High intensity interval Pilates is equal parts effective, efficient and good fun. We joined forces with rebel to champion real women fitness
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You know the old saying ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’? Well that certainly was the case when gyms across the country closed due to coronavirus earlier this year.
Working out, which for many of us felt like a bit of a chore, was suddenly a top priority, sitting right alongside baking banana bread, double tapping memes and attending Zoom trivia nights.
Not content with running laps of the backyard though, people were posting push-up challenges on Instagram and buying fitness equipment online faster than they could fill their trolley with toilet paper and hand sanitiser. I count myself guilty, treating myself to not one but two Nike UltraBreathe Bras from rebel.
Gyms and fitness studios pivoted quick smart when the pandemic hit too, offering live streamed workouts to members as well as subscriptions for those left stranded.
While online workouts did of course exist pre-pandemic, they predictably shot up in popularity. According to Mindbody data obtained by Forbes, there was a huge jump in consumers accessing virtual content since March 2020, with 73% of consumers using pre-recorded video versus 17% in 2019 and 85% using livestream classes weekly versus 7% in 2019.
You can see why fitness took off during isolation. After working from home saw most of us cut down on lengthy commute times and IRL socialising was firmly off the cards, we suddenly had plenty of spare hours to fill.
Working out is proven to reduce and cope with stress so many of us soon realised that sweating it out in the garage was an effective way to wind down from the heavy mental load we were shouldering.
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The workout which soared to the top of the pack? That would be high intensity interval Pilates, or HIIP for short.
Now, if you didn’t think Pilates counts as a high intensity workout, HIIP will certainly change your mind. Combining the calorie burn of high intensity interval training (better known as HIIT) with the slow and steady strengthening benefits of Pilates, it ticks off cardiovascular fitness, strength, core and coordination in one.
According to Bec Chidiac, co-owner of Sydney studio Peaches Pilates, the combination of traditional Pilates moves with cardio is the ticket to build fitness, fast.
“It’s circuit based and designed to increase your heart rate. Think Pilates moves mixed with those you’d do at a gym like squat jumps and burpees. The main difference with HIIP is that it’s about doing each move safely and not just jumping around hard and fast.”
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Perhaps what makes it most appealing though is that unlike other circuit styles of training, the only equipment required is your body weight and a soft surface. If you want to amp up the intensity however, Chidiac says you can do so with sliding discs, which help increase the difficulty of each move and accelerate your heart rate (FYI discs can be swapped for two shiny magazines if you’re working out on carpet, or thick socks if you’re on tiles or timber floors).
“A lot of the time with high intensity training you’re required to be on a rower or a treadmill to get that heart rate up but with Pilates you don’t need anything, which in isolation makes sense seeing as most of us don’t have fancy machines at home.”
Equipment aside, the biggest difference between traditional HIIT exercises and HIIP is slowing them down to focus on form instead of speed.
“You should never, ever compromise form over speed. Pilates is about form and precision, rather than pace.”
Best of all, Pilates is quite literally for everybody. Men and women of all ages as well as those with different injuries are catered for, with modifications easily subbed in to suit specific needs.
“I like to think of it as prehab instead of rehab. A lot of people turn to Pilates after they’ve been injured, but it’s about working your body to make sure it’s a well oiled machine before you try to step it up. You should only push yourself as soon as your body is ready. If you treat your body right it’ll treat you right back.”
And while gyms in most states around Australia have reopened, it’s a safe bet many of us will stick to sweating it out in the lounge room now we’ve had a taste of how efficient and affordable it can be.
This article was brought to you by rebel, dressed in Nike Training