inches and weight for my wedding last year, I had the best three months of exercise in my life. Of course, now that the need to look my best is less urgent, I have let things slide a bit. And with my recent health development, no more intense workouts for me. At least not for a few more months. 🙂

  2. Yum Yucky

    Ooo. I’d love to take a HITT. It would whomp my azz and whittle away these few remaining pounds faster. And if I could, I would totally play Canadian so I could vote for you. Good luck! You definitely deserve it. 🙂

    1. Sagan Morrow

      Puke-inducing, YES. Almonds and watermelon were a poor choice for a pre-workout snack on Tuesday! I’m going to have to work on figuring out the best thing to eat – my trainer says that it’s important we get SOMETHING into our stomachs before coming to workout because that might just make us feel more queasy. Hmmm.

  3. Emergefit

    Forgive me for being the contrarian, but that is my lot in life. Generally speaking, HITT classes are not sustainable for long-term fitness. The intensity is fun, often addictive, but in the end is just not reasonable. That’s my reality and I’m sticking to it…

    1. Sagan Morrow

      True that they are tough to stick out for the long-term. I think our bodies CAN adapt to doing this kind of workout on a regular basis, but it is difficult to keep going after a certain point. Whenever I did a few boot camps in a row, I’d find that towards the end of it I wasn’t enjoying it nearly as much and I just felt exhausted all the time. That’s why it’s good to constantly switch up the kinds of exercise we do! Wheee fitness!

  4. Lori Dyck

    Hey Sagan! I totally just stumbled upon your site by fluke this morning while looking for Aspire’s Twitter page 🙂 (I’m the Lori in your HITT class, by the way.. if you haven’t figured that out yet)

    I’m LOVING the class too! It’s seriously the best “bootcamp” (for lack of a better word) that I’ve done. I know we’re only a week in, but I feel great already and I can’t believe how quick that 50 minutes goes.

    Anyway, cheering you on to reach your goals. You’re making me feel guilty about not setting quantitative goals yet :/

    Cool blog — I’m going to browse around some more 🙂 See ya Tuesday 6am!!!

  5. Jody - Fit at 52

    When I hit my late 40’s & perimenopause.. which by the way I am still in.. UGH…. my weight & many other things started to change. It was then that I added in plyometrics, HIIT, intervals & more.. along with continuing to change my food program whenever my bod told me too. I am still working thru it & HIIT, plyometrics, intervals & every changing food programs are in my lifestyle for life.. or so it seems! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *