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Things Your GRIT Coach wants you to know

Updated: Aug 4


...or any 'HIIT' coach on that note.


HIIT; /hɪt/

noun

short for high-intensity interval training.


GRIT Series is Les Mills' programme based on this HIIT concept.

I've linked a short video to some of the research findings behind HIIT. As a GRIT Coach you learn about these training principles but this glossy video from the LM Lab is much more attractive than ol' black & white:

(Source)


Here are some things you oughta know.

  1. HIIT is hard, and it's supposed to be

  2. It doesn't stop being hard, you just become more acquainted with your limits and more confident in challenging them

  3. Avoid comparing yourself to others

  4. Ask your coach for help/tips

  5. The 'after HIIT' feeling is great

  6. It is one of the best ways to get fit, fast (see above video)

  7. BUT: It only works if you try your best

  8. There are three kinds of GRIT class; one is not better than the others, and each has a different focus

In traditional form, I'm obviously going to start with the last point first.

The three disciplines of GRIT are Cardio, Strength and Athletic. All classes will be approx 30 minutes and each release tend to have common formats across all three.

On online forums I often see people ask questions like;

  • 'Are they all just the same?'

  • 'Which GRIT burns more calories?'

  • 'Which GRIT is the hardest'?

So;

  • GRIT Cardio consists of bodyweight moves and the focus is on moving with speed. GRIT Strength uses barbell and weight plate moves as well as bodyweight, and the focus is on the load & range of movement. GRIT Athletic (formerly 'Plyo') is a blend of both of the above for an athletic conditioning effect; the format of the Athletic block will vary between releases. You'll likely use a step/ bench as well. The focus is typically 'explosiveness' so the plyometric element is usually a key feature.

  • Whichever one you work hardest on. Each format is designed to make you work in your 'peak zone' so if, in GRIT Strength, you're slowing down or not moving in full range, you maybe need to revisit your weight selection. If in GRIT Cardio you only manage a couple of reps of an exercise before sitting the rest of the block out in despair, try an 'option' or modification so you're working to your maximum for longer. Everyone will be different.

  • Whichever one challenges you the most. GRIT Strength has the added challenge with weights, so some people may say that one. Some people may struggle to keep up with the pace of GRIT Cardio, some people may not like the propulsion or plyometric aspects of GRIT Athletic. Everyone will be different.


I covered off Point 1 earlier.. but I want to discuss Point 2 a little bit: HIIT doesn't stop being hard.

Nope, it definitely doesn't get easier.

"So how on earth am I supposed to get better at it?"

Think of it like this. You might be relatively new to exercise or this style of training.. you've been asked to perform high-intensity, often plyometric (jumpy jumps), movements. You will feel overwhelmed. So when I say you become more acquainted with your limits, I basically mean you develop confidence in knowing how far you can push yourself without throwing-up or passing out. At the end of the day this is probably what we fear the most right? Either suffering a traumatic outcome, or making a tit of ourselves in a class. So once you've done HIIT a few times, you'll increase your capacity to do a bit more, thus feeling more confident to challenge your limits.

I did my first HIIT class (Metafit) at the tender age of ~19/20. I remember feeling a tad nauseous and a sense of shock seeing everyone else blasting through the workout.. What on earth....... Persevere.


As above, if you've been doing HIIT and not 'sold' with it, try not to over-analyze the situation..

The format is designed to have you operate at 100% for as long as you can, then you pull back the pace or take options when you need to. The issue is that a lot of people feel they can't operate at 100% for very long, maybe even just one or two reps, which in their mind equals failure. With HIIT, that's kind of the point though. Next time, you will have developed confidence to add one more rep, or a couple of seconds more. Hence it never gets easier - you just become more tenacious.


Likewise, your 100% will look different to someone else's 100%. It's healthy to set a little bit of internal 'competition', use someone else in the room as a pace setter. This is what I do. But - try not to put yourself down based on what other people can do. What can you do? That's what you should be focusing on. It's cliche AF but everyone else had to start somewhere too - and despite what others look like from the outside, they're probably going through the same turmoil as you!


Asking for help is also allowed y'know. In fact it's very much welcomed.

As a coach, the last thing we want to see is one or two participants looking helpless, not knowing how to do something or not feeling confident enough to try it.

99% of the time there are options to regress or progress and keep going so that the challenge stays applicable to you. But, at the start or end of class, let your coach know about any specific things you are unable to do right now and they'll make sure you are still getting the most from your workout.

Remember, can't is not in a GRIT coach's vocabulary. I can't do donkey kicks .. okay, but we can help you try, or you can take an option. Don't harness the power of can't to fritter away precious reps. At the end of the day, the progress won't come if can't stands between you and the workout. I don't feel ready to try that, what can I do instead of donkey kicks today, coach?

(*PS: if you're interested I already did a #LFBtuesdaytip on Donkey Kicks!)


Some people will be avid Group Ex participants, feeling like they could smash any BODYPUMP workout and know all the BODYCOMBAT combos, but when it comes to GRIT it's like all of a sudden you're back at square one. It's fast-paced, it's not choreographed to the music like other programmes, everyone's going at different times, the instructor moves around the room, and where is that timer coming from?! (it'll haunt your dreams).

It's no longer you that's clearly *the best* participant in the room. It's a plain and simple test of fitness and effort, and it can leave you feeling kinda exposed. Sound familiar, maybe a wee bit? I felt like that at first. It's a little different, so be patient with yourself and be open to change & challenge.


I repeat: everyone's high-intensity looks different. But, all of the amazing scientific #wins of HIIT won't come to fruition if your effort isn't sustained. Go on, you can do it!!


At the end of the day, it's only 30 mins (or so) to accomplish great things.

At the end of the day, it is a cracking workout (and I for one love the tracklists).

At the end of the day, it's an exercise class. Go out and enjoy it!


If you wanna talk GRIT, find me on Instagram!

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