H.I.I.T. – 1 Fox – 0

A little while ago, decided to hang up my long distance cardio shoes and have been been experimenting with shorter workouts, which have eventually culminated in a method known as High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T). According to the latest gym logic, H.I.I.T., through a combination of short explosive movements and short rest periods in between cranks up your metabolism, in large part because you’re building muscle and generating heat in your core.

Because you only do it for up to 20 minutes you also trick your body into not releasing cortisol, which is a hormone that the body releases when you’re under stress (unlike what happens when you work out hard for periods longer than 20 minutes). Cortisol, for those of you who don’t know, is a stress hormone that signals to your body that it needs to store fat! And not just any old fat – but belly fat! (No wonder I couldn’t lose those last 10 pounds when I was spinning; my body thought I needed that to survive)!

Regardless, when I first started this, I began with 4 one minute sets of getting up and down out of a chair as fast as I could, with a minute of rest between sets.

(Yes, these are the basic equivalent of squats, but when you sit down each time, you get to experience that extra little gift of gravity – which, after a set or two, begins to feel like the gift that keeps on giving).

I must admit that when this was first suggested to me, I laughed. I thought, there is no way that this is going to get my heart rate up.


By the end of the first set I was huffing and puffing like a steam engine. (And keep in mind, I’m in pretty good shape!)

After a couple of days of this, I was able to keep in adding reps – not time mind you, but reps. So, whereas the first day I did 45-46-49-42, by the end of just a few days, I was well into the 50s, if not the 60s.

One of the big selling points about this form of training (besides only taking 20 minutes a day [or in my case less than 10]) is that it increases your ability to engage in short explosive bursts of intense exercise, because you are training your body to store excess energy in the muscles (as glycogen) instead of in the belly (as fat).

So, you may be asking, what does this have to do with a fox?

Earlier this week, I let Michael J’s cat, Harley, outside. We live in the country and Harley has been an indoor/outdoor cat for several years. Personally, whenever I let him out, I always tell him to have fun, to stick around the house, and not to get eaten on my watch.

(The indoor/outdoor cat policy is one of the few things about which Michael J and I truly disagree!)

As I went around puttering in the kitchen with my very cosseted indoor cat, I heard this God awful cacophony outside. The crows were literally going nuts.

My first thought was that Harley has killed a bird (another reason why Cat is an indoor cat) and is – quite possibly – getting attacked by crows.

Only slightly annoyed, I headed out onto the deck and was immediately struck by three things.

  1. Those birds are really loud!
  2. The sun is absolutely gorgeous hitting the trees!
  3. Why are the horses standing right at the edge of the stone wall (all three of them) staring at the same point like they’ve seen a ghost)?

Though it really did look like something out of a Disney film, I followed their line of their vision and lo and behold:

‘Where’s Harley?’

And like clockwork, there he was – curious little creature that he is – about 10 feet from our bushy tailed visitor.

The list of blood curdling expletives that exploded in my brain and were torn from my lungs are not fit to print, but it’s fair to say that I pretty much brought the house down! I certainly woke Michael J, who until that moment, had been enjoying a rare Tuesday morning lie-in!

The funny thing was is that I was so panicked that I literally could not figure out how to get off of the deck and down to the stone wall, which is maybe 150 feet from the house. I also was afraid that if I took my eyes off of the scene in front of me that Harley was doomed. (As if me standing on the deck screaming was really making that much of a difference!)

Eventually – it was probably only fifteen seconds, but it felt like an eternity – I figured out how to get off the deck (that is, I remembered that there were stairs!) and took off, literally, like a shot!

I have never moved so fast in my life.

Was it the H.I.I.T. or just the sheer volume of adrenaline?

It’s hard to tell, but I’ll say one thing: I learned in that moment that there are very good reasons other than what you’re going to look like in a bathing suit this summerto be able to engage in short, explosive bursts of concentrated activity!

As I got closer to them (the fox had not given up at this point), I slowed down and took a series of deep calming breaths.

The last thing I wanted to do was to scare Harley, who at this point, was getting a little jittery himself.

Let’s just say that the tension was pretty high on all fronts.

Did did I mention that the birds were still screaming? Seriously, the racket was deafening.

So, here I am, in my pjs, barefoot, standing between a scared house cat (who at least at this point had figured out that something was wrong), three spooked horses, and a predator. And all of this against a soundtrack that sounded suspiciously like something out of a Hitchcock film!

Luckily for me (and for Harley and for Michael J, who by this time was also on the scene), Harley actually came to me and allowed himself to be scooped up and carried back to the waiting arms of his father.

Interestingly enough, three things happened as soon as Harley was off the ground: the fox cut and ran, the horses cut and ran, and the birds – bless them and their ungodly warning system – fell eerily silent.

Well, four things, as my commitment to H.I.I.T. pretty much doubled.

3 comments so far

  1. Lara on

    Good heavens! Wow. Nicely done: on all fronts.

  2. […] yesterday, I was doing a round of High Intensity Interval Training and one of the sets was to skip in […]

  3. […] I was pretty excited about it and I told you that I would keep you posted. Part of the reason I was excited about it is that it gives you little bursts of energy – bursts of energy that may very well have saved the life of Michael J’s super-friendly, but not overly bright feline, Harlequin. But that’s another story and one that I’ve shared before. […]

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