Monday 10 July 2017

July: African Dance & Pilates HIIT

 Read also: 3 Weeks Later

   Ahh, July. I say that like it's a good thing. It isn't. I dislike the summer. It's hot, it's sticky, you can't do anything, and your wholeday revolves around keeping cool. I've never liked the summer. Ice cream and bright colours are the only upsides. Yep, I live in England. How anyone further south survives is just beyond me.
   Fortunately, I always get my workout done in the morning, so it's not usually too hot. Windows and doors open, fan on, whack a water bottle in the fridge as soon as I get up and I'm all set.
   So you can imagine that doing Piit28 last month was doubly difficult. But because it was so difficult, in line with my new year's resolution to know when to back off and take a break when I need it (my body hurts), this month I'm going to something simpler.
   I'm keeping it colourful and enthusiastic, so Cassey Ho is remaining on my line-up if much lower impact, and I'm pairing it with my old favourite, Kukuwa. Pop Pilates and African dance. Tell me I've got it wrong - I dare you.
   But I'm not alternating days, or doing 20/20 minutes. Instead, I'm putting together a low-impact HIIT workout combining the two. And it is only feasable because of Kukuwa's unique structure.

The Cardio
   Unlike any other dance workout DVD, Kukuwa is very high-energy dance that never slows down and is, truly, total-body all the time. The reason it's so high-energy and so full-body is because the movements are simple and quick to learn, which means you can really put all your energy into them. This also means that time is not wasted relearning the moves every time you use it. You can put it on and jump right in. Literally.
   There are two sections on the DVD, intermediate and advanced, and both are made up of 6 5-minute routines, and they truly are 5 minutes, give or take 10 seconds. And this is important to this HIIT routine, too. Each routine is on its own DVD 'chapter', making it easy to flick back or forwards to the start of a routine with the touch of a single button, which, again, is important for what I'm trying to do this month.

The Resistance
   Pilates is harder than it looks - it seriously gets into your muscles, and it burns quickly, but it's also very low-impact as far as heart rate is concerned. See where I'm going with this? You can get your breath back.
   I've got Cassey Ho's Hot Body Year Round book on hand for this, a veritable bible of Pilates moves, bright colours and clean, seasonal recipes, and they're the kind of moves that 30-45 seconds of is more than enough. The book splits the workouts into areas of the body, grouping bum workouts, leg workouts, arm workouts, back workouts and so on all individually for each season, and each feature about 6 or 7 moves. That means that this book provides about 25 moves for your bum, 25 for your legs, 25 for your arms - you get the picture. It's jam-packed. But that also means that I can either mix and match areas, or focus on the lower or upper body. And I can swap moves out for others if they get stale.

African Dance & Pilates HIIT
   So, my plan is simple: play a full 30 minute Kukuwa program - either intermediate, or advanced. However, I will only be doing the last 3 minutes of the 5 minute routines. It's true that it doesn't take much time to learn the moves, but after the first minute or two, all the moves have been strung together and so the final three minutes are higher impact and more confident than the first. This means I get the most out of the cardio.
   As for the first two minutes, I will not be idle. This is Pilates time. I'm going to string together 3 Pilates moves, performed for 30 seconds each with 10 seconds to set up between each. When this is done, I get up and boogy. When the routine is over, I hit the mat again and let the DVD play for the music, and after two minutes of 30/10/30/10/30/10, I dance the last 3 minutes. And then the next routine starts.
   This will give me a solid 30 minute workout combining dance cardio and Pilates. It won't be too high impact because even Kukuwa doesn't compare to a routine combining jump squats, burpees and tuck jumps, but it will definitely be enjoyable, and after the difficulty that is Piit28 last month, I'm going to welcome it.

   I start this workout for the first time in about an hour, and I'll blog about it in 2 weeks. Perhaps. I say perhaps because I'm only giving this 3 weeks, total, so perhaps it will be in a week and a half. Piit28 ran over the end of the month because my 2-week post-holiday slim-down threw my calendar out the window, but as this month's workout won't be as effective as Piit28, nor what I have planned for August, I didn't want to compromise on them in favour of an experiment. But if it's going to be effective, 3 weeks will be just enough to tell.

   Also, hell yes, pretty turquoise-mint Pamela shorts by Fabletics

   I'm rather looking forward to this!


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