Breeding works hard during a high-intensity interval
training class on July 22, 2013, in Lexington, Kentucky.
High-intensity workouts are a national trend with the
idea of fast-paced, short workouts which focus
specifically on different muscles.
Ky. — The 15 women and one man are all steadily focused on
the task at hand: survival.
— high-intensity training — class at FIT Studio in
Lexington, Ky., is part of a national exercise trend.
the idea of extreme fitness has been around for several years,
it’s recently come into more public view. Even the most
slacking couch jockey is aware of the movement thanks to a
seemingly never-ending techno beat of late-night commercials
touting DVDs for such intense works outs as P90X and Insanity.
P90X, which a promotional website describes as
"sweat-inducing, muscle-pumping exercises designed to
transform your body from regular to ripped," includes a
12-disc program and nutrition advice. The Insanity program is
described at its home page, BeachBody.com, as "the world’s
most insanely tough work out." Submit a before and after
picture to the company and you get a free "Insanity"
programs work on the same general principle, said Angie Green,
a certified trainer for Beach Body, the company behind the
is that extremely intense, short workouts focus specifically
on different muscles for several minutes followed by a shorter
good, good, that stays up, that stays up," said FIT
Studio instructor Allison Perry. Members of the HIT class at
FIT launch, in one fluid move, from a low lunge to a high
kick, then back down slapping one hand on the ground.
pleasure at their progress is fleeting. She soon issues
another challenge: "How far back can you lunge?"
are no groans, only measured breathing and thwack of palms on
plastic as they push through.
taken a lot of classes, I’ve run in a mini-marathon, and HIT
is probably the hardest class I have ever been to," said
Allison Justice. A school psychologist, she is taking classes
at three gyms and is also running. But, initially, she swore
she wouldn’t take a second HIT class. So did nearly everyone
the first one we were all like, ‘I am never going to do that
again,’" she said. "But when you leave and you
think, ‘I have just made it through the hardest hour of my
life,’ you feel really good about it and you want to go back
and try it again."
pull toward the short-lived torture?
can start seeing changes in your body," she said. She’s
lost 30 pound since the spring.
class moves on, even the most hard-core falter slightly. Cold
rags are fetched from the lobby, and at least one
squeamish-looking HIT-ter makes a quick visit to the restroom.
don’t stop. Not even after Perry demonstrates near the end
of the class a move she calls the Spider-man crawl, which
basically involves mimicking the way Spider-man’s body moves
up a wall without the help of the wall.
on the faces of the women, even Justice, who cheerfully
grinned pretty much the whole time until now, is just a
flicker of disbelief at what Perry is asking.
fitness is no joke," said Green, the trainer of trainers
who stresses modified ways to do the same move to match
various fitness levels. "You have to learn to listen to
your body and go at your own pace," she said.
who has underlying health conditions such as diabetes or high
blood pressure should check with a physician before attempting
any strenuous work out effort, said Dr. Scott Black, medical
director of employee health work with sports medicine. And
even if you were once an awesome athlete, if you have been out
of the game for 20 years, "don’t jump into a super
intense work out," he said.
runner himself, said people need to think about what they want
to achieve from an exercise routine. These are not
one-size-fit-all programs. And, he said, if you start
exercising after a long absence, a monitored or organized
program might be better than sweating alone in your basement
to a DVD.
said she always encourages newcomers to come to class with a
friend and introduce themselves to the instructor so they can
help modify exercises to suit their fitness levels.
training, he said, can raise the risk of injury, so people
need to pay attention to their limits. Strains and sprains are
the most common injuries, he said, but muscle soreness the
next day is almost guaranteed. He said the American College of
Sports Medicine, (acsm.org) is a good source of information on
Dryden said she has been exercising a long time.
High-intensity training "really pushes my endurance and
everything I am used to doing.
is a challenge and that’s what I like about it," she
I get close to throwing up — and I did in this class — I
just stop and take a breath and get a drink of water and calm
down," she said. "So far I haven’t seen anybody
throw up yet."
not exactly a love/hate relationship she has with the program,
but, "This one I have to psych myself up to do," she
said. "I really, really have to psych myself up."
on when to see a doctor before beginning an exercise routine
see a fact sheet from the American College of Sports Medicine