Lesson 4.1: High Intensity Interval Training and Mindfulness

Module 4 Objectives
  1. Exercise:  The benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
  2. Psychological: What is mindset and mindfulness.
  3. Exercise: Understanding core strength and learning the basic “crunch”.
  4. Exercise: How to do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Well Done for Getting this Far

A message from Dr Marlene Tham


High Intensity Interval Training

High intensity aerobic interval training (HIIT) can be effective in helping you manage your weight. In particular it is effective at raising your metabolic rate, quickly in a short space of time which increases your fat burning capacity, helps build energy fibres in your muscles (mitochondria) and pushes your fitness to new levels.

Our Medical & Mind Weight Loss physiotherapist explains how we can do high intensity interval training for both weight loss and fitness. She will also give a simple demonstration of HIIT with a video at the end of this module.


Mindfulness is the sense of being completely immersed in the present. It is about experiencing what we are doing right now and not thinking about what we have done yesterday or what we could be doing tonight


It is so important to be in the moment when you are eating. How many times have we gone to the cinema only to find that we have eaten an entire carton of pop corn ¼ of the way into the movie and we cannot even remember eating it, or polishing off a whole block of chocolate in front of the TV at night. Whenever you eat a meal, it is important you take the time to enjoy every mouthful without the distractions of watching television or playing on your ipad.  Such distractions may cause you to gobble your food and finish a meal without your brain consciously registering any taste, pleasure or the amount you have eaten. It is one of the main causes of why we overeat and reach for seconds or third helpings despite our stomachs actually being full. It is also a terrible example for your children or younger people around you to gobble or to be doing other things at meal times. Remember that poor modelling to our young adults is one of the prime reasons for our jump in childhood obesity.

Dr Terence Chong, our Medical & Mind Weight Loss psychiatrist, describes to us what mindfulness is in the video below.

How Does Mindfulness Help You?

Mindfulness helps us deal with anxiety and depression by teaching us techniques that help us to engage more. If we are more immersed in what we do, we are less likely to focus on the negatives of the past, or to overthink an unpleasant situation and to gain real perspectives from taking a helicopter view of the moment we are in.

Here are some great examples from Epworth Clinic of how you can incorporate mindfulness into your work day: Are we eating our way mindlessly towards obesity? The Smiling Mind app is a wonderful free program suitable for both adults and children.



Your mindset may be holding you back from exercising. A survey done by the Jean Hailes for Women’s Health found that 60% of Australian Women reported themselves as overweight were four times less likely to exercise because of embarrassment about their appearance when exercising. For men, it was concern that their weight would cause injury to their knees or lower half of the body. Don’t let the fear of your appearance hold you back. Focus on how good you will feel when you are fitter and have lost weight. Simply, get outside (you do not need to join a gym), and start walking as a start.

The pace at which we eat


eating, calling, drinking, driving


Just as we do not register the taste and amount of food we eat when we are not being mindful, eating too quickly and swallowing food before it is properly chewed is another cause of over eating. Eating on-the-run is a by-product of today’s society and lifestyle where a meal is often “sandwiched” between other activities. Instead of enjoying food, we often “get it over and done with” so we can move onto the next activity. There is no doubt that there will be some days where we have very little time to enjoy food. But we should make this the minority and take the time to sit down and eat slowly whenever we can. A classic example is eating our lunch as quickly as possible in front of our computer at work so we can get through our work quicker. For the younger generation, re-fuelling while texting is a common way to be mindless about our eating.

Building Abdominal Muscles for Core Strength

Woman Exercising With Fitness Ball In Living Room

The sit-up, when done correctly, tightens and tones the abdominal muscles that run from beneath the sternum to above the pelvis. It builds core strength which is important for good posture and back health.

  • The head and neck muscles should be completely relaxed and the hands in position to steady the head. The neck should be as straight as possible.
  • Feet should be kept flat on the floor and shoulder distance apart at all times.
  • The back should be flat on the floor, but not completely. The hips and shoulders should be completely in contact with the floor but the back has a natural curve which should be maintained.
  • The back should neither be arched too much, nor should the arch be pressed into the floor.
  • The chin should be kept away from the chest, to avoid restricting breathing.
  1. The point of the sit-up is to bring the sternum and the pelvic cavity close together.
  2. Starting at about 180 degrees and using the stomach muscles, bring the body up 30 degrees but no more. Exhale when coming up into the sit-up position and breathe in on the way back down.
  3. This movement should be repeated from ten to 15 times, followed by a 30-second pause, and then another set of repetitions.

We will slowly incorporate this into our exercise regime from this week onwards.


How to do High Intensity Interval Training

Erica, will now demonstrate how to do HIIT on an exercise bike. If you have an exercise bike at home, join in. Otherwise you can watch how Erica does the intensity and rest phases and apply the same principles to your walking, jogging, swimming, stair climbing or any other exercise you do.

This Week’s Incidental Exercise

Step to It. Walking uses every muscle and keeps the heart pumping. Combine this with some mindfulness and you have a recipe for a clean mind and a clear heart. Do you look after children or have a pet that needs exercise? Take them down to the beach, park or nature trail and get them involved too. Just like you, your pets and children also need a good level of exercise.

Five benefits of walking:

  1. Walking is a great way to implement mindfulness into our day, as we finally slow down and take in our surroundings.
  2. It enhances insulin sensitivity
  3. It utilizes fat efficiently and preserves lean tissue
  4. It forces our body to get out of hibernation
  5. It improves mood and motivation


Go to Lesson 4.2 for this week’s eating and exercise guide


Back to: Redefine™ Metabolic Weight Loss Program > Module 4: Week 4