Humans of HIIT Male Physical Impairment Running Sport Weight Loss Workouts Classes

Jon Wheatley

I’ve always been a pretty fit and healthy person; very active and not one to sit inside and watch Netflix on a day off. Technically I am what old fashioned scales (like BMIs) would call overweight, but I’m healthy and very comfortable. In 2018 I completed my first marathon (narrowly missing out on a sub 4-hour finish by 3 minutes, despite never training passed 13 miles).  I’ve always stayed fit through football, going for runs after work, longboarding, cycling, swimming, walking/hiking, basically anything other than the gym. 

Unfortunately, I’ve spent the last 6 months recovering from ACL and cartilage damage in my right knee, and about 80% of my exercise and physical activity is highly impacting on this.  It’s been a tough recovery; having gone from it taking me 5-10 seconds for my brain to process actions involving the joint to straightening my leg, walking, cycling and swimming.  I’m still in a position that I may need surgery, but that won’t be known until once a certain C word has passed!   

The downside of this injury is that now I definitely am overweight!  I weighed myself recently and wasn’t surprised to see that I have put on over a stone since this occurred!  It has however given me the motivation to correct this; furloughing me has had some benefits!  I am really enjoying exploring alternative exercises to what I have traditionally taken part in.  I have the time to test out workout routines and pilates/stretching and can still enjoy my long cycles.  I have been following my friend’s HIIT workouts that he leads on Zoom and enjoying exercising with others able to see and support me. I am learning what I can and can’t do and what I am feeling the benefit from.  I must be cautious of my knee and will adapt or replace exercises if required.  I’m beginning to feel healthier already and confident in my strength and knee at the moment, and very motivated and determined to use my time off from work to return to a healthier weight.


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Female Humans of HIIT Running School Weight Loss

Leanne Sheill

“Growing up I avoided sport at all costs, skipping every sports day and regularly producing notes with reasons not to attend P.E. I started running at 24 after losing 2st at slimming world and realising that I could eat off-plan providing I ran a 5k each day. I became a little obsessed with the distance and had no desire to run any further… if regular short runs achieved what I needed them to, why would I run any further?

I attended a party a few months later and my friend’s sister was telling us about a 10k race she had in the morning. I found myself thinking ‘why can’t I do that?’ so decided to ask her more about it. She told me she was a member of our local running club and invited me to go along with her. The Tuesday after I went to my first intervals session. Naturally my anxiety was through the roof, all I could think was ‘I’m going to be the slowest and make a fool of myself’, reassuring myself with ‘hey, at least I’ll never see these people again’. 

I loved every second. From the P.E.-style warm up’s to rainy sprints and cheesy cool-down jokes. There were people of all ages and abilities who shouted ‘well done!’ as they passed you, it opened my eyes to how sport can empower people rather than what was my previous experience, it having to be focused on ability and competitiveness.  

I’ve been a member of Hedge End Running Club for 18 months now and I’ve found the sessions I love the most are those that are the most challenging. There are people of all abilities, who inspire me in different ways all the time. A year into joining I had completed the Hampshire Road Race League (HRRL), my first half marathon and signed up to run the 2020 Brighton Marathon. 

In the past two months, my relationship with sport has evolved further than I ever imagined. I had no idea the challenge I was taking on when signing up to run a marathon, how it would impact my diet, my social life and how constantly exhausted I would feel.

I found new appreciation and understanding for the human body. The science behind my training was working: eating the right carbohydrates, not drinking alcohol and scheduling slow runs to train different muscle fibers were just a few of the changes I made. All of a sudden, I felt like I was flying when I ran my Tuesday interval sessions and heading out for a 10k was just like the ‘easy’ 5k runs I’d do if I were having a bad day. 

I ran my first 20 miles in late February where I experienced absolute exhaustion for the first time. I was so fatigued that I felt as though my brain function had halted, I remember thinking ‘your legs are going to give way, you need to stop’… but somehow my legs kept moving. It was at that point that I felt confident I had the muscle memory to carry me through the 26.2; my training was working.

Today (19 April) I was meant to run the Brighton Marathon but it was cancelled last month as a result of the coronavirus lockdown. I was completely devastated by the news and in the weeks that followed, lost all motivation to run and found myself drinking and eating a lot more. However, I couldn’t shake the need to do something on behalf of all the people who had donated to my fundraiser. 

I knew with the current measures it wasn’t sensible to attempt the full distance on my own, so headed out for a 14-mile run and made up the final 12.2 on my bike. Conditions were so perfect this morning that I ran my fastest half marathon, 20k and 10 mile; I’m convinced that if the marathon did go ahead I could’ve achieved the sub-4 I was hoping for. 

This summer is due to be a busy one so I’ve decided not to run the marathon on its new date in September, I’m secretly hoping for a spot in London 2021! I feel at peace with the situation now and am grateful for what my training experience has taught me.”


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Humans of HIIT Male Running Sport University

Phil Samuel

Exercising has always been a part of my life because as soon as I could walk I was kicking a football. However, once I stopped playing football at 18 I felt like I had a void whereby I didn’t have a sport to play but wanted to stay fit. Fitness has its own interpretation to everyone. From ages 18 until now I have an internal conflict that means my goals change almost every 6 months and I guess it falls in to two categories: cardio or strength. 

During the winter I normally persue cardiovascular fitness. I’m quite lucky in that aspect that I can improve my fitness relatively quickly but it does mean my goals get more ambitious each year. During my time at university I got involved with athletics club meaning I would run relatively regularly which enabled me to achieve a few personal goals. My proudest are running my first marathon at 18 and at the age of 21, I did a double marathon (an 85km race) that took me 11 hours to complete. Being cardiovascularly fit is great and when you finish the race you’ve trained for months for it seems all worth it. I’d love to say it was all easy and I enjoyed all of the process to crossing the finish line however that’s far from the case. There’s a few things that I really didn’t enjoy about running at least 5 times a week. Firstly, the majority of the training was through the winter and trying to find motivation to go for a run when it’s 2 degrees and hammering down outside is not easy. Were there days when I really didn’t want to run? Yes, lots of them and I’d love to sit here and say “and I went anyway” but that’s just not true. Missing runs was a regular thing (probably once a week) and I’d always feel guilty after. However once you’ve missed a run, there’s no point dwelling on it so you might as well just focus on the next training run. 

Another thing I don’t enjoy about running a lot is what it does to my body weight. I lose a lot of weight when I’m in race condition and although it’s not unhealthy, it’s not a physique I enjoy. During the winter it’s fine because everyone’s wrapped up in coats and it doesn’t matter. But when you get to summer and you’re around people who have been in the gym all winter, you look very skinny and it’s not a feeling I particularly enjoy. This then leads me to want to get back in to the gym and start weight training. 

I normally start weight training in April time when my body weight is at its lowest (around 70kg) and I’ll try and bulk over the next 4-5 months before September comes and I’m back to uni athletics. I find that as long as I incorporate going to the gym in to my daily routine I tend to go most days. The first couple of months are always the easiest with numbers flying up and some mass becoming more noticeable. However after 3 months of the same routine and exercises it can be hard to maintain focus and commitment but on the most part it’s okay. The thing I find hardest isn’t lifting the weight, it’s consuming enough calories to continue to enable growth. If I’m bulking I’ll probably eat around 4500-5000 calories a day and that enables me to gain weight at a steady rate. Eating that much food sounds amazing until you realise how much rice that is. Kilos of the stuff a week. Obviously I could eat more fatty foods but I’d rather keep a healthy diet. 

Over the next 5 months I aim to put on around 8-10kg which is pretty realistic. I do have days where I can’t be bothered to go after work and I just accept that that’s part of it. So September rolls around, I’m feeling strong but I wouldn’t have done much cardio, maybe a couple of runs a week, and I’d be too heavy to compete in atheltics so I cut down my gym sessions and I run more. 

On the whole I enjoy staying fit and I feel lost without physical activity. It boosts my mood and makes me feel like I’ve achieved something with my day. There are days when I really can’t be bothered to do anything and that’s okay, there’s no point beating yourself up over it. Staying happy is more important than an extra workout.”


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Female Humans of HIIT Male Running

Michael and Gabs

“After doing several half marathons, we decided to step up to full marathon distance. London was set to be the first one for both of us and training was going well. Unfortunately, current circumstances meant it was postponed to October. With so many charities struggling for funds currently, we decided we would come up with a challenge as part of #twopointsixchallenge to make sure our charities would still get some money at this time of year.

Our challenge was to run 23 laps each of the farm we live on, in a relay, then run a final 47th lap together. This took the total distance to 26.2 miles and we completed it in 3 hours 36 minutes and 15 seconds between us. I’m raising funds for Lord’s Taverners as they do great work as the UK’s leading youth and disability cricket charity. Gabs is raising funds for Cancer Research UK as she lost her mum to Breast Cancer in 2015.”


Thank you from the Humans of HIIT community for sharing your story!