10 quick Q & As to show you that anyone can do this and how to get started:
- Do I need to start at the beginning?
It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or have been doing HIIT workouts for years, we all do the workout of the day (WOD). If it is your first time, you are going to be doing it slower than the more advanced athletes. So it doesn’t matter what the WOD is, the progression comes from you as you become stronger and faster. Don’t worry about all the WODs you’ve missed, they cycle back through about every 6 months and then you will really see how much you have improved, as long as you have been posting your times! 🙂
No matter the workout, anyone can do it, anyone can finish any WOD on their first day, it will just take longer. The key is to be determined to complete it. Push through to the end, even if you have to take small breaks, just don’t give up. Don’t ever allow yourself to not finish. Your times will get faster, you will get stronger, and your endurance will skyrocket. If it is your first workout back after having a baby, if you are brand new to HIIT Mamas, if you missed a week….just do today’s WOD!
- What equipment do I need?
One of the best things about these workouts is being able to do them in the comfort of your own home for free. The only expense is gathering your equipment to get started. Here is what you need and the best places to get them:
-10 lb dumbbells
-20 lb kettle bell
– high speed jump rope
– pull-up bar- removable is fine
– 10 lb weight ball
– 18 inch box
– bar with free weights
- How do I learn the exercises?
The form on most of these exercises is fairy simple and easy to learn but form is very important. Proper form helps us to be able to get the most out of each movement without injury. There are a plethora of video demos for each exercise we do on YouTube. Watch the demo and learn the proper form. Once you do a proper box jump or clean a few times, you will remember the form and it will become more automatic for you. For the Olympic weightlifting terminology: deadlift, clean, snatch, this is how I remember…
Deadlift = lifting a dead guy from the ground to standing
Clean = clean something from the ground to your shoulders
Snatch = snatch something from the ground to the sky
- Why should I post my times?
There are several good reasons to post your time on each WOD.
- It is the easiest way to track your progress, as I link the last time we did each WOD to the current one so you can go back and see how long it took you last time you did it. For me, sometimes knowing that previous time pushes me to beat it this time. It is a benchmark. If you don’t comment with your time, no tracking, less motivation.
- Others who are doing the WOD have a sort of baseline to aim for. Sometimes when I am getting ready to do the WOD, I will check the comments so I can get a general idea of how long it will take me and plan accordingly. Sometimes I will look at the best time posted and set that as a goal but we need to keep in mind that everyone does each movement slightly differently. One Mama might do her box jumps fast without a full extension at the top (more of a half box jump) or another Mama might only go to 90 degrees for her squats, they might have gone lighter with their weights or been on their knees for push-ups. These are all factors that will dramatically change someone’s time so avoid comparing your time to others. I rarely have the best time but it doesn’t’ bother me at all. This is a competition between you and yourself only. Do your best and then improve on your own time.
- When we leave our times, we are interacting with each other. It creates a community of women with similar goals and we are able to cheer each other on and encourage one another. The camaraderie between Mamas is a wonderful thing to be a part of and participate in.
- When you leave a comment, it lets me know that you are out there and it spurs me on to continue doing what I do for all of you!
- Lastly, it keeps you accountable. For me, if I don’t post my time, it is as if I never did it. It is my proof, written on the wall! If I don’t post my time for a while, Mamas start asking if I am ok and I love that.
- Do you do any kind of warm up or cool down?
To be honest, I don’t. When there is running involved, I stretch extensively, which is probably a good idea before any WOD…. but I am a busy Mom and I just turn on the music, turn on my timer, and get ‘er done. When I am done, my cool down is lying flat on my back on the ground and panting until I can breath again. 🙂
- How do you figure out your distances for running?
I use the MapMyRun app to track my distances. It has great features like being able to switch between metric and imperial for miles or meters, voice feedback to let you know your pace, time and distance while you are running, options for the type of exercise you are doing; running or interval training, saves your maps and different routes, you can connect with other users, play music, and much more. It is a free app and it is the best one I have found for what we do. I have been doing this long enough that now I know that the court in front of my house is exactly 300 meters, my street loop is 400 meters, my block if I run the inside sidewalk is 900 meters and outside sidewalk is 1100, I have a mile loop, 3 mile loop and 6 mile loop. It makes things a lot easier.
- I am worried I am going to look manly.
This is a common misconception. Women worry that if they lift weights, they will look like a female body builder….which is not what most of us are aiming for. The good news is that none of the exercises we do will make you look manly. Don’t be afraid to lift “heavy” weights, and by heavy, I mean how ever much you can handle. The bigger your muscles get, the more fat you will burn even when you are lounging on the couch watching Grey’s Anatomy. I have been doing these workouts for almost 6 years and I have gradually increased my weights over the years (I am up to about 45 lbs overhead and 90 lbs for deadlift) and I have yet to look anything like a man. (wink)
- I have heard that these high-intensity, fast paced workouts cause a lot of injury?
Injuries occur when weight lifting is done without proper form. If you are going so fast that you are losing form, then you are putting yourself at risk for injury. Yes, these are timed workouts that are meant to be done as quickly as you can, but not at the cost of losing form. It is more important to lift with proper form that it is to have a faster time. You will still have the same great results but without the injuries that can keep you from your goals.
- Is the WOD the ONLY thing you do for exercise, even when it is only 4 minutes!?
The answer for me, is yes. I love it when it is only a 4 minute WOD and I don’t stress about it because I still feel like it was a 4 minute BEATING and I know that tomorrow could be a 20 or 40 minute beating so it evens out. Our bodies need change, variety, variation, and unpredictability to get the most from the workouts. The variety results in the most amount of change in our muscles the quickest. When I started, I was already at a weight that I was happy with and wanted to be fitter, toned, tight, fast and look HOT! So just the WOD alone is working for me. If you have some weight to lose, you can add in a run after the WOD to burn some extra calories. Try not to do anything before the WOD because it will affect your times and make it harder to gauge your progress.
- How should I modify if I am pregnant or post partem?
If you are doing the WODs while pregnant, there are a few things to be careful of. No heavy lifting, slow down and concentrate on form, not time or speed. You should be able to breath and talk while working out to make sure the baby is getting adequate oxygen. No sit-ups after the first trimester because you need to stay off your back. And stay well hydrated.
And if you are post-partum (and have been cleared by your doctor) and have abdominal diastasis: Abdominal disatisis is a separation of the median abdominal muscles during pregnancy. This is very common and in some cases, they will come back together after pregnancy and heal properly. It is very common for them to stay separated though and there are things you can do that will make the condition better or worse. The first weeks after delivery are the most critical but anyone can do things to improve their diastasis no matter how far post-partum you are. Check out this site for a ton of information, including how to determine if you have abdominal diastasis and video demos of exercises you can do to improve the separation. The main things to avoid until the separation is closed are: any abdominal exercise that push your abs outward like sit-ups and any twisting exercise. The exercises that help are ones that draw your abs in and back towards your spine, like planks, wall exercise, and anything that draws your abs in. Once your abs have closed back up, you can resume all abdominal exercises but check with your Dr. first.