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Going for a nice easy run, or so I thought. Diary of a CK Elite Client

Diary of a CK Elite Client: Part 4

We asked one of our new clients to document their experience with CK Elite

This week, Chris explained that we were going to do something a little different—and compared to last week’s boxing and bear crawls, it seemed like we were going to do something that, on paper at least, sounded easy enough. We were going to go for a run.

Initially (and, yes, a bit naïvely) my first thought was that this session might play right into my hands. I’m not a bad runner all things considered, and running is about the one exercise that I can convince myself I actually enjoy. Things got off to a promising start too, when after a five minute jog down to a local park Chris and I stopped for a quick rest and I realised that I wasn’t as out of breath as I might once have been. But I should have known better—the jog down to the park was just the start.

It was time for some HIIT training. I didn’t know much about HIIT, but I did know that at least one of those letter I’s stood for “intense”; my confidence that this session was going to be a breeze suddenly started to evaporate.

Using the lampposts alongside one of the paths in the park as a guide, Chris explained we were going to sprint as fast as possible to one, then turn and jog back to the start. Next, without a break, we were to sprint as fast as possible to the second and then jog back to the start. Then would come the third, and lastly the fourth—roughly 80 metres from the starting line—at which point we’d have a quick rest, before doing the same thing again in reverse.

On paper, it was just a lot of running. In practise, it was a LOT of running.

Admittedly the first few sprints weren’t too bad, but by the third and fourth my legs and lungs were starting to give out, and the ever-longer distances between the lampposts were becoming harder and harder to complete. Halfway through the set we had a two-minute breather, during which Chris asked when the last time I’d actually sprinted anywhere was. I remembered running for a bus a few years back. Before that, my last sprint was in my final year of school, a decade and a half ago. That, Chris pointed out, was why this was so hard.

The quick-acting muscles that get you sprinting, Chris explained, are different from the stamina-pushing muscles you use when running or jogging. By switching between sprinting and jogging in the HIIT session, I was pushing my body in ways it hadn’t been pushed in a decade and a half—and, more importantly, getting my heart rate higher and burning more calories in a quarter-hour of exercise than I’d ever manage in an hour’s routine running on a treadmill. That’s why so many people, myself included, find that while running gets them fit, it isn’t long before the plateau and stop making the kind of progress they once did.

As always, knowing the reasoning behind each exercise helped enormously, and having Chris there to explain it so clearly and enthusiastically helped motivate me through the next set of sprints.

By the jog back to the gym at the end of the session, I was exhausted—but this was the first time in a long while that I’d been on a run where my breathing had held me back, not my aching feet or legs. I’d done nothing more than run—albeit more intensely and more economically than I would in an hour’s jogging—but felt infinitely better for it.

I need to build two of these HIIT sessions into my weekly routine, Chris advised.

A better workout in a shorter amount of time? I’ll sign up to that.

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