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Getting Started Guide: CrossFit and HIIT

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Getting Started Guide: CrossFit and HIIT

Intrigued by CrossFit and high intensity interval training (HIIT) but not sure where to start? We asked Vega Ambassadors Chris Ritchie (pro CrossFitter) and Lacey Kondi (founder of Kondi Fitness Studio and Kondi Callanetics at Home Fitness) for their expert advice on what you need to know before you sign up.


  • What to expect: CrossFit is a fitness regimen developed by Coach Greg Glassman over several decades, and has received increased attention and popularity in the last 5 years. CrossFit itself is defined as that which optimizes fitness (constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity). CrossFit emphasises community workouts and support. There are accredited trainers in cities and towns throughout the world. You can learn more at CrossFit.com
  • What to wear: Breathable clothing that provides maximum support. Anything you’ll feel comfortable breaking a big sweat in!
  • How to fuel: Here’s how Chris fuels CrossFit workouts:

Pre-Workout: Vega Sport Energy Bar about 25 minutes before my workout.
Mid-Workout: I sip on Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator. And if the workout is longer to 90 minutes I have Vega Sport Endurance Gel.
Post-Workout: Immediately following my workout, I have a recovery shake a with 4-to-1 ratio of carbs-to-protein.

  • Get to know the lingo: Feel like your CrossFit friends are speaking a different language? Here’s a glossary to start:

-AFAP: As fast as possible
AMRAP: As many reps as possible
Box: Accredited Crossfit gym
KB: Kettlebell
PR: Personal record
Rep: Repetition. One performance of an exercise
RM: Repetition maximum. Your 1 RM is your max lift for one rep. Your 10 RM is the most you can lift 10 times
WOD: Workout of the day from Crossfit.com

  • Don’t be intimidated, just find your box: The right gym can make all the difference. As Chris says, My advice is to find the right gym with the right coach that’s right for you. There has been an explosion of popularity and CrossFit gyms. It’s great that more people are getting fit and healthy but it doesn’t mean that every gym is right for you. When I am in Oregon I train at CrossFit Portland and when I am back home in Toronto I train at the Academy of Lions.”
  • Plant-based CrossFitter? CrossFit and the paleo diet go hand-in-hand. But there are many similarities between those who follow paleo diets and those who incorporate more plant-based foods. We can all agree on adding more veggies, and whole unprocessed foods! Chris was a raw organic vegan for 5 years while doing CrossFit. “I am inspired by Brendan Brazier’s Thrive Diet. My diet is 80% plant-based. I supplement with clean, wild caught fish and grass-fed or wild game meat and free range eggs. At the bare minimum a 75-80% plant-based diet is the best for recovery in CrossFit and HIIT. I just feel that having an alkaline diet puts you in an optimal and prime space you can be in for the intensity of CrossFit.”
  • Be prepared for your first workout: Yes CrossFit is hard, but Chris promises you’ll have fun. Get ready to face your weaknesses head on and maybe find some new ones that you didn’t know you had. Get ready to overcome those and find strength and expertise that you didn’t know you had. Be ready for anything and be ready to have fun.”
  • Workout anywhere: One of Chris’ favorite things about CrossFit is “how independent it’s made me with fitness and athletics. It has allowed me to be a fit and healthy person wherever I go. I can do a workout in a hotel room, or a local park/school yard. You can take it anywhere and be fit wherever you go.” These two workouts Chris relies on when on the road for work:

Workout 1: 50-40-30-20-10 reps of each.

  • Pushups (chest to ground)
  • Sit ups (knees to chest)
  • Squats (below parallel)
  • Do as fast as possible for time.

Workout 2: 5 Rounds for time:

  • Run 400M
  • 10 Burpees (chest to ground, 6” jump)
  • 15 Standing Lunges (15 per leg)
  • 20 Mountain Climbers (each side counts as one rep)

Follow Chris on Instagram @ChrisRitchie and Lacey on Twitter @KondiFitness for more tips and tricks. For customized fueling recommendations for HIIT and CrossFit, use the Vega Sport Product Selector Tool.


  • What to expect: HIIT describes any workout that alternates between timed bursts of intense activity and less-intense activity or even complete rest. These timed periods range from 20 to 60 seconds. For example, you’re running at a high pace on a treadmill for one minute and then slow down to a jog for 20 seconds. Or you do burpees for 40 seconds, and then hold a plank for 40 seconds.
  • What to wear: Breathable clothing that provides maximum support. Anything you’ll feel comfortable breaking a big sweat in!
  • How to fuel: Here’s how Lacey fuels for HIIT classes:

Pre-Workout: Cold-pressed juices and ½ Vega One Meal Bar about 1 hour before a class

Mid-Workout: “You sweat fast and hydration is huge. I suggest Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator in class.”

Post-Workout: “I recommend protein within an hour of the workout. You need to replace what you’ve let go. I like to have a Vega Sport Performance Protein smoothie and then later have a full meal of the protein, complex carb and veggies. If you don’t fuel your body after you pushed your body, you’ll see no benefits to your body.”

  • Not convinced that a short workout can be effective? If you’re used to grueling hours of endurance training, it may seem ridiculous that you could maintain or grow your fitness level with short bursts of high intensity. Lacey says, “HIIT works because it pushes your body to its max for short period. Your body has to learn how to also recover faster which can help athletes of all levels.”
  • Intimidated by treadmill sprints? HIIT is easily customizable for any fitness level Lacey says. “Teachers are trained on where they want to get clients to and it’s easy to adjust based on your fitness level. We suggest speeds—take it right up in that 1 minute or 45 seconds. You can start with the time that works for you. Your goal is to do work that you can do, but that will take you out of your comfort zone. Recovery is not stopping—it’s slowing down to walking or jogging. HIIT teaches you control of your body, where you can take yourself and where you can go.”
  • What if there are no HIIT classes near you? Try your own routines at home, using a printed workout or log-on to the Kondi Callaneticsfor an extensive library of fitness videos 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!

Lacey Kondi – Founder of Kondi Fitness Studio and Kondi Callanetics at Home Fitness





Do you do HIIT or CrossFit? What are your top tips for beginners?


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