HOH Blog

Adapting to change

I want to know how you will be dealing with this next change that is upon us. We have adapted positively over the last year but, as the biggest change so far in this pandemic is implemented, how will you continue your relationship with exercise? 

I find myself on the train to London to head back to the office for the first time in over a year. 

At the beginning of lockdown, Humans of HIIT helped me and you with a new routine that made us feel better about the new working from home rule and all new restrictions that came with it. It has been reassuring to see followers having the same feelings towards the ‘new normal’. 

But, I now find myself in some kind of uncertainty. We have used exercise to help our wellbeing and workplaces have been very flexible when it has come to working from home hours. People have benefitted more than ever from the sudden shift. The ability to exercise, spend more time with children and use commuting time for something more productive has been a blessing. 

I want to reach out to you guys because as I make my way to the office, I’m thinking how am I going to balance exercise with this new change? Yes, I can go back to exercising before and after work, but it has been great to have had more flexibility to do this when I felt up to it. 

There are companies who have used the pandemic to rethink their working environments and listened to staff members to see what will be beneficial to them, which I think is a positive step forward. 

Written by Caroline Jones

HOH Blog

What are Fats?

I hope you enjoyed and took something away from the previous blog on carbohydrates, here is number 2 of 3 and today we are going to be talking about fats. We will be covering the different types & their benefits; as well as debunking the myth that fats make you fat.

Let’s start with the different types of fats, we have 3 types; unsaturated, saturated and trans fats. As touched on previously in the last blog, everything in moderation is absolutely fine, however as always there are some better options nutritionally and that is the same here with fats.


You will often see unsaturated fats labelled as the “healthy” fats & that is because they have many benefits within the body such as improving cholesterol levels, reducing inflammation & helping to protect against cardiovascular diseases. Most of the unsaturated fats tend to be liquid at room temperature, so think of your cooking oils (olive, sunflower) but are also found in nuts and seeds. There are two types of unsaturated, monounsaturated & polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated can be found within olive oils, avocados and many different types of nuts. Polyunsaturated are not made within your body, so these need to be consumed through diet, these are your omega 3 & 6 fatty acids so are most commonly found fish such as salmon or sardines.


Saturated fats tend to be most commonly found in meat and dairy products such as the fatty parts of red meat, butter, creams and also in coconut oil. Whilst it is not confirmed that saturated fats lead to a higher risk of heart disease, it is recommended that you limit these and try to incorporate more unsaturated fats.


Trans fats are formed from a process called hydrogenation, which is the heating of liquid vegetable oils in the presence of a hydrogen gas and a catalyst. These can be reheated many times without losing form and this is why they are ideal for cooking fast foods. If there are any types of fats you wanted to avoid then these are them as they have no health benefits and can contribute to heart disease and inflammatory issues.

Now we have a better understanding of the different types of fats, it is time to debunk the myth that eating fats will make you fat. Fat does contain more calories per gram than protein and carbohydrates at 9kcal per gram but this does not mean it will automatically make you gain weight. You would also gain weight from overeating foods high in carbohydrates or protein. Weight loss/gain all boils down to an energy deficit/surplus, so essentially how many calories you are consuming. So, as long as you are consuming less or equal to the calories your body needs, you won’t gain weight even if you do eat a lot of foods containing fat. Nuts & seeds are a great source of healthy fats, however it can be very easy to eat 4-500 calories of these without even realising. A handful of nuts can sometimes easily amount to 200 calories as they are more calorific than other foods, so just be aware of portion sizes when consuming.

Humans of HIIT Male Running

Andy Raju

It was actually being accepted via ballot entry for the 2014 London Marathon that got me into running. What I learnt over time is that no runner started off by being a runner, it takes time and dedication. As a runner you have to expect both good days as well as off days as it takes time, but like with any physical activity, you must never give up! I had to be patient, and explore and try different running routes until I found a few that I enjoyed.

You will have some aches and pains but you must always respect the distance whether it is 5k or more. I therefore realised that all of these reasons are all of what can be applied for not only in running, or in any other activity or sport, but in life. Another lesson learnt is that running can be a great stress reliever, and helps to keep your mind at rest, as well as keeping your body in shape. After the marathon, I really got the bug, and felt encouraged to sign up for more races of varying distance such as 5k, 10k, and half marathons in order to build up my experience as well as my confidence in running, and setting goals. This included beating my best times and in general aiming to better myself.

My motto is ‘make running and walking a lifestyle’ it is not just a motto, I really do try and live by that. The way I see it, is that physical activity is a necessity in life, and being active is also about being healthy and feeling better. I have always tried to make physical activity a fun habit instead of a chore, which is what I tell others too who walk and run with me. I feel by doing this, I will continue enjoying this healthy habit and maintain and build upon.

Since running became a big part of my life, friends and neighbours kept asking me to help them get started. I completed a Leadership in Running Fitness Course (LiRF) back in May 2017, and became a UKA Run Leader. I have since started and have continued my local walking & running group ‘Run with Andy®` where running sessions take place twice a month, and walking sessions take place once a week from One Tree Hill Recreational Ground, Alperton, Wembley.

My aim is not only to get people out and active, but to also help make physical activity enjoyable and rewarding. I provide various trail walking routes and on my running sessions, combine the use of the outdoor gym located at various parks in Brent to keep it interesting.

Since I first started my group we have gained recognition from Brent Council, Won our 1st award in 2018 as RunTogether Group of The Year, (London Region) which is governed by England Athletics, and in 2019 we gained further recognition for both RunTogether Group of The Year as well as Run Leader of the Year! This journey grows from strength to strength!

I feel a sense of responsibility in my neighbourhood to help people reach their fitness goals whatever they may be, and to give encouragement and to maintain, in a fun and meaningful way.”

HOH Blog

What are Macronutrients and Carbohydrates?

My name is Lee, I am a Personal Trainer and Nutritionist and the newest member of the Humans of HIIT family. Welcome to the first of three short blogs giving you an insight into the three different macronutrients. 

Firstly, macronutrients are the nutrients the body uses in the largest amount & they consist of Carbohydrates, Proteins & Fats. These can then be broken down into micronutrients but that is a topic for another day! 

Today we are going to delve into carbohydrates and debunk the myth that they are the devil of the dieting world. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy and consist of free sugars, starchy carbs and fibre. For this reason, they play a massive part in our day to day functioning & without them you are likely to feel lethargic and unmotivated. A diet without carbohydrates is known as Ketogenic and whilst a very very small percentage of people follow this, I would argue that it is not sustainable for 99% of the population. Sustainability is the absolute key when it comes to nutrition. When you are looking at changing your eating habits, you should be thinking about whether you will still be able to maintain this 6 months or a year down the line, as opposed to a drastic change that only lasts a few weeks and results in the rebound effect. Small consistent changes will yield fantastic results. 

Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram and can essentially be broken down into 3 categories, simple, complex and fibrous. When we consume carbohydrates they are broken down into Glucose. 

Simple Carbohydrates
These will be digested by the body very quickly and will provide a quicker release of energy. If your diet is mainly made up of simple sugars you may find that you feel very tired and lethargic as these will cause a fast spike in your blood sugar levels rather than releasing the energy slowly over a longer period of time. An example of these would be sweets, honey, desserts and fruit juices. 

Complex Carbohydrates
Complex or starchy carbohydrates will be digested a lot slower by the body therefore providing a more gradual spike in blood sugar levels. These will leave you feeling fuller for much longer and will provide a longer intake of energy. Pasta, rice, potatoes and oats will all fall into this bracket of carbohydrates.

Fibre is the part of carbs that we cannot digest and instead travels through the body undigested and is then broken down by the gut bacteria.  Fibre is a crucial component of our diets and can help protect against many diseases and help improve gut health. Fibre can be found in a lot of foods such as fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and nuts. 

Carbohydrates are certainly not going to make you gain weight, in fact they contain the same amount of calorie per gram as protein, and 5 calories less per gram than fat! Your body will have a maintenance amount of calories that it requires and if you consume more or less than this it will result in fat gain/loss. 

Whilst you should certainly monitor the amount of simple carbohydrates you are consuming as they normally provide little to no nutritional value, you should not be cutting them out completely as a restrictive diet is not one you are going to be able to sustain long term. Plus, sweet treats are something that we all love to enjoy once in a while! 

This is a basic insight into carbohydrates and the takeaway message from this blog is to enjoy everything within moderation & have a look at how your nutrition could support you in reaching your goals.

Recipe time
A short & sweet breakfast idea! This is the ideal breakfast if you constantly find you are pushed for time in the mornings. Prepare the night before in less than 5 minutes & then ready to grab from the fridge in morning and enjoy whilst on your long commute from the kitchen to the living room office! 


Jumbo rolled oats – 60g (scale to suit your goals)
Milk of your choice (I use almond) – 200ml
Frozen mixed fruits – 100g
Protein powder (optional) – 30g
Chia seeds – 5g

Nutritional breakdown without protein powder:

44g carbs
9g fats
9g protein

Nutritional breakdown with protein powder:

46g carbs
11g fats
34g protein

Covid Female Humans of HIIT Mental Health Running School

Priscilla Lagally

“I was a very active child back then. I join every single sport in school because that makes me happy. My fitness journey started when I was 18 years old. I worked out every single day (not joking), I was obsessed with it. But it was not a healthy lifestyle for sure. I lost weight because I was barely eating. I skipped breakfast and only ate a small amount of food. It was crazy! So you can say my relationship with my fitness was a roller-coaster ride.

There’s times that I’m too lazy to workout because of work. My work is from 9 – 6 or I even work extra hours. It is hard to stay motivated because I’m too tired to exercise – all you want to do is eat and sleep – so that’s what I do and I stop exercising for a few years.

I started to exercise again when my friends asked me to join an Ultra Marathon. It was my first time joining so I had to prepare myself, so I started exercising again, going for a run after work and controlling my eating habits – that was 2017. Exercising helps me to relieve stress too, that’s why I love running.

My goals when it comes to fitness is that – I just want to stay healthy in a good way. It needs to be balanced. I still have a long way to go to achieve my goal but with a little bit of motivation and commitment – I will get there someday.

Honestly, my lifestyle right now is not organised because of this world pandemic. But I started to work out again because I know that is what I needed – working out will help me to be healthy and also it is good for my mental health – obviously gaining weight makes me feel bad about myself but I’m working on loving myself first. That is the most important thing to do.”

Covid Female Humans of HIIT Pregnancy Running School


“I was the kid who HATED gym class growing up. I did the minimum to get by. But I’ve always been a girl after a challenge.

When I was 21 I decided to start a Couch to 5k program. I ran some races and was sporadic, until 2011 when I decided I wanted to train for a half marathon. Like I said, I’m a girl after a challenge (so why not jump from a 5k to a half, right?). In 2012 I ran my first two, and only timed, half marathons, 5 months apart from each other.

After that, I was hooked and I continued to run intermittently. Around 2014, I started trying to conceive, which proved difficult, and in 2015 we turned to IVF, so I was required to stop running. It was worth the pause when my twin boys were born in 2016.

After that, running was put on the back burner, between becoming a mom and going through nurse practitioner school. I still enjoyed exercising, and thought it was a great way to release stress and have “me” time. I turned to home workouts instead, out of convenience.

Fast forward to 2020. My boys are older now. I’m a nurse practitioner.

We are in a pandemic. While I had continued to exercise, I found I missed running. It was one of the one safe things I could do during this scary, stressful time. So I bought some new running shoes and started running diligently again, 3-4 days a week.

Then I signed up for my first marathon. Remember those half marathons I ran? In 2012? Yeah, I hadn’t run that long or far in ages. My marathon is in April 2021. I’m hoping it’s live, but even if it isn’t, I am grateful for the training experience I have had so far. I’m officially halfway there, and I am amazed and proud of what my body can do.

I run and exercise for myself. It’s my time alone to just turn off my brain and move my body. But I also do it for my boys, who see me and tell me they want to exercise just like me. One of my sons has even gone on some runs with me, and I hope that will be something we can do together for years to come.

I have recently started a new phase in my journey: coaching. I want to share my love of running and exercise with people who may be a little nervous to begin, but have a “why” for getting started. It’s not always easy, but it will always be worth doing, and nothing makes me happier than cheering people on and helping them reach their goals.”

HOH Blog

Listen to Your Body

Listen to your body – Part 2 of our Pilates journey with a member of our community.

I managed a few in house classes before we were hit by another lockdown. I didn’t want this to be a step back and it’s thanks to social media I’ve been able to continue with Pilates. 

I came across ALM Pilates on Instagram. I messaged Anthony, the fitness instructor for more details. Anthony informed me of the range of classes available (beginner, intermediate level etc) and mentioned he does fitness workouts as well, all via Zoom. 

Unlike the in-person classes, I wasn’t nervous at the thought of joining Zoom with people I’ve never met. I chose to take up the beginner classes, taking place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday’s. I was added to a WhatsApp group where Zoom links are shared. 

Although I’ve never met Anthony, I felt included in the class straightaway. His Zoom is spotlighted so there are no distractions. An important part for me about this is it lets me completely concentrate as I have nobody to compare with. 

After the first class, I signed up because I knew I’d benefit from the classes. Also, I’ve struggled with working from home so having Pilates included in the routine has helped me so much. 

Positioning is key

The class begins with positioning. I’ve been taking part in classes since October 2020, but this never fails to amaze me. Before now, I’ve never thought about how important the positioning of your arms, shoulders, neck, chin and PELVIS is. 

‘Pay attention to the pelvis’ ‘Has your pelvis moved?’ ‘Connect to the powerhouse’ 

Trust me, it makes a huge difference to exercises. 


As I’ve mentioned before, running makes me stiff and I really notice this during Pilates. Anthony is very good at clocking positions. Often, my shoulders are by my ears or neck pushed forwards. Straightaway, this is clocked and by simply dropping the shoulders and pulling my neck back, I can see an improvement. 

Also, after each exercise, we are asked to either hug our knees or stretch forward to provide relief. Anthony openly says, do whatever stretch you feel the body needs. It is your body. I think this is really important, even moving away from Pilates because it is important to listen to your body. 

More beneficial than an in-person class

Although we’re not in the class, it feels a lot like having a personal trainer in your living room…

Take the spine twist with saw movement. I’m going to be honest; I hate this exercise as I feel it challenges my shoulders and neck and struggle to keep my arms up. Again, Anthony clocks that I’m not twisting well and asks me to go back to the beginning. He tells me to straighten my back, put the crown of my head up to the ceiling with my neck and shoulders away from each other and gets me to twist. 

‘Keep twisting’ he says. I do feel better once my positioning is correct. For me, I think because I know it feels tight, I stop but in reality, keeping going is the best. I say I hate it, but my point is, even though instructors are not there in-person, it is good to know incorrect positions are still picked up. 

This goes back to what I’ve said previously that one of the reasons I’ve picked up Pilates is because I know the home workouts I was following were doing more harm than good. There is nobody telling you about positioning and also I’d probably always skip the exercises I found hard instead of giving them a go. 


I love the educational side of the classes too. There’s often a historical background of Joseph Pilates and how gravity wants to pull legs/arms down but there needs to be resistance to ensure strength can increase.

What I also like about the classes is that I never know what type they are going to be until the Zoom code is shared. 

‘You’ll need a chair’ / ‘You’ll need two tins’ 

Who needs gym equipment?! The chair ones are tough. Often, I run before Pilates so the chair move involves being on your tiptoes, half up and down and pulsing, that really burns. Also, the squats on my tip toes and pulsing it out is a killer. I’m yet to complete all reps of this but I’m slowly getting there. 

What I find interesting is the difference I feel when classes are either fast or slow paced. The slow paced class is where I notice my stiffness whereas during the high energic classes, I go with the flow and don’t think about moving to each exercise as much. The faster paced classes are my favourite, but it is still good to get the technicality of the moves correct during the slow classes. 

Two exercises I struggle with are the crab and teaser. I’m unable to get the balance or the strength to come back to my tailbone. Again, Anthony is aware of everybody’s level and never points out or puts pressure on people. He reiterates that we are all at different stages and we will improve and master eventually. Anthony also knows about any injuries and adapts exercises to suit the person. It’s great that nobody is being judged and you still feel you can join in.


We end the class with light meditation, enabling us to focus on breathing. What is really good for me is we are told when a thought enters our mind, to hold it there for a second and say ‘thinking’ before letting it leave. This sets me up for the day and is really good for my mind. 


I am glad I’ve come across ALM Pilates so I’m able to progress with Pilates. Anthony is a great and calm teacher. I enjoy that I’m learning too. It is interesting to get the reasoning behind the importance of posture and why Pilates became a form of exercise. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I’ll have to go back into the office again. I hope there is flexibility so there is opportunity for people to continue to have the balance of exercise and work. It’s great for the mind.


Martin Gittins

“I have always done exercise. From the age of 5 I have played football 3 to 4 times a week. At school, up the local park with friends and with a local football team. At the age of 14 I became a football referee (we aren’t all that bad) to give back and earn some extra money.

When I was 21, I suffered a cartilage injury to my knee that meant I had to step away from playing. The lack of exercise meant I had my first brushes with mental illness, although I didn’t know it at the time. The reduced outlet and coping strategy meant my normal routines were gone.

To ensure I kept a routine and could exercise, I fell back on Refereeing and running gaining promotion through refereeing to semi-professional leagues. Work, refereeing and life balance pressures and stresses forced me to step away from refereeing, again another routine gone.

I am now rebuilding my routines around running.

My running routines give me a firm foundation to build on. Minimum 3km runs 3 times a week, road or trail. For me it is more important to get out and run.

Running has given me an outlet for my stresses, for my anxieties or worries. Running has given me so many coping strategies and has taught me so much that I have used through this year of unprecedented change and with unprecedented challenges to my mental health.

I am taking this year like when running a 10k or half gets tough. Run a mile I am in, focus on this mile not the remaining distance. Take it mile by mile or day by day. Nothing more nothing less.”

HOH Blog

This Girl Can Write

Did you see our first collaboration with Active Suffolk and their This Girl Can ambassadors?

Humans of HIIT was born as result of the pandemic. Motivation was low and routine non-existent. Humans of HIIT brings the motivation to be active through your inspirational stories and are pleased to have This Girl Can ambassadors involved. Collaborating with an organisation with similar values is a great way to inspire more of our community to participate in physical activity.

Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign aims to inspire women to take part in physical activity without the fear of judgement. Humans of HIIT want to encourage you to talk about health and wellbeing through inspirational stories and this is exactly what the This Girl Can ambassadors portray. There are currently 70 ambassadors who have each overcome barriers by doing physical activity and sport. If you are struggling with motivation, this collaboration will give you that much needed boost.

Between 3-9 August, Humans of HIIT shared inspirational stories from the ambassadors. Just like the Humans of HIIT community, the ambassadors highlight the positive impact physical activity has had on them.

This campaign has been particularly important during lockdown because research suggests women are not meeting the 150 minutes of moderate activity over five days. This Girl Can ambassador, Angela Soames felt she could no longer fit everything in. You are probably feeling the same and we hope the stories will inspire you to undertake activities. If you are not sure where to begin, the Humans of HIIT community have regular workouts for you to follow in your own time. No matter your ability, there is an activity out there for you.

The Campaign also celebrates how Ambassadors like Charlotte have overcome barriers relating to mental health. Charlotte opens up about how her fitness levels dropped as she suffered with PTSD but is now walking and horse riding again and like Humans of HIIT, wants to inspire others to overcome barriers.

We hope the stories will encourage you to look at ways to include physical activity into your ‘new normal’ and show you are not alone. We are only human and our stories are from real people who open up about their health and wellbeing and how physical activity has helped them. We want to be an open and honest community to positively help one another.

Check out the full Campaign here! (

Humans of HIIT Male Running

Mickael Boulogne

“Two years ago I decided to get serious about sports. After multiple health problems, exertional asthma, one leg smaller than the other is betting on running a marathon.

A 42 km course seems unthinkable for many people but not for me. The beginning is hard and it always is, but when you want it you can and everyone must have these sentences in mind.

1: Even go for a run if it’s only a mile. 2: Continue without giving up, after a month the progress is dazzling. 3: Prepare a plan for a 5km or a 10km 4: Continue training and prepare the future 42km plan which takes at least 12 weeks. 5: The important thing is to have fun and realize the efforts made and tell yourself that you will always be better than someone who does nothing!

Believe in yourself! Believe in your potential! If you want to follow my training and complete his 42km together: mb_running62

Good luck everyone”