Welcome to the Month of Me, where every day in January, we'll be publishing a new fashion, beauty, or wellness article featuring a first-person account of shaking up an old habit, pushing beyond a comfort zone, or simply trying something new. Follow along for 31 days of storytelling, including what it's like to quit alcohol for 80 days, try Beyoncé's very strict diet, or completely overhaul your closet.
Name: Schuyler Youngstrom, manager of email and partnerships, Who What Wear and THE/THIRTY
What Did You Try? HIIT (high-intensity interval training) for 30 days straight
Why Did You Try It? If you're not familiar with HIIT, these workouts involve short intervals, or bursts, of intense work, followed by recovery periods. I wanted to try it in hopes of mitigating the effects of an office job and a relatively sedentary lifestyle. I chose HIIT since these kinds of classes are designed to increase resting metabolic rate, allowing me to burn more calories throughout the day, and increase oxygen utilization. Essentially, these workouts will make me physically more productive, have better energy, and feel overall healthier. Losing a few pounds would definitely be an added bonus, though!
How Did You Prepare? Before jumping into the 30-day challenge, I eased my way into the workouts by taking three classes a week. The biggest obstacle for me was waking up before work at 5 a.m. in order to take the morning classes, so the three-day-a-week trial was mostly dedicated to me acclimating to the early morning workout.
What Happened During the Whole Process? I decided to try F45, which alternates cardio and strength HIIT classes daily, with only one class per week combining both cardio and strength. I loved this workout because it meant every class was different, and I looked forward to the strength days the most. I figured I would be insanely sore after the first week, but this wasn't at all the case! Working out back to back was actually better for me, as my daily movement aided in recovery and helped me work through the inflammation process. After the second week, I felt that my stamina had increased and I wasn't as fatigued as I usually get by the end of the workout. By the third and fourth weeks, I had significantly improved muscular strength. Weights that had previously seemed impossible to lift were easier, and I was able to move up to new, more challenging weights.
Any Challenges? The first week was the most challenging for me. I found myself debating almost daily whether or not to pay the late cancel fee and just sleep through class. Spoiler: I'm too frugal to pay for those fees, so that worked as a great incentive for me to follow through with this challenge.
Any Surprises? I didn't think I'd lose as much body fat as I did and ended the challenge losing 2% body fat and looking overall more toned.
How Did You Feel Afterward? What Kind of Changes Did You Notice? My body definitely changed, and I looked leaner and more toned.
What Did You Like About It? I loved how I felt within the first two weeks. I had more energy throughout the day, and I (finally!) was able to sleep soundly through the night.
What Did You Hate? Waking up early was rough for me, but I didn't hate anything from this challenge.
Would You Try It Again? Definitely! I felt such incredible results that I plan on doing this on and off throughout the next year.
Any Advice for Anyone Who's Thinking About Trying It? If you're just starting out trying HIIT classes, I (along with fitness professionals) would recommend not taking more than two to three HIIT classes a week. If you're a HIIT regular and interested in trying 30 days straight, I'd suggest booking your classes in advance so you can't talk yourself out of taking them day-of. Make sure you stay hydrated and fed throughout the day so you can really maximize on the morning workout benefits, and don't forget to stretch daily!
Also, because I worked out for 30 days straight, I needed the right gear. Here are my favorite activewear pieces and self-care products that I wore and used during the challenge: