It’s great if you’re a big gym nerd whose idea of a perfect Sunday morning includes a three-plus hour lifting extravaganza. (I’m not saying this describes me, but…) On the flip side, if the idea of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) fills you with dread rather than dudebro-level excitement, you’re not alone. Even if you want to practice your HIIT skills in your apartment before taking them to that 7 a.m. class, it’s extremely difficult to find body-positive HIIT workout videos.
In theory, HIIT workouts are supposed to be a fun, engaging way to reap benefits like improving your strength and ability to breathe while heading up a flight of stairs. So many of my personal training clients who come into sessions skeptical about fitness in general wind up loving the way HIIT can combat boredom, inspire you to do better than you did last week, and keep your workout short and sweet. But while a lot of HIIT videos on the world wide web offer instructors who smile while jumping around, smiles aren’t enough to make HIIT workouts universally fun experiences.
Fitness culture can often promote toxic no pain, no gain attitudes and HIIT instructors often bring this never quit even when it’s dangerous to continue philosophy to their IRL and online classes. Because HIIT is, well, high intensity, the assumption is often that it’s OK to create even more barriers to folks with different body types, physical capacities, and levels of workout experience with as difficult a workout as possible.
But really? It’s not OK. Your body, needs, and experiences should always be welcomed into fitness instruction, including HIIT sessions. That’s why I spent an absurd amount of time trying to find HIIT workout videos that are free that “burn burn burn!” attitude or suggesting you “torch” parts of your body. There aren’t a lot I could find, but these four body-affirming HIIT videos can help you dip your toes into the wonderful world of high-intensity training while feeling good about your body’s abilities.
1. Weight Neutral HIIT Workout
From the channel Diverse Personal Training, this HIIT video is meant to get your heart rate up and to help you break a sweat, but your instructor’s priority is you. “As always, have water nearby, take breaks as you need, and listen to your body,” your trainer says in the 30-minute workout’s introduction. “You are in charge of this workout, so if you see me doing something that you don’t quite think is for you, by all means, add whatever you’d like [instead].” This attitude is all too rare in HIIT spaces, so this video is a welcome balm.
2. Low Impact Cardio
“This is your workout and you’ve gotta take it at your pace,” is the first introduction you get to this awesome workout. Your instructors explicitly remind you that the pause button is your friend, and you can take breaks any and all times you need to. That’s super important, because HIIT workouts will definitely challenge your cardiovascular system. And low impact HIIT sessions like this one great at boosting your heart health without hurting your joints.
3. Chair HIIT Workout
With another hit (see what I did there?) from the Diverse Personal Training channel, this video features seated cardio and boxing as your body-affirming HIIT option. This seated workout emphasizes boxing techniques that will give you cardio benefits just like standing workouts, but it’s more accessible to you if you don’t have the energy or ability to stand. Plus, the instructor wears a pink Darth Vader shirt throughout the video, so you already know it’s going to be awesome.
4. Seated HIIT Workout
This video is extra cool because your instructor really is in it with you — as Crystal explains in the beginning of the video, she recently hurt her ankle. Her seated workout is therefore a literal model for folks with lower-body injuries, wheelchair users, or folks who just want to get their dumbbell on while marathon-watching Teen Wolf.
You might already be a HIIT aficionado looking to expand your repertoire. Or, you might be new to this kind of training and have wanted to try it out, but didn’t felt welcomed by other kinds of high-intensity workout instruction. Whatever your experience level, you and your body belong in the HIIT world. Grab your water bottle and your innate awesomeness, and have some fun.