On a scorching Aussie summer afternoon while lamenting over my flabby arms, my laptop went ‘ding’. It was an email from the Down Dog team announcing the launch of their new exercise apps.
Their new Down Dog HIIT, Barre and 7 minute workout apps would be free for life if downloaded by February (2020)- I gave out a happy dolphin-like shriek for the most welcome New Year’s gift ever. I’d heard all these wonderful things about HIIT and I wondered if this could be the best HIIT app (like how we find Down Dog Yoga to be the best Yoga app?
I first asked, should I try HIIT? All the trends and research pointed to a BIG “YES”.
What is HIIT, in layman terms?
HIIT, short for high-intensity interval training is a workout that oscillates between intense exercise for a few seconds and a few seconds of break. HIIT gets your heart rate up and muscles working at max capacity in a short workout that can last upto 30 to 45 minutes at most.
Disclaimer: Please check with your health professional before commencing any exercise routine. Nothing is this post is replacement for a professional or health professional’s advice
Why on earth a (wannabe) Yogi or Yogini like me tried HIIT?
I swear by yoga, especially being a die hard fan of the Down Dog Yoga app and how Yoga helped me manage PCOD in my early 20’s. But recently life got in the way – a mix of boredom with the same routine, exhaustion, lack of time and more excuses- or dare I say the usual life as a mom. My body wasn’t happy, it seemed to be getting weaker and heavier with the lack of exercise.
And a weak body cannot possibly be a conduit to a strong mind and soul.
I took a deep breath and downloaded the Downdog HIIT, Barre and 7 minute workout apps. Soon enough, dread dawned over me. I went into flashback of my first (and last) Aerobics Step class. It was a thing in ‘olden days’ (two words my daughter uses to describe anything from my past, making me sound ancient) and probably making a comeback. I remember the step class making me so damn out of breath that the instructor and people around me were like ‘what’s wrong with this young lady?’ It was thankfully not health related but just something I wasn’t used to and didn’t quite enjoy.
Obviously, I’ve NEVER stepped into an intense group workout ever again to avoid public humiliation. That experience scarred me such that walking past a gym’s group exercise room or a F45 class sends shivers down my spine.
After the initial excitement, I was beginning to doubt if I should even bother trying any of the apps out. But I took another deep breath (in a good way this time;)) and gave the Down Dog HIIT app a go. Just 15 minutes to start with and I didn’t just survive but I thrived, to my utter and wide eyed surprise!
Downdog HIIT Review- is this the best HIIT app?
This was my experience with the fresh out of the digital oven, HIIT app by Downdog:
Choice of levels, intervals and recovery time
It’s not just a fixed (muscle crushing) workout but customize-able just like the Down Dog Yoga app- which is an absolute blessing for everyone including pain averse people like me. So we don’t give up by feeling like a flustered failure and out of breath mess. There are custom options like the Interval duration and Recovery duration, and 3 Levels for both the Upper and Lower Body practice.
The workout duration options start from 5 minutes, so fellow mummas and other time strapped humans, no more excuses to break into a sweat.
Sweat baby sweat!
(Don’t judge the header- spiritual doesn’t mean boring!) Just 15 minutes of HIIT broke me into a sweat. All those yucky salty toxins got loose and out.
Spiritual speak- everything is energy including your body and it can store emotions, experiences and more – both good and bad. A good sweat helps to release pent up eeky energy that your body lovingly stores(to protect you from similar future threats).
For the skeptics who look for scientific proof and research, a good sweat inducing exercise helps with depression symptoms and alleviate your mood.
Post workout burn or After-burn
I am quite in tune with my sensitive or strongly sensory body. Due to lack of exercise and recent emotional experiences, my body just felt blah. Aching joints, lethargy, getting jolted with the smallest of ouch-es(e.g. daughter having a tiny scratch) was commonplace for the past few weeks.
After just one 15 minute HIIT workout, I instantly felt good. For hours post workout, I felt a warmth in my back and shoulders, which I hope is my feeling of the EPOC. HIIT apparently has a higher Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) throughout the day compared to steady-state exercise. EPOC boosts metabolic rate and burns more calories for hours post workout. (Research: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5685083/)
No equipment needed
Need I say more? Not all HIIT exercises are equipment free. For the Down Dog HIIT aap, just need yourself, your mat and place to exercise.
Get better results with shorter workouts
Not a benefit for the Down Dog HIIT app alone, this is true for most HIIT workours. Researchers found that 10 minutes of HIIT is as effective as a 60 minute run. Downdog’s HIIT app has workout length options starting at just 6 minutes up to 60 minutes(for those who dare).
Practical tips on how to survive a HIIT workout
I am no PT trainer or a health professional but here is my 2 cents for surviving an intense workout like HIIT:
Check with your health professional
You know the usual ‘tread with caution’ that comes with any exercise, please check with your doctor or health professional before commencing any exercise routine.
Breathing in through the nose and out of the mouth can see you through intense exercise( and stress and anger and screaming toddlers and meditation and more). It helps with purging and tonifying while you work out.
The right posture is a must in any form of exercise. No hunched or tense shoulders or back. Your back will thank you in the long term for maintaining a good posture.
My dance teacher when seeing me all hunched up, recommended imagining a string attached to the top of the head gently pulling you up into a erect (but not tense) posture.
Warming up is essential to avoid injuries. It is an absolute must do for HIIT. Unfortunately, at the time of this post, the Down Dog HIIT app doesn’t have Warm up exercises included.
If you don’t feel too good, STOP and take a break
Don’t push yourself to the point of extreme discomfort and pain. HIIT can sometimes make you feel nauseous as it is quite an intense exercise. If you feel nauseous, just pause and take a breath, restart when you feel better.
Be present and in tune with your body to know how much it can do at a given time.
Where to download the Down dog HIIT app
Go grab the Down Dog HIIT and 7 minute workout app by February 2020 to get it for FREE.
Still prefer Yoga? Check our our Review of the Down Dog Yoga app, the Yoga app we just louuurrvveee