My first gym experience was memorable. The owner set me up to an inclined pushup which on the first down led to my face being planted to the floor, sputtering out “Help!” through the free corner of my mouth. From that time, I took up almost every other muscle training regime I could find. I enjoyed calisthenics, yoga, self-resistance, shovelglove and others before life got too busy to sustain the time each one took.
A couple years into my Paleo journey I came across Dr Doug McGuff’s work at Body By Science which explained how much can be done for the body in a weekly 15 minute workout. I was already accepting unorthodox theories in taking care of myself so this came at what I considered the right time. I was ready.
I found the only UK practitioner of High Intensity Training, HITUni, and fortunately he lived in North London, a 30 minute drive from me. Normally that will be considered too much of an effort but the synchronicity of it all was too hard to ignore.
“I want to be strong!” was my reply when I was asked what my goals were. In the start I was full of fear. The leg press stood there waiting each week, so solid, so permanent, so unhelpful. I stuck to it beyond my expectations but I could have quickly seen I was getting stronger. My dodgy back would no longer spasm and lock for days. I also found my posture improving. So there was progress.
HIT gets the muscle to use all its glycogen stores through the slow continuous movement where the momentum is very low and there is constant stress to exhaustion in a single set. The full workout of about six exercises leaves you knackered! My sleep on the night is never easy because my body is running high on adrenaline for at least 24 hours after.
Besides the improvements I accrued over the last three years, I found a new purpose in the discipline. HIT to me is a personal conversation I have with myself when that clock starts. The focus I am striving for is absolute and as you can imagine, the days I judge as high 90s in percentage concentration are still not the epitome of what I believe I am capable of. With HIT, you can give your max and it will always ask more of you.
For me, there is no physical goal in HIT, no weight to accomplish, no amount of reps to complete and no more do I measure muscle growth and fat loss. I go to a HIT session aware I am about to face an extraordinary challenge that I will either come away from feeling that I have been as focused, disciplined and determined as I can be or I can slink off that machine thinking that I at some point, I tricked myself into accepting an out.
With HIT I can’t hide. As I master the technique of each exercise, I am finding more time within those two minutes that previously was not there. The mind is amazing! I have moved from someone who was fearful of a movement to being able to minutely analyse how an escalating stress affects my thoughts and how I am able to cope. HIT is very Yoda, “There is no try…”