Am I too old for HIIT training & Les Mills Grit? Over 40 Fitness

am i too old for HIIT training & les mills grit

So there I was… am i too old for HIIT training & les mills grit
A 40-something mother heading into my first Les Mills Grit class.

How was I feeling?

Well, If I’m being perfectly honest I was something-that-rhymes-with-grit-ing myself!

A strangely addictive mixture of terror and excitement.
What was in store for me?
Could my 45-year-old puny body handle it?
Would I make it to the end without having to cry, pass out or vomit?

A class like GRIT has a bit of a scarey reputation.
The uber-fit, beautiful (and young) people seem to love it.
Was it for me?
Am I too-old for Les Mills GRIT?

Would I make a right GRIT of myself?

am i too old for HIIT training & les mills grit

What is Grit?

Before I get stuck into the nitty Gritty (couldn’t resist that, sorry) I must tell you that this post has not been written in collaboration with Les Mills, my local gym… any gym… or anyone!
It’s just me having a blether with you about something I’m interested in.

I wanted to share my experiences, in case you’re considering giving it a go too!

There are 3 types of Grit classes available at my local gym:

  • Grit Athletic
  • Grit Cardio
  • Grit Strength

All of which last 30 minutes.
30 minutes doesn’t sound very long at all but trust me when I tell you they’ll feel like the longest 30 minutes of your life!

I’ve tried all three Grit classes and they’re all as hard as each other.
When I say hard I mean HARD.

These classes are tough no matter what age you are, or how fit you think you are.
The warm-up feels like a workout in itself and then it’s 20 minutes of a full-on-sweat-fest after that.

{TIP: When you hit the Core track you’ve made it to the end so just keep going until then.}

I found Grit Strength the toughest and (oddly) the most enjoyable.
Call me a masochist but I love that feeling of utter exhaustion.
Like I’ve given EVERYTHING.
If I’m on my knees at the end of a class then it’s a win for me!

DISCLAIMER: Of course, you only get out of a class what you put into it.
If you piddle about at the back, not doing very much, not giving it your all you won’t get the same benefits as someone who hits it full pelt.
Vomiting into your gym bag is only for the truly dedicated!

am i too old for HIIT training & les mills grit

Grit athletic:

Official blurb:

Les Mills GRIT Athletic incorporates speed, strength, agility, and explosive power to enhance your athletic performance. … Les Mills GRIT Athletic uses a bench and a weight plate combined with bodyweight exercises and other multi-dimensional sports conditioning training.

The reality: 

Lots of jumping over, off and onto a bench. 
Dynamic movements.
Explosive stopping and starting.
High impact.

None of the movements follow the music in any of the Grit classes, which I didn’t enjoy as I like to follow a strong (and loud!) beat.

The movements were very ‘sports’ focused in this athletic option.
The clue is in the name I suppose BUT I wasn’t prepared for imaginary balls.
It did feel pretty testosterone-fuelled.
(Maybe just my perception?)
I didn’t really enjoy that aspect of it.
Balls and I don’t really get on.

{You’re looking at the last person picked for the school rounders team}

However, I loved the jumping and leaping around.
I like burpees, mountain climbers and anything that involves propelling yourself through the air.
It was a really sweaty workout.

I felt like I’d worked hard and when we got to the core track I felt like I’d achieved something amazing!

Grit Cardio:

Official blurb:

GRIT Cardio is a 30-minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout that improves cardiovascular fitness, increases speed and maximises calorie burn. This workout uses a variety of bodyweight exercises and provides the challenge and intensity you need to get results fast.

The reality:

Grit cardio was fun and TOUGH.
Running on the spot, high knees, jumping around like a loon.
Burpees, mountain climbers, push-ups, bear crawls… all of those good things.

Really hard, LOTS of FUN.
The instructor was tough and encouraged us to give our all.

I loved it!

Grit Strength:

The official blurb:

GRIT Strength
 is a 30-minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, designed to improve strength and build lean muscle.

The reality:

Holy Moley!
This one is a tough cookie.

Flinging a heavy barbell over your head is intimidating.
I was worried that my less-than-chunky arms might just snap off mid hang clean.

No quarter was given for age, height, sex, body weight or muscle mass.
We all had a minimum weight we had to lift (most had even more weight on their bars) and it seemed incredibly heavy to me.
I was scared.

So we start doing clean and presses.
High pulls.
Hang cleans.
Then we move on to lunging, more squatting.
The bar gets tossed and it’s burpees, push-ups, squat jumps… grab the bar again more throwing it around.
On and on it went.
Non-stop rock-solid action.
At times I thought…

“I can’t make it”

“I’m going to have to stop”

I didn’t.
I kept going.

(Helped A LOT by the fact my friend was by my side giving it her all too)

The class was exhausting.

However, the sense of achievement was huge and at the end of it all I felt STRONG.
Tortured but strong.

My body felt sore afterwards, which I really like.
A good “worked my backside off’ sore not “I’ve hurt myself” sore.
This class was a win for me.


I’ve never exercised before, will Grit suit me?

Short answer… NO.
You may die on your arse.
{When I say MAY I mean WILL}

The instructors talk about “options” but the only sensible option is to pick somewhere else to start your fitness journey and build up to Grit.

Try some low impact options to start with like Aquafit, Bodybalance, yoga.
Move on to Bodypump, Bodyattack, Bodycombat.
Then try Grit.

{You may still die on your arse though!}

What should I wear?

Grit requires decent trainers.
More so than other workouts (IMO).
Keep your clothing lightweight and sweat-wicking.
Forget a fashion look or anything baggy.
Go for form-fitting and don’t worry about looking ‘nice’.
5 minutes in and ‘nice’ has left the building!

Will I feel out of place?

You might.
It depends on who is in the class.

The Grit strength class I went to was full of buff men and super-strong looking (younger) women.
I resigned myself to being a bit of a turkey BUT I sucked it up.
I kept going.
No stopping.
No skiving off.
Yes, I wanted to puke BUT I got through it.
I did my best, right up to the end.
As long as you go in with a similar attitude you can’t fail.

{Okay, you might fail a little bit but it doesn’t matter}

Can I get injured?

I would say that sustaining and injury in Grit (especially grit strength) could happen if you don’t build up some general fitness first.
Throwing a barbell above your head at speed could end badly if you’re unstable and unfit.

I’m certainly not the fittest but I know I’m in not-too-bad shape.

My core is half decent and I regularly attend Bodypump classes (3 times a week).
My friends and I encourage each other to push harder and develop which is fantastic.
It’s like having a personal trainer bringing you on.
We don’t slack off.

However, despite that, I still felt grit strength kicked my sorry arse!
You’ve been warned.

Am I too old for Grit?

Absolutely not!

You’re never too old for anything.

Actually, that’s not true…You can be too old for a few things but this is not one of them. 

Age is irrelevant.
Ok, maybe not entirely irrelevant BUT if you’re fit, able and up for a challenge then why not give it a go?

Don’t worry about being the oldest or the least-fit in a class.
No one cares!

Read about some really imspiring women who have overcome challenges to get super-fit.
I know these women personally so there is no BS story-telling here!

  • Clare 
  • Linda

Are you thinking of giving GRIT or another type HIIT class a go?

I’d love to hear how you get on!

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