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Ditch your hour-long gym workouts – you can get better results in just half the time, according to the latest fitness trend GRIT

Work Out In Half The Time!

Work Out In Half The Time!

It sounds too good to be true, but you can get amazing results in the gym with a couple of high-intensity sessions a week, it seems. Long, moderate-intensity workouts are now out the window, thanks to a new breed of short, sharp, highintensity bouts of exercise

The latest arrival is GRIT, 30-minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes. ‘HIIT has been scientifically proven to provide better results than any other type of training, in much less time,’ says Tom Eastham, Fitness First’s Personal Trainer of the Year and GRIT trainer.

‘You alternate between bursts of fast and slow exercise, or high and low intensity, taking your heart rate up to more than 75 per cent (your anaerobic zone), before having a short rest period and letting your body recover.’

Proven Results

And it works. A recent Canadian study found that doing 10, one-minute sprints on a standard stationary bike with a one-minute rest in between, three times a week, worked just as well in improving fitness as hours of conventional long-term moderate biking did, while also reducing risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes

But HIIT is a challenge – you need willpower – which is where group classes such as GRIT come in. ‘It’s very hard to push yourself to those limits on your own,’ says Eastham. Sessions are just 30 minutes long and, because you’re in a small group, you get lots of encouragement and attention from the instructor, helping you to safely push your body out of its comfort zone. ‘You may feel sick and your muscles may burn like crazy, but that’s because you’re pushing your body’s cardiovascular and metabolic systems to the limit,’ he says. The ‘no pain, no gain’ principle is back!

The Grit Factor

GRIT workouts are from the creators of BodyPump and BodyCombat. There are three GRIT classes that work your body in different ways, and they’re designed for you to do once or twice a week as part of your training regime.

GRIT Strength uses barbells, plates and a bench to help build and tone muscle and boost your metabolism. GRIT Plyo uses the principles of plyometrics (explosive jumping exercises) to build power, increase speed, leg strength and agility. It also increases muscular endurance, helping your stamina. GRIT Cardio uses your own bodyweight and high-impact exercises for maximum calorie burn.

Not only will these 30-minute sessions boost your fitness levels, they’ll also strip fat, even after your workout has finished, because they increase your lean muscle mass and rev up your metabolism. Research shows that HIIT allows you to continue burning calories for up to 72 hours postworkout. Research on GRIT participants found their levels of triglycerides (a type of blood fat) fell by 15 per cent in six weeks of training with just two classes per week – indicating that they pushed their metabolism into overdrive. They also increased their strength and reduced their overall body fat by eight per cent.

GRIT may be intense, but the classes are designed to suit all levels. ‘If you’re starting from a more basic level of fitness, don’t worry,’ says Eastham. ‘There are options to adapt each move, and you’re there to push yourself to your own level of fitness. Although you should be working as hard as you can, the key is to listen to your body and do what pushes you personally to the edge. It’s the only way you can get results, plus if you’re expecting to cut your exercise down to 30 minutes and still get results, you need to give it your all!’

Give it a go!

To get an idea of what a GRIT workout feels like, here’s one exercise from each of the three classes

Strength

Squat with forward raise

Benefits: A compound exercise for your upper and lower body that builds muscle and raises your heart rate.

Time: 45 seconds, followed by a 45-second rest

Sets: 3

How to do it: Stand with your arms at your sides, feet shoulderwidth apart, weight on your heels and a dumbbell in each hand (a). Sit back and down (as if a chair is behind you) while raising the weights out in front of you. Keep your palms facing down and your back extended and straight (b). Finally, return to standing and lower the weights.

(a)

(a)

(b)

(b)

Plyo

Sumo Plyo squat

Benefits: Boosts metabolism.

Time: 45 seconds, followed by a 60-second rest

Sets: 3

How to do it: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands by your sides (a). Lower into a squat, keeping your knees behind your toes (b). Explode up off the ground, jumping as high as you can (c), then land on the step in a sumo squat, feet wide and turned out 45o (d). Jump back to standing.

(a)

(a)

(b)

(b)

( c)

(c)

(d)

(d)

Cardio

Squat with overhead press and jump

Benefits: A whole-body move to blast heart rate and metabolism.

Reps: 45 seconds, followed by a 60-second rest

Sets: 3

How to do it: Stand in front of a step, with your feet shoulder-width apart, weight in your heels and holding a weight plate at chest level (a). Keeping good form and maintaining control, lower into a squat, bringing your elbows close to your thighs (b). From here, extend back up to standing, as you press the weight overhead (c). Lower the weight back to chest level, as you bend your knees and lower into a half-squat position (d), then jump up (e) and onto the bench, landing softly on the balls of both feet (f).

(a) – (b) – (c)

(a) – (b) – (c)

 
(d) – (e) – (f)

(d) – (e) – (f)

 

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