My Favorite High Intensity Workouts

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I love a good workout, and sometimes I need something intense to make me feel refreshed and like I accomplished something. Over the last four years I’ve tried a lot of different workout routines over the years, and I have a few go-to high intensity workouts that I just love!

Les Mills Body Pump

I had a YMCA membership earlier this year, and my favorite thing to do was go to body pump! Body pump is a fast-paced barbell workout to the beat of music. With the right trainer, it is so much fun! And one of the hardest workouts I’ve ever done.

Here is what body pump looks like for me based on my Polar watch data from 2018. This is filtered to just my body pump classes and shows my max heart rate, heart rate average, and calories by week. The graph wasn’t very pretty by day. 🙂

polar watch data for les mills body pump

For the first few weeks I couldn’t hold any weights or had the smallest weight possible on my bar or the smallest dumbbell (and I had been lifting for 2 years at this point!). I thought I was in shape, but boy oh boy my body had never done body pump before! I quickly fell in love with the intense workout, and I went 2-3 times a week for 6+ months. I stopped for a few reasons: my favorite trainer left, my schedule got busy to make it on time, and then the Y became too expensive for us, so we cancelled our membership. But I really really miss this class. If you have body pump classes near you, you have to check it out.

Kayla Itsine’s Bikini Body Guide

The Bikini Body Guide (BBG) became really popular a few years ago, and Instagram really helped it take off. Kayla Itsines created this 24-week guide with workouts you can pretty much do anywhere with minimal weights. All you really need is some dumbbells, a jump rope, and a bench. If you’re not at the gym, it’s super easy to accommodate (at least I think so!). You can also purchase a nutritional guide, which is super helpful for those who need the guidance.

These workouts are hard. So.stinkin.hard. But they’re so effective. Here’s the rundown:

  • 2 circuits per workout
  • 7 minutes per circuit
  • Four exercises per circuit
  • Repeat each circuit once = 28 minutes total

The goal is to rotate through the four exercises in each circuit until your 7 minutes is up. Then you do circuit #2. And then you do both of them again with minimal rest in between. Honestly I have taken like 5-10 breaks on some days when I am just dying. So there ain’t no shame in that!

Here’s what a month of BBG looked like for me. This includes many low intensity steady state and high intensity interval cardio too, which is a part of the program.

bikini body guide polar workout data

9Round Kickboxing

I recently discovered 9Round when a location opened in my city. They had an awesome special for new members, and I fell in love. I signed up that day! And I don’t ever do that. 9Round is a 30 minute kickboxing class that’ll get you in and out of there FAST and sweaty. I honestly didn’t think that it would be *that* intense, but holy cow it is.

9Round has – you guessed it – 9 rounds. The first is a warm up. Then weight-focused, and then six rounds of kickboxing followed by ab work in the final round. Each round lasts 3 minutes with 30 seconds of active rest in between. The coolest part is that there are no class times! The timer runs every three minutes, and you jump in when you get there. I am horrible at making it on time for classes, so this was a huge selling point for me!

Here’s what else sealed the deal when I signed up:

  • Pulse heart rate monitor included
  • Unlimited workouts per month
  • Gloves and a set of wraps included
  • Super cool fighter names – mine is CraftyLlama 🙂
  • AWESOME trainers
  • On my way home from work

9Round is my current ‘thing’, and I’ve been so impressed with how crazy the workout is. I always feel like I get my ass kicked, and I love it. Here’s what 9Round looks like for me!

9round pulse heart rate monitor data

Want to start the New Year off at level 10? Try one of these workouts and let me know which one is your favorite! There are an endless number of options for working out, and it can be overwhelming. So I hope that this is helpful, especially if you want to star the year kicking ass!

Follow along. You know you want to.

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