I haven’t done a workout-related post in quite a while, so I thought I’d provide an overview of my current fitness crush. I’ve mentioned HIIT workouts in the past, usually when noting a morning of Zuzana or Amanda Russell videos. But what exactly are these workouts comprised of? And what’s with the acronym? Or perhaps you clicked on the link to the Zuzana (ZWOW) series, but were overwhelmed by all the videos, and didn’t know where to begin. This post will provide an overview of the HIIT concept, and will also give a brief summary of the first ten ZWOW (Zuzana’s workouts) videos so you know what you’re getting yourself into!
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. The method involves doing short burst of high intensity fitness moves with short rests in between. This could be anything from sprints on a treadmill, to more full-body workouts that combine cardio and strength training (like the ZWOW series). Studies show that you can get the same result in a HIIT workout that takes 20 minutes, than you could doing moderate exercise (like running) for an hour or more (for example). Here’s a handy graphic for you from Greatist:
My favorite HIIT workouts are the ZWOW series. Zuzana, formerly of Bodyrock.tv, has been offering a free new workout every week on her Youtube channel. I’ve done all of them and love them all! As I’ve noted before, I tend to pair a few of these together to create a more substantial workout (followed by a yoga class), but even just doing one will improve your fitness level! Her workouts are also great because she does the whole workout with you, which is something many Youtube fitness folks do not do—-(they’ll go through a 20 minute workout in 6 minutes, for example, showing you only a few seconds of each move, which gets hard to follow. Amanda Russell tends to do this, but if more people subscribe to her videos, she’ll do longer ones, so subscribe!)
The only problem with the ZWOW series is that she doesn’t provide descriptions of the workouts below the videos. Now that she’s getting into double digits, it might be hard to remember what each one entails. And sometimes you really want to do a leg-heavy workout over an arm-heavy workout, or maybe you only have ten minutes to get in a quick sweat, and don’t remember which of hers are shorter. To help, I thought I’d make a little guide to each video, highlighting the amount of time it takes, body parts most worked, whether or not you need equipment, hardest moves, etc. You can find all of these videos on her Youtube Channel, ZuzkaLight.
ZWOW #1: full-body, but a bit more leg-heavy. three rounds of five exercises, to be done as fast as you can. this is Zuzana’s first video after a bit of a workout break, so she admits she has some room for improvement. after doing this one a few times, I got my time to under 15 minutes. Most Challenging Move: Pistol Squats (still can’t get as low as her!) Equipment: None.
ZWOW #2: a bit more arm-heavy. also includes some explicit ab moves, and although all of her videos work your abs, these are actual sit-ups. About 15 minutes. Most Challenging Move: 20 Low Burpee Hops! Eep! Equipment: None.
ZWOW #3: total leg workout. probably my least favorite workout due to my hamstring injury :( , and also because there’s not as much cardio. But it’s on a rooftop at night, which is neat! Just under 20 minutes. Most Challenging Move: One leg lunge; (but that’s probably due to the fact that I’m in severe pain from my hamstring). Equipment: kettle ball or free weights.
ZWOW #4: Possibly my absolute favorite! Totally full-body. Jump rope is incorporated, making this cardio-heavy and intense. Also one of her longer videos-she finishes in 27 minutes, I got my time down to about 25. Most Challenging Move: the jump rope starts to feel pretty grueling toward the end, but the push up/leg twist is also pretty intense. Equipment: jump rope, kettle ball/free weight.
ZWOW #5: Arm heavy, but with spurts of cardio. Only ten minutes. I like this one as a supplement, especially if I want to take it easier on my legs one day. Most Challenging Move: If you use a heavy enough kettle ball, the Sumo Dead lift High Pull. Equipment: Kettle ball/free weight, medicine ball.
ZWOW #6: Another favorite! Full body, ten minutes. I’ve also gotten to the point where I now “lap” Zuzanna, meaning I get in one more full round than she does, which is pretty neat. :) Most Challenging Move: Side Burpees! Equipment: None.
ZWOW #7: Three exercises, four rounds, as fast as you can. Full body, and awesome! Jump rope makes it cardio-heavy, and I felt the burn of the side bends for an entire day afterward. Takes just under 15 minutes. Most Challenging Move: Jump Lunge Side Kick. Equipment: Kettle ball/free weight, jump rope.
ZWOW #8: Another favorite (I think they are all my favorite!)! Six rounds, four exercises, as fast as you can-takes about 15 minutes. More Leg-heavy, but you feel it everywhere. Most Challenging Move: Side plank leg lift (by round six, you want to die doing this one. in a good way, of course!). Equipment: Kettle ball or very heavy dumbbell.
ZWOW #9: Full body, but more leg intense. 10 minutes, as many rounds as you can. It’s super intense, and super good! Also introduces a lot of exercise moves I didn’t know (like the Santana pushup and the Crab Toe Touches). Most Challenging Move: 3 Pike Plyo Tucks (especially by the last round, ugh!). Equipment: None.
ZWOW #10: Another ten minute workout. Only three exercises, but you have to push to get in as many rounds as possible. Fairly equal arm and leg work happening, with jump rope for some good cardio. Most Challenging Move: Reptile Burpees (tough, but a favorite move of mine). Equipment: Kettle ball or heavy dumbbell.
And in case you needed some motivation other than the fact that this will do amazing things for your fitness levels (your heart will be so grateful!), may I remind you of what Zuzana looks like: