Tracking Your Progress with HIIT Workouts (+Printable Chart)

bob-harper-blackfire-reviewHey guys! As you might guess from these late-night posts, this post-MDW week has been a bit hectic for me. That’s what happens when you decide to extend an already long weekend well into Tuesday afternoon. Whoopsies! 🙂

But I’m really excited about this post, so better late than never. For the past few weeks, I’ve been able to play around with Bob Harper’s new Black Fire program on DailyBurn and it’s gotten me back into using rep tracking to add a little competition to my interval training workouts. I used to religiously keep track of the reps I got during each interval of HIIT workouts so that when I did them again a few weeks later I would push myself harder to beat my previous performance. It was a great way to hold myself accountable when working out alone at home. But with teaching and taking group fitness classes now in addition to my at-home workouts, I’ve kinda let that habit fall to the wayside.

Black Fire has reminded me what a great tool it is, so I thought it’d be fun to put together a simple printout you can use to track your progress with HIIT workouts. I have a TON on the site (see these pages: tabata workouts & interval workouts), but you could apply this scoring method to any timed interval-based routine. Let’s start with a little about Black Fire and then I’ll talk more about tracking progress.

DailyBurn’s Black Fire Program from Bob Harper

dailyburn-black-fire-screen-shotI knew I would like Black Fire before I was even asked to test it because I am quite literally in love with Bob Harper. No, but really.

It’s a 60-day program that includes workouts, guided rest days (yoga, SMR, etc.) and nutritional guidance. If you closely follow Bob like I do (I like to walk the fine line between fangirl and stalker…) you know that he loves CrossFit, and you can definitely see its influence in the Black Fire workouts. I didn’t follow the 60-day program, but tried the workouts and they are LEGIT. Very challenging, but I’d say most are also scalable for beginners.

The videos are easy to follow, and fun. You feel like you’re actually working out with Bob and the others and competing against them. The workouts use lots of functional movements like burpees, bodyweight exercises, box jumps, plyometrics, etc. and are all about 20 minutes long. In addition to a good ass kicking, I even got a couple ideas for new exercises to add to my group fitness classes and blog posts (love that!).

Tracking Your Progress by Scoring HIIT Workouts

HIIT Workout Progress Chart (printable)

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD PDF

What made the Black Fire workouts the most fun for me was the scoring aspect. It’s not required, but works as awesome motivation to push yourself. For each exercise, you write down the number of reps you complete each interval. You take your lowest number from the intervals as your score for that exercise. At the end of the workout, you add up your lowest number from each exercise and that’s your score for the total workout. Next time you do it, you try to beat that number.

For example, let’s say we’re doing a tabata workout (8 rounds of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest for each exercise) made up of squats, push ups, v-ups and burpees. During each of the eight 20-seconds rounds of squats, count how many you complete. Your lowest (“worst”) round is the round that counts towards your score. Do that for each exercise and then add them up.

You can apply this scoring method to any sort of interval workout, so I made myself up a simple chart to track my progress with the P&I workouts I post. As you can see, it’s something you could easily make yourself on your computer or in a notebook, but I included a download so that you can also print this one off. If you workout alone at home, competing against yourself in this way is the perfect way to stay on track and motivated! dailyburn-black-fire-bob-harper

Have you guys used DailyBurn before? If so, have you tried Black Fire?

How do you track your progress with workouts?

DailyBurn.com is a leading online health and fitness brand, delivering first-class video workout programs and personalized nutrition plans to ensure that members reach their fitness goals. DailyBurn brings fitness and nutrition to members, anytime, anywhere, by streaming HD-quality workouts in a variety of disciplines from dance and high-intensity cardio to yoga, kettlebells and strength training. Unlimited access to DailyBurn’s plans is only $12.95 a month. For more information, visit http://www.dailyburn.com. You can also follow them on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

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This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of DailyBurn. As always, all opinions are my own.

4-Minute Tabata HIIT Workout from The Fitnessista

4-Minute Tabata HIIT Workout from The FitnessistaTHREE workout posts in one week?? It’s still New Year’s resolution month, so I figured the added motivation would be welcome. 🙂

Today’s workout comes to you via my lovely friend Gina from The Fitnessista. I was really excited to check out her new book, HIIT It!, because—as you’ve probably noticed by now—I love high intensity interval training. The book is great, especially if you’re a beginner. In it, Gina doesn’t just give you a proverbial filet of cod, she really teaches you how to fish. Starting with the basics, she goes over major muscle groups, what HIIT is and why it’s effective. She then shows you how to apply it to cardio workouts as well as strength training, and gives tons of sample workouts and weekly workout plans. HIIT It! by Gina Harney

The tabata I’m sharing today is actually one part of a full sample workout in the book: warm-up with cardio, a full-body strength training circuit, this tabata, and then a cool down. Yesterday I had a ridiculously busy blogging and teaching day and knew I wasn’t going to make it to a fitness class, so I decided to instead slip this 4-minute HIIT workout in a few times throughout the day to give me a break from the computer. It was perfect! I ended up doing it four times throughout the workday, so even though I didn’t get a long workout in, I still felt good. That’s the whole idea behind HIIT—you don’t have to workout longer, just smarter.

Before we get to the tabata, I just wanted to add that HIIT It! also has a great index of exercises with written descriptions and accompanying pictures. Ya know, like professional photos—not this: blooper-23

(Couldn’t resist posting another blooper from yesterday’s blog post—they’re just too awesomely awkward. Butterfingers!) The book then ends with a whole section on nutrition with lots of yummy recipes.

4-Minute Tabata HIIT Workout

Set an interval timer for 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. You’ll go through the following four exercises twice. To clarify, that’s: 20 seconds of as many high knees as you can do; 10 seconds rest; 20 seconds of as many burpees as you can do; 10 seconds rest…and so on.

4-Minute Tabata HIIT Workout

  • High Knees: Use your core to jog in place, lifting each knee up to belly button height. I like to keep my hands in front of me and drive the knees up to hit them to hold myself accountable for really getting them high.
  • Burpees: Start standing, feet about shoulder-width apart. Squat down, bringing your hands to the ground by your feet and jump both feet back into a plank position. Do a push up. Quickly jump your feet back up by your hands and shift the weight into your feet, bring torso upright into a low squat position. From here, jump up, arms overhead. Land softly on your feet, sinking right back down into a squat and starting from the top.
  • Mountain Climbers: These are like doing high knees in a plank position. Start in a plank, hands stacked underneath shoulders, core squeezing in tight (don’t let your low back sag or your butt stick up in the air). From this position, drive one knee at a time up towards your chest, like running horizontally. The pace on these should be quick.
  • Squat Jumps with Rotation: Perform a squat facing one side. As you power up, jump and rotate 180 degrees so that you land facing the opposite direction, sinking right back down into a squat and repeating. Make sure you’re turning towards the opposite shoulder each time you rotate so that the legs are worked evenly.

This is an intense tabata—each exercise really gets your heart rate up! Use it as part of a longer workout or on its own when you’re having one of those super busy days.

classpass-50

Before I end this post, I just wanted to let you guys know of an awesome promotion ClassPass is running right now. If you’ve been on the fence about trying it, now (until Sunday evening) when you sign up using THIS LINK you’ll get a $50 Visa gift card. I use ClassPass and LOVE it. For $99/month (in some cities, it’s even less expensive) you can go to classes at a huge variety of fitness studios. You can go to each studio up to three times in a month, with the total number of classes across the board unlimited (it might not be unlimited forever, but I’m pretty sure it is until at least March). When I first started using ClassPass, it was only in New York and Boston, but now it’s in 20 cities!

Full disclosure, as part of this promotion they’re running, I would also get a $50 gift card if you sign up, so there is some selfish motivation behind this (:)), but I use CP myself and recommend it to all my fitness-loving friends, so the hype is 100% genuine. And, c’mon, you get $50, too—I gotta share the love!

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3 Yoga DVDs I’ve Been Loving Lately (Plus a Giveaway!)

3 Yoga DVDs I've Been Loving LatelyAs I’ve mentioned before, one of my goals this year is to regularly practice yoga. I’m definitely going to start checking out classes around Boston (a bunch of you recommended SASY), but before I embarrass myself in front of a class of people, I figured I’d work out some of the newbie awkwardness at home. 🙂

The following three yoga DVDs have been so perfect for achieving this goal. They’re all challenging, but easy to follow along at home—which is crucial. I’ve tried yoga DVDs in the past where I am twisted in some pose trying to crank my next in an impossible direction to see what the heck the instructor is talking about, and it totally ruins the workout.

There are portions of all three DVDs that I had to modify, so I’d say these are great for beginners, as well as more advanced yogis looking for the option of working out at home. I was given all three for free (blogging perk!), but would honestly buy them anyway—I’ve gotten a ton of use out of them these past couple months. If you’re in the market for a new yoga DVD, I’d definitely recommend these three and—lucky you!—I’m even giving away a copy of Sweat below!

Sweat from Yoga by Candace

Sweat Yoga by Candace DVD

This 60-minute yoga routine includes a power Vinyasa flow, balancing series, some core work, and a relaxing cool down. For someone like me, who is generally athletic but new to yoga, it strikes a perfect balance—I felt challenged, but not discouraged. I like the pace, and Candace includes modifications throughout the workout so that you can choose to stay in a certain pose or advance it. I can’t advance most of the moves just yet, but like knowing what I can work towards (Dancer’s Pose, I’m coming for you!).

The first time I tried Sweat, I felt sore the next day in totally unexpected places, which was so motivating in keeping me on track with this whole yoga goal. It proves the importance of varying your workout routines—different practices challenge your body in new ways. For me, even if a yoga routine isn’t rigorous by yogi standards, it’s something my body hasn’t been used to doing, and therefore its effects will really be felt. Love it!

Candace has offered to give one of you luckies a copy of the Sweat DVD as well as an accompanying poster that illustrates some of the core yoga poses (helpful for newbies like me!). To enter, use the widget below to ‘like’ Yoga by Candace on Facebook. After you do so, you’ll unlock some additional entries (totally optional). Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’ll draw a winner on Friday and notify her/him by email. Open to everyone worldwide!

ZCUT Power Yoga Series 2 from Zuzka Light

ZCUT Yoga DVD 2 Zuzka LightIf you’re familiar with Zuzana Light, you know she’s the queen of super short, but insanely intense workouts. Her yoga DVD follows suit, broken up into a warm up, several mini yoga workouts, and a cool down. You can play all of them in a row for a 60(ish)-minute workout, or you can warm up, pick and choose a couple workouts, and then cool down. It’s a great option if you don’t have an hour and just want to get in a quick yoga session.

I’ve been doing the whole DVD each time, and love the way it blends yoga with elements of a trademark Zuzka workout (burpees, jump lunges, spider pushups, etc.). It’s a break from traditional yoga, and a good option if you want to spice up your yoga routine.

The Skinny Rules: Yoga from Bob Harper

The Skinny Rules Yoga DVD by Bob HarperYou had me at “Bob.” Love that man.

This DVD is broken up into two 30-minute yoga routines. On days when I know I’m going to do another workout later on, I like starting my morning with one of these. They’re challenging, but quick, and include tons of variations and modifications so that you can follow along regardless of your level. Throughout the whole DVD, you really feel like you have a trainer in the room with you. Bob constantly is telling you what to focus on and pointing out proper form, and I love how he refers to the people doing the workout as his “athletes.” I’m not into the relaxing, meditative side of yoga, so this really resonates with me.

I personally think Workout 2 is a little harder than Workout 1, but really enjoy the entire DVD.

Yoga DVDs to Try

Have you tried any of these yoga DVDs? Do you have another you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments!

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