An Old School HIIT.
Exercise has always played a big part in my life. I remember vividly standing on the stage at my local leisure centre back in 1990-something, sporting a canary yellow 2 piece Adidas outfit (it is a small mercy that there was no such thing as social media back then). That was aerobics – old school: knee lifts, jumping jacks, squats and the like. I was 18 years old and replacing a very well established trainer who had been running those classes for what seemed like eternity. I played my music using a tape-deck – yes an actual tape-deck. The first song was the dulcet tones of the Cher classic, 'Believe'. I managed to muddle my way through the class, with my biggest fan – my mum – on standby. I haven't looked back since and that is where my fitness journey began.
In the last 20-odd years I have pretty much done every class-based exercise you can think of, following both the trends of the day and the ebb and flow of my own fitness passions: Zumba to Pole-fit; boxercise to spin and abs. Now, among other things, I'm a personal trainer in Abu Dhabi and have amazing clients from the four corners of the world, quite literally. The widely cosmopolitan group of people I work with means I take the opportunity to learn a huge amount from those that I train: about the world, culture and life experiences. I like to think they, in equal part, learn from me too as we crunch, lunge and treadmill the hours away. To give you an idea, a good friend and client of mine was born in Singapore, raised in Bahrain, went to school in the UK and lives here in Abu Dhabi with her young family. A true woman of a globalized world. Only in the sunny Emirates is such diversity really possible. Having spent the first 30 years of my life in my small hometown it is hard not to be fascinated and inspired by these people; their stories and experiences. I think this is why travel has become such an enriching and important part of my life.
My trip down this exercise memory lane got me thinking: Has it all really changed that much? Are we now really just re-branding variations of what used to be called aerobics and circuits by now calling them Zumba, boot camps and cross-fit? Whatever the answer, I thought you might find some benefit from my 20-odd year relationship with exercise by me sharing some tips with you.
So get your Walkman or Discman ready and try my 90s inspired routine. All you need is 15 minutes and a timer (use your phone). This type of workout is currently doing the rounds as “HIIT” (high intensity interval training) and I suspect it will re-emerge with a new name sometime in the next 5 years.
1 minute high knees 30 seconds rest 1 minute squats 30 seconds rest 1 minute jumping jacks 30 seconds rest 1 minute alternate lunges 30 seconds rest 1 minute abs 30 seconds rest
You can do this sort of routine anywhere – your bedroom, living room or a hotel room. You don't need a gym and you don't need any equipment. All you really need is a little motivation and 15-20 minutes. That's it. Set your alarm 20 minutes earlier tomorrow, blast 4 of your favourite songs (they need not be from the nineties or noughties) and before you know it, you’re done. Try it, every-day for a week. Let me know how you get on.
For me it’s about sustainability. It’s about lifestyle. It is not about fads. It’s about everything in moderation. Small positive steps towards living a healthy lifestyle. This doesn’t mean mixing powders, squatting with 60kg and eating your meals out of little Tupperwear containers into which you have carefully packed meals prepared for a week. That is simply not realistic in my opinion unless you're a (semi) fitness professional. Balance and consistency in your exercise and diet (and a little discipline) will yield a healthy sustainable lifestyle.
I've also added a video of this little workout on Instagram. Check it out at PIPERRYAN.