Written by Kate Leaver


Life Critic: High Intensity Interval Training

In her regular column, Kate Leaver reviews life’s banalities. This week she’s been sweating it out in the name of fitness and not liking it one bit, no siree.


OK, let me cool my jets for a moment and explain. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is where you do exercisey shit at maximum speed and/or effort for a short stint, over and over in ‘reps’ until you hate life. It’s, technically speaking, fabulous for your overall fitness and makes all sorts of ravishing promises to ‘melt body fat’ and ‘make you proper fit, like’.

When you hear all the shiny health benefits and babe promises, sure, you want to go ahead and give HIIT five stars. What, get my daily exercise in seven minutes? Do it outside in the sunshine? Stop feeling like a social reject for hating the gym? Just sit on an imaginary chair a bunch of times and get a booty like J-Lo? Sign me up for life!

But then you actually do it. For the first time. The second time. The third. And so on until you want to give up your day job to personally track down the sadist who invented the ‘burpee’ and shake your fist in their general direction.

In some instances, a personal trainer or really well-meaning family member will guide you through your 10 x lunges, 20 x step-ups, 20 x jump-squats, 10 x sprints routine with motivational yelling and/or bribery. In others, you try doing it on your own with a YouTube clip or in the garden with an angry Spotify playlist that starts with the “I like to move it, move it” song from that animated movie about zoo animals escaping to the jungle.

When you’re doing this extreme exercise thing, you would totally mumble some extremely creative and profane things, if you had the breath in your lungs. You’d give HIIT the finger, if all of yours weren’t wrapped tightly around a goddamn hand weight. And surely you’d give a passionate speech about the existential benefits of tranquil exercise too, if you weren’t lying on the grass, spread-eagled, panting, and trying to remember your own name.

HIIT is a deeply unpleasant activity. Especially if you’re the type of person who usually goes for walks in the park, reads under a tree, suggests picnics to everyone she knows, takes up ballet, and does the odd ocean swim when she’s on the right continent. In my gym-resistant, pro-walking, anti-kale opinion, if it’s not during sexy times, this all-out repetitive panting business ain’t worth the endorphins.

ZERO. FUCKING. STARS. And I stand by that rating. Not run. Stand.


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Written by Kate Leaver

Wandering Australian journalist, professional-level Harry Potter fan, occasional funny person, gelato enthusiast. Still worried about the state of Britney Spears' mental health.