Sport & Rec Blog: What I learned from the Big HIIT workout - and why you should do it, too

Woman working out at home (photo by Jonathan Borba at Unsplash)

Every week, U of T English major and intramural athlete Emma Paidra will explore the programs and services offered by U of T's Sport & Rec program and share her experiences for all to enjoy - and find inspiration. This week, Emma shares her impressions of the online Big HIIT workout.

“40 seconds of split jumps folks, starting…now!” instructs the U of T Sport & Rec coach. 

Alrighty, I think as I begin the first exercise of the online HIIT workout class I’m attending…but my dog is not having it. In fact, he is barking aggressively as I jump—which I am doing delicately since my landlord lives below me. So, suffice it to say, working out from home does not provide the relatively distraction-free environment of a gym.

But, as of October 9th—when the Ontario government announced that Toronto would roll back to a modified stage 2—gyms are no longer an option. While working out from home may not be everyone’s first choice, U of T Sport & Rec. has quickly adapted, providing students with a way to navigate the daunting task of an at-home-workout. The 10 AM class I attended on Thursday is a great example of how to overcome being deprived of the gym. While a common complaint I hear about at-home workouts is the lack of equipment, this HIIT class hammered home a point I have long been trying to make to those lamenting the absence of squat racks, dumbbells etc.—your body is a weight!

To anyone learning how to best use their bodyweight for exercise, I highly recommend checking out this Sport & Rec HIIT class! While the class did occasionally make use of weights, the coach made another shockingly simple point that is often overlooked: everything weighs something. You don’t need weights to add external load. Sure, extra creativity is warranted without dumbbells available… but hey, who ever said using your microwave (or a cat, guitar, or anything else lying around) as a weight wouldn’t get the job done, too?

Beyond being an energizing way to start the day, taking part in this HIIT class was a great lesson in resourcefulness. You don’t need any equipment or specific environment to push yourself. In fact, I would argue that once all the embellishments of a gym are stripped away, the choice to workout from home is an important reminder of why a person chooses to exercise at all. The answer will be different for everyone, but as far as I am concerned, at-home-workouts are a chance to refocus. After all, while standing in my living room Thursday morning—holding a detergent bottle as a weight— I couldn’t help but ask myself: Why am I doing this?

When we find a way to answer this question, we learn a little bit more about ourselves…or at least, that’s what I’ve uncovered. So, if you’re looking to get to know yourself and your limits a bit better, come out to the Sport & Rec HIIT class! If I was wrong about that whole introspection thing, you’ll at least appreciate the bangin’ HIIT workout playlist.