Ripped with HIIT is Cathe Friedrich‘s latest fitness program. Like Xtrain, it can be bought as a program (and you get all of the workout DVDs in a clamshell case) or each workout can be purchased individually. So I am reviewing this in basically the same way I did Xtrain. I will do the program overview (this post) with links at the bottom that link to all of the individual workout DVDs.
Anyone who follows this blog knows I am a huge Cathe workout fan. I enjoy a lot of trainers and have several favorites, but Cathe is my “go to”–she is the best of the best. Her workouts keep getting better and better, and with Ripped with HIIT she has completely outdone herself. I LOVE this series/program. LOVE IT. In these workouts she has created exactly what I have always been looking for in “go to” workouts. I am a cardio + strength junky. They are my favorite types of workouts. The ones in Ripped with HIIT are the best cardio + strength workouts ever. They will get the job done like nothing else. They are incredibly intense. I can feel the muscles working and the fat burning off with every workout. They are that effective.
With all that cloying flattery said–do I have any results to back it up? Uh… no. I have only just completed my first week of Ripped with HIIT and managed to cram all 9 workouts and 2 bonuses into that week. So no real results yet. But I do know what does work with my own body and from the fitness literature I read and this is it. This is what works, wrapped up in this wonderful system.
So, what is Ripped with HIIT? It is 9 workouts that focus on HIIT, heavy strength training and contrast training. Included is 4 cardio/HIIT only workouts, 3 HIIT + strength workouts (one of these is also a contrast training workout) and 2 strength only/contrast training workouts. In addition, you get two bonus abdominal/core workouts. You can just purchase whatever workouts interest you or you can purchase the entire program. If you do the latter, there are also lots of rotation calendars. In fact, unlike Xtrain and STS, Cathe has made the program guide for Ripped with HIIT digital and available to the public. I would not post this link if she had not publicly posted it to Facebook and her forums, so she must not care who looks at it. And I wouldn’t either–looking might induce you to buy! Here is the link to the Ripped with HIIT program guide.
Let’s talk about each modality included in the program. The first is straight HIIT which stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It is a type of cardio that is much more effective than steady state (aerobic) cardio. With HIITs you will exceed the aerobic range and push yourself into your anaerobic state. HIITs consist of short intervals of all out, high intensity exercise alternated with an active recovery. These intervals can be structured a myriad of ways: 30 seconds of intensity and 30 seconds of recovery, 40/20, 20/10, 30/60 and on and on. There are a lot of options and as many opinions on which option is best. The key however is during the intensity phase to max yourself out. Otherwise you are missing the point.
Ripped with HIIT uses this concept in several different ways. First there are 4 approximately 30 minute cardio HIITs–Plyo HIIT 1 & 2 and Low Impact HIIT 1 & 2. These are cardio only and as the titles suggest one contains lots of plyometrics (high impact, explosive exercises) and the other is low impact and so uses other means to get your heart rate into the anaerobic range. The other way these are done is alternating HIITs with strength work. So you do a maxed out cardio interval and your recovery is very active–strength work. You will see this in HIIT Upper Body Circuit, HIIT Lower Body Circuit and Lift It Hit It Legs.
The other modality is contrast training. This is something I had heard about before (it is used in P90X2) and have even done (without knowing I was doing it). In fact, Cathe has used contrast training in some of her other workouts, but not like she uses it in her Lift It Hit It workouts. In the Lift It Hit It workouts you use contrast training for every single exercise–not just to finish off a muscle group (which is the way she generally used it in past workouts). Contrast training is a combination of heavy and light lifting–so you are alternating the loads. The end result is more muscular power. The way this is accomplished is you do a traditional strength training exercise with a heavy load then immediately follow it up with an exercise that works the same muscle group in a similar fashion with a lighter load. The exercise is also generally done with force and velocity–something explosive. This is done more easily in lower body workouts but it can still be done in upper body workouts and Cathe accomplishes it in her Lift It Hit It workouts: Back, Biceps & Shoulders, and Chest, Triceps & Shoulders.
The combination of these workouts (combined with a clean, healthy diet) should sculpt a lean, powerful body. However, I do not think these are the only fitness modalities a body needs. You also need flexibility and recovery. The rotation calendars do incorporate rest days which are absolutely necessary with all of the explosive plyometrics in this system. But there is no flexibility other than the stretches at the end of each workout and personally, I don’t find them as thorough as Cathe usually stretches you out. So I think it is necessary to include some type of flexibility training into this fitness program.
I am not currently following any rotation calendar. I am doing two weeks of all Ripped with HIIT workouts but after that I plan to combine it with other things. I have a lot of new workouts to try but I do love these workouts so I think for a while at least, I will be sticking primarily to Ripped with HIIT and inserting 1-2 new workouts into my rotation each week. However, the User’s Guide has a lot of rotations! They are pretty awesome! Trust me, I was tempted to forget about ALL of my new workouts for a while and just do Ripped with HIIT rotations. In addition to rotations containing nothing but Ripped with HIIT workouts, she also has one that combines it with Xtrain, one that combines it with STS and another that combines it with her Low Impact Series! And she says there are more to come!
When the review for each workout is complete, it will be linked to this list below. At the time of this writing, I have done all of the workouts and bonuses once but I would like to do them a second time before I post the review, so it will take a week or two to get them all up and linked. The two bonus abdominal workouts are included on every DVD, so I will just paste the same reviews for the ab bonuses at the end of each workout review. Every workout also has various premixes–some are timesavers, some are extreme and some tack on the ab bonuses to the end. Some of them also have a neat concept which I cannot wait to try–it adds one core exercise to each interval. So rather than alternating high intensity cardio with strength work as your active recovery, you do a high intensity interval followed by your active strength recovery which is then followed by core work–that equals one interval. Pretty cool! One negative to some of the premixes (maybe all? I don’t know as I haven’t tried all of the premixes, only a few so far) is that they don’t add the stretch onto the end! Even when the premix description says the stretch is included, it isn’t there. For instance, you do a premix that tacks Bonus Abs 1 onto the end. There is supposed to be a stretch following the abs add on. But it isn’t there. Luckily, Cathe always chapters her workouts excellently. You just go to the chapters menu, scroll to the stretch and tack it on yourself. Problem solved.
Here are all of the Ripped with HIIT workouts.