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High intensity exercise: when fast and furious pays


Hiit Fit trainer Fabio Vicente, Liz Valloor, El Keegan and Derek Walshe at the Hiit Fit studios in Ballybrack PHOTO: EL KEEGAN

Hiit Fit trainer Fabio Vicente, Liz Valloor, El Keegan and Derek Walshe at the Hiit Fit studios in Ballybrack PHOTO: EL KEEGAN

Hiit Fit trainer Fabio Vicente, Liz Valloor, El Keegan and Derek Walshe at the Hiit Fit studios in Ballybrack PHOTO: EL KEEGAN

In today’s fast-paced world, finding the time to get fit can be as much of a challenge as exercising itself. Whether it’s work pressure or family demands, lack of time is often cited as a reason for not exercising.

However, a form of exercise known as Hiit Fit, involving high intensity interval training, is becoming increasingly popular amongst those with busy lifestyles, as it promises to deliver results in just 30 minutes.

According to Hiit Fit teacher Fabio Vicente, a half an hour of high intensity exercise, is the perfect way to keep fit and look great.

“Nowadays, when people think of fitness, they think of a 10k run or a 180k bike ride. If you’re busy, then you don’t have time for that. Hiit Fit is about making exercise simple and achievable. Even the busiest people can make time for it as it’s just a half an hour of working hard and then you’re done,” he says.

Fabio runs Hiit Fit classes in his newly -opened studio in Ballybrack, Co Dublin. A qualified physical therapist, the ex-marine has trained in a wide variety of exercise techniques but is adamant that Hiit Fit provides the best results.

“After years of being involved in all types of extreme fitness trends, I started to look at the body in a different way. I no longer saw it as a machine that needed to be able to bench press 150kg or run 10k, so I began to focus on Hiit Fit. I’m getting better results here with clients than I have ever had before.”

Fabio’s classes are limited to four people, providing clients with a personal training experience that means individual needs can be looked after. Based around stations, which include everything from kettlebells and treadmill work to mat work, the routine is comprised of four sets that increase with intensity.

Although classes are challenging and guaranteed to leave you sweating, Fabio insists that, like our 100FITdays challenge, Hiit Fit is suitable for all ages and fitness levels.

“I adapt to my client’s abilities and needs, so if I know someone can go for a heavier weight then I’ll encourage them. If a client needs an exercise to be modified then I’ll do that,” he explains.

Liz Valloor has been attending Hiit Fit classes with Fabio since he opened the studio and says that she’s feeling the best she’s felt in years.

“I got into this as I have type 1 diabetes and an under-active thyroid. It came to a point where, I was in my early 60s and putting on weight, even though I was eating half the amount of food I used to eat. I felt awful, so last November, I decided that this was it, I was going to get fit.”

Liz joined her local gym and started into a new fitness routine full of enthusiasm. However, a few weeks later, she pulled a ligament in her foot and was forced to stop.

“I was feeling fed-up again as I couldn’t walk or do anything. Fabio was recommended to me but I was a bit hesitant at first because of the injury. However, he kept an eye on me and soon I was coming three to four times a week after work and loving it. For the first time in my life I am seeing results and toning,” she says.

Liz is a primary school teacher, working in a disadvantaged school in Dublin. She says that the classes have given her the energy she needs to enjoy her job and the children.

“My mental and emotional health is so much better now. I have the energy to be with the children and think on the spot, which I need to do a lot in my job. I never wanted to reach the point where I was so tired that I couldn’t love the children. I’m feeling great now,” she says.

Derek Walshe runs a hair salon across the road from Fabio’s studio and on hearing about the classes, decided to give them a go.

“Exercising has never really worked out for me before. I’ve joined two or three gyms over the years and have probably lost a couple of thousand euros in the process,” he says. “This is the first thing that I have really stuck with. It really suits my personality and the way I like to train. I didn’t even know I liked to train before this.”

A diabetic, Derek says that the classes have had an immediate effect on his health.

“Within three or four sessions my blood sugar levels were coming down. In the eight weeks I’ve been coming, I have lost over a stone in weight and inches off my chest and waist. Clothes that used to fit me are too big now. It’s fantastic.

“My family are all noticing the benefits of me doing these classes. I have become a lot more nimble and even playing with my daughter is easier now.”

As well as changing his activity levels, Derek has made huge changes to his diet.

“My diet has really cleaned up. I can be so busy in the salon that I often wouldn’t have any breakfast or lunch. I found that regular eating has helped to keep my energy levels up and having snacks like fruit and nuts in the salon is great.

“I am determined to keep going with this. I don’t want to fall back after seeing such good results.”

Freelance photographer El Keegan says that before coming to Fabio’s classes, she had no time for exercise and lived off a diet of take-aways and coffee.

“I was the laziest person ever when it came to exercise and I got away with it. People think that when you are skinny you don’t need to work out. My job involves long hours and no routine, so it can be really hard to find the time to get fit and eat healthily,” she says.

El decided to try Hiit Fit classes as she was suffering with back problems.

“I spend a lot of my time rushing around the city, carrying heavy camera equipment and my back was really weak as a result. Fabio said that the classes would help me to build some strength. My posture is better now and I am no longer crying with back pain at night,” she says.

A unnamed lung condition for which El requires inhalers, has meant finding exercise that is suitable for her to do has always been a challenge.

“My condition behaves like asthma and I get short of breath very easily. I have limits that I can’t go beyond. However, I thought those limits were much smaller before coming to these classes,” she says. “Before, I wasn’t able to walk up the stairs without getting out of breath. Now, I can walk my two dogs and actually enjoy going for a jog, which is completely new for me.”

Hiit Fit classes concentrate on a different area of the body, or aspect of exercise, in every session, providing a full body work-out. El says that this way of exercising works well for her.

“I have Attention Deficit Disorder, so I get bored really easily. The fact that the classes are over so fast is a definite bonus and the diversity of the exercises means the classes are always interesting.”

As well as the physical benefits of attending Hiit Fit classes, El says that the classes have helped her to be more motivated in her everyday life.

“I have suffered from depression for the past few years. If I’m having a low spell, it can be really hard to pull myself out of bed. I have found since coming to these classes that I am a lot more motivated. When you are low, it can be great to get frustration out in a really physical way.

“The longer I have been coming to Fabio, the more I have started to enjoy feeling good. I used to use my lung condition as an excuse to not do things but I have realised that now that you can always do something. Once you get into exercising, it’s great and I never thought I would say that.”




Liz Valloor

My training: I do Hiit Fit classes three or four times a week. I also walk my dogs.

My nutrition: Your nutrition changes the minute you start feeling good. I try to buy low GI foods and I find since I started exercising that I am no longer reaching for something sweet.

My tip for living 100 FIT Days: Exercising with other people makes it more fun. If you have a friend who will work out with you then you can have a bit of a laugh.


Derek Walshe

My training: I do Hiit Fit classes five times a week and have even done two classes in the same day. I also walk my dog for 40 minutes every morning.

My nutrition: I find it’s really important to eat at regular intervals as it keeps your metabolism going. I am also a fan of fish.

My tip for living 100 FIT Days: You need to exercise for at least 30 minutes everyday. Having a positive mental attitude is important as well.


El Keegan

My training: I do two or three Hiit Fit classes a week and I walk my dogs

My nutrition: I have recently made huge changes to my diet. I try to eat a lot of the good stuff now, like sweet potatoes and vegetables. I have recently given up alcohol.

My tips for living 100 FIT Days: Take baby steps as it can be really overwhelming at first. Keep your workout interesting by doing things like changing your exercises or the intensity.

Online Editors