Rheumatoid arthritis and exercise – HIIT class number 2


Week 2 of my “Back to gym” campaign.  My fourth class since joining the new HIIT gym and indoor cycling studio.  I have pledged to go every day at lunch time, except for those days where the pain is really too awful.  I figure if I aim for five times a week, I should get there at least four times most weeks. There’s always the weekend to add in an extra class, although I do know from history that going on weekends tends to be harder, and I get distracted by kids, work and well, life really.   But four times a week should be enough to attain a good level of fitness and increase my strength and endurance.

Still, I made every excuse under the sun today.  I’m too tired.  I’m too sore.  Exercising will hurt.  Or rather, hurt MORE.  I don’t want to hurt more.  I’m still sore from last week.  I need rest.  Did I say I’m tired?

But I ignored myself and went to the class.

Walking in is intimidating every time. People gather in small groups, most people work in the nearby offices and come together.

I’m on my own.   So I jump on a bike to give me something to do and smile awkwardly at anyone who’s eyes I meet.

The coach arrived, and said the dreaded words “We’re going to work in partner’s today”

I HATE partnering up.  For an obese, arthritic, lop-sided, partially paralysed, very unfit, middle-aged introvert, there is nothing worse than trying to find a partner in a room full of fit young things.

Luckily, as I looked around the room, no one wanted to meet my eye, except a group of older (40ish)  ladies who walked in a little late.

Thank the gods!  They smiled at me, and I joined their threesome, making two groups of two. They were friendly enough.  One was particularly nice and helped me with some of the exercises.  I’m forever grateful for experienced people who are kind enough to take time out of their workout to help someone else. 

The format of the class was supersets – two exercises done back to back, with no rest, for a total of 6 minutes per set of exercises. There were six exercise stations, for a total of 36 minutes of intense working out.

The exercises were:

Station 1:   Bench press  /  Tricep kickbacks

Station 2:  Single Arm Kettle Bell row / Weight plate shoulder raise

Station 3:  Slam squat thruster / Band front raises

Station 4:  Plate overhead backward lunge /  Bulgarian split squat

Station 5:  Dumbbell Romanian deadlifts / Hip lift with Hamstring curl

Station 6:  Kettlebell deadlift /  Weighted backsquats

It was hard.  I liked this trainer less than last week’s because he didn’t put out light weights.  Would it be so hard to cater to the very unfit, the beginners, the arthritic, or otherwise impaired?  It’s very uninspiring when every exercise is too hard, and every weight is too heavy, and you can’t finish a full set of anything.  Its easy to feel defeated.  Instead, if you put out light weights, allowing people like me to do the exercises with weights they can manage, you leave them feeling empowered, strong, like they’ve done something good.  And they are much more likely to return.

As it is, I’m kinda dreading Thursday’s class.  Because today’s class was so hard.  But I WILL return.  I will keep working at it. I WILL get stronger. I will get fitter.  All of the above.  But to do that, I need to do just one thing – keep going back.  That’s all.  Just keep turning up, every lunchtime, and work as hard as I can. 

And that’s what I will do.


  1. I always find starting exercise difficult. Be it starting the day, the year or a new set of reps. I have to remember that I do like doing it once I get going. Ah someday, I will get over the starter anxiety.

    • So true Rick! Life has gotten in the way for me, and I’ve only been once since HIIT class number 2. Each day that I miss makes starter anxiety so much worse! But I will get there. Tomorrow…


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