How to best prepare and cool down from a HIIT workout

How to best prepare and cool down from a HIIT workout

When it comes to getting the most out of your High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout, you may be surprised to find that a large component to your workout success lies in your preparation and cooldown before and after your workout, not just the workout itself.

In order to prepare yourself for your best burn yet as well as help you cool down so you don’t get too sore that you lose momentum, here are our top tips on getting the most of your HIIT training. 


Choose the right energy source:

If you’re on a prescribed exercise plan and supplements are a part of your transformation, be sure to time your consumption accordingly prior to your workout. Weight loss shakes and supplemented drinks (like carnitine in water) may need to be consumed 30 minutes prior to workout to avoid cramps or the sluggishness that comes with a full belly. Recommended carbs or meals will also need to be scheduled accordingly. 

Dress appropriately:

HIIT workouts require a level of agility and limberness. You won’t feel agile with layers and layers of baggy clothing getting in the way. Be sure to dress appropriately for your workout without having any unnecessary layers hindering your movement. You won’t have to go out and buy a brand new activewear wardrobe but you will need to consider what gym wear will suit your type of workout. 

Pre workout stretch:  

This is perhaps the most crucial component of all. HIIT workouts are just that: high intensity! You’ll need to ensure that you avoid injuries or extreme soreness by stretching every muscle beforehand. From your legs to arms to those pesky muscles you didn’t know existed, aim to stretch your whole body beforehand to avoid regretting it later on.

Post Workout

Post workout stretch 

Once again, an additional stretch after a hard workout will help you avoid those savage “DOMS” and make sure you can walk down stairs relatively normally after a tough leg day. Stretching will also help you lean out your muscles so that they don’t bulk up and also relax your body from any lingering tension. 

Help assist muscle regeneration 

Once your hardcore workout is done and dusted, you’ll need some recovery food to help with your muscle regeneration. If you haven’t received guidance in this particular area from a specialist, a great start is consuming grapes right after your workout, and of course drinking lots of water to stay hydrated. 

Get in touch for more HIIT insights

These are just some of the things you can do to ensure that you’re fully prepared for your workout as well as fully cooled down to heal the body after strenuous exercise. We here at Pinnacle Health are dedicated to empowering our clients to face their fitness challenges head on and achieve the results they envision.

If you want to find out more info about the best means of prepping the body as well as the best exercises for effective weight loss and overall fitness, get in touch with our team today and we’ll get you on your way to your transformation. 

5 Ways to Boost your Immunity During the Coronavirus Outbreak

As more and more cases of coronavirus continue to pop up around the globe, you may be wondering: how can I boost my immune system and stay healthy throughout this pandemic?

Beyond the obvious hand-washing, social distancing and staying at home tactics, there are a multitude of ways you can continue to remain strong both physically and mentally throughout this situation to ensure your well-being and health does not diminish. 

Relax and meditate

Meditation might seem like a strange concept at first, but if this is something you have been reluctant to try, now is the time to give it a crack. Meditation not only helps you to clear your head and focus on yourself during stressful situations, but it can also help to keep your immune system functioning properly. 

Be mindful of what you’re eating

Paying attention to what you’re eating and being conscious when it comes to your diet is a great way to ensure a healthy immune system. The easiest way to maximise your nutrition is by consuming an array of vegetables, fruits, proteins and carbohydrates. There are a variety of nutrients that play a huge role in building immunity. 

Carrots, kale and apricots contain beta carotene, which is then converted to vitamin A, vital for producing antibodies that respond to toxins and foreign substances. Oranges and broccoli are a great source of vitamin C which helps the body determine what kind of protection is required. Vitamin D can help reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses. Good sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, eggs and plant milk products. 

Stay active 

Even if you’re someone who regularly engages in fitness activities, during these trying times finding the motivation to get up and get after it can be challenging. Whether you attend fitness classes on a weekly basis or wake up and hit the gym each morning, with the new ban on health club attendance you are likely struggling with the idea of instead running outside or investing in online fitness classes.

Let’s work on finding motivation together! Join our virtual community at Pinnacle Health Club for coach and peer support. Whether you’re searching for calming pilates and yoga or kick-butt HIIT Strength classes, our online community can help guide and support you while at the same time providing challenges for you to level up you exercises.  

Get plenty of rest

If you’re one of the thousands of employees who have switched to remote work, your morning and evening routines have likely changed drastically. While your schedule may be flipped upside down, take advantage of your new situation and use that extra time to get some much-needed z’s. To keep your immune system strong, experts recommend getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night. 

Find creative ways to manage stress

Psychological stress can increase your chances of acquiring an illness. Also, when experiencing stress it’s common to fall back on unhealthy habits, including drinking, smoking and even eating junk food. It’s ok to feel stressed, afraid and anxious. If you’re finding yourself panicking more than usual, find activities that help relieve these stressful feelings. Whether it’s connecting more with friends and family or getting active with Pinnacle Health Club’s virtual online community, finding creative ways to manage anxiety will make staying healthy a lot easier.

Meet Melanie, our 8WC Nutritionist

Meet Melanie Sinclair; an accredited Holistic Nutritionist with a Bachelor of Health Science Degree in Nutritional Medicine and our 8 Week Challenge Nutrition Partner. Melanie is wholehearted about all areas of nutrition and over the years has developed a special interest in gut heath and body composition (fat loss/ muscle gain). She believes no one ever looks back from making positive changes to their health which makes being a Holistic Nutritionist very rewarding! Here’s a little more about Melanie… 

I graduated in 2012 and started mainly with one-on-one consultations and workshops. A couple of years ago, I developed a special interest in body composition and purchased a Bio-electrical Impedance Analysis (BIA). Since then I have done lots of scans and added challenges and workshops in gyms and other fitness facilities to my repertoire.

Everyone asks me this and, to be honest, I’m not exactly sure! I’ve always been a huge fan of food and love cooking. My Great Grandad used to make interesting concoctions and there would always be sprouts sprouting in his kitchen and weird things fermenting in jars – so it must be in my blood!

It’s hard to fly by the seat of your pants and eat healthy all the time so everyone has to commit to some kind of food preparation. Some people find it useful to spend a chunk of time prepping for the week ahead, but I prefer to always make extra of everything as I go. This way, you end up with additional healthy snack or have another meal for the next day, or later in the week.

If it’s not fresh, choose packaged products that have 4 or less ingredients. If your liver has to process chemicals or man-made ingredients, it has less capacity to burn fat.

An easy one is high protein cottage cheese (Barambah brand), which you can then add any ingredient to that you have in the fridge or fruit bowl – for example: chopped apple, pear or banana. Alternatively, eat with snow peas, sugar snap peas or left over roast chicken.

Stick to any dishes that are meat or fish and vegetable based! Saying no to that side of chips is hard I know (still gets me alot!), but if you’re after results it’s worth it in the long run.

No one’s perfect so I think a meal you enjoy every now and then is fine. I prefer to call them a ‘free’ meal instead of a cheat meal. My tip around this is: have your ‘free meal’ on days you train. If you splurge with food on a day that you don’t train, it can set you back if your primary goal is fat loss.

Focus on foods you can have! Understand nutrient dense foods and build your meals around them. Experiment with interesting ingredients and don’t make meals too complicated. Start slow if this is a new concept to you and soon your taste buds will adapt and fresh foods will taste better and better. Eventually, you will actually crave fresh and healthy as opposed to processed foods.

Aim for 40 plant foods every week for optimum health! That includes fruit, veg, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. Count what you have now and then set some goals to reach the target of 40!

Melanie is an accredited Holistic Nutritionist with a Bachelor of Health Science Degree in Nutritional Medicine. She can be contacted for consultations here

How Can I get in Shape for Summer?

A couple of days ago, a fitness professional was spruiking his “quick fix” Summer Shape Up program on the radio and it got us thinking: “Summer is less than a month away, is this guy setting his followers up for failure?” To answer our question, we turned to Pinnacle Caribbean Park Coach, Dave Carman

In short, my answer is: Yes. Any fitness program needs to be viewed as a lifelong commitment to health and wellbeing. For some people – especially those who have been inactive for a long time – that might sound exhausting but this sort of thinking is actually more conducive to achieving results both short and long term for the following reasons:

1) Adding another deadline to our already time-poor society adds another stress, and as research shows, stress = weight gain! Extend the timeframe and suddenly you keep up good habits long into Summer, the festive season and beyond!

2) Put unrealistic expectations on people in the first stages of their fitness program and guess what happens when they don’t achieve the weight loss/muscle gain/ or love of fitness they were promised? They give up on themselves.

That’s not to say you can’t develop good habits in a short timeframe – you most definitely can! That’s the difference between programs offered at PinnacleHC (such as the 28 Day Game Changer) and others in the market. The 28Day Game Changer is ALL about offering the highest level of support and education to set people up for long-term success. It’s as much about changing mindsets as it is about fitness – maybe even more.

It’s also important to me that we use the right language with people so they’re not set up for failure. To use language that makes someone who is currently in poor health expect they’ll be in great shape after a couple of weeks can be so damaging to their self-confidence – especially when they don’t achieve what they expected to in the end. Therefore, I would rephrase the original question to: ‘Can I really be healthy for life


Drink more water than you’re drinking now
H20 helps flush out the nasties in your system and regulates many of the key metabolic functions of your body

Find Stress Managing Techniques that work for you
Cortisol, the stress release hormone, is one of the key hormones related to weight gain. Reduce stress and watch your waistline reduce without the need to do 100 sit-ups a day! Quite often we get stressed because we aren’t losing weight so if that’s you, try implementing self-love strategies such as making positive self-talk a part of your every day AND extend your weight loss timeframes (see point 1 above if you’ve skim read to here)

Recruit an Exercise Partner 
It can be a Personal Trainer, a gym buddy, a walking friend, a bike riding group – anyone to keep you accountable. Plus, exercise is always better together!

Add Resistance Training 2-3 times per week
Working out at a fairly high intensity means not only do you burn more calories during the session, but post workout too!

Portion control 
Most of us have eyes bigger than our stomach and often we’re not even aware of the number of calories in our foods. Using a monitoring device – such as PinnacleHC’s Nutrition App – can help you stay on top of your calorie intake. Eating less calories than you burn is still the best way to reduce weight & body fat – provided you’re eating plenty of protein, fresh veggies and doing your weights!

Dave is available for 1-on-1 or 2-on-1 Private Coaching sessions at Pinnacle Caribbean Park. When he’s not specialising in Strength & Weight Training, High Intensity Interval Training, Boxing, Functional Movement or Health Coaching, he’s playing cricket, talking about cricket or thinking about cricket!

Andy & Sara: In It Together

For Andy (32) and Sara (30), this 12 Week Challenge (12WKC) presented an opportunity to draw a line in the sand. “Enough was enough”, says Andy who was on a self-confessed downward spiral of unhealthy habits. For Sara, it was just as personal; “I didn’t want to be “the big girl” who couldn’t keep up anymore. Having not been members of a gym before, they were unsure where to start but knew a team environment would present their best opportunity for success, having both played competitive team sports over the years. Enter Pinnacle Health Club, the 12WKC, and the amazing Upwey community and now – 10 weeks in – it’s safe to say neither Sara or Andy could have imagined their new lease on life. Here’s their story (so far!)…

How did you feel before the 12WKC?
ANDY: Completely shot! It was time for a change in a lot of aspects of life and the 12WKC has reinvigorated me, not just with the exercise but eating habits and choices! It’s even given me the energy and enthusiasm to make changes in other areas like finance and work/life balance.

SARA: In a word: unhappy. I knew I needed to do something but didn’t know what and I was scared to put myself out there. I was nervous walking into the gym – even for the initial chat with the Pinnacle Coach and almost talked myself out of the challenge all together before the first scan.

How do you feel today?
ANDY: Refreshed, recharged, reinvigorated and reenergised! Sara and I are both happier in everyday life, we are laughing more and starting to live a better life than the one we had been living for a while! I genuinely can’t thank Ryan, our 12WKC team mates, and everyone else associated with Pinnacle enough for what the last 3 months has taught me!

SARA: I feel great and have so much more energy but it’s been far more than just exercise and going to the gym – I feel happier, more confident, proud of my achievements and am looking forward to setting new goals and reaching them too. I am enjoying the new routine and look forward to going to the gym – words I never thought I would say!

Best thing about the 12WKC so far?
ANDY: The sense of achievement. We’re in week 10 now and the sessions we’re doing I’d never have been able to do 3 months ago! I’ve also discovered that I love boxing – so much so that I went and bought boxing gear and I’ve been making Sara box with me at home!!

SARA: The people. Coach Ryan and the other 12WKC Crew make every session fun; it’s supportive but we also push each other at the same time. There have been times when I have had to push myself to get up and go but the minute I am there with everyone it’s so much easier to get through the session. I love that every session is different because I’ve been exposed to different exercises – even if that has meant I’ve had to spend time in the spin room!!

Your proudest achievement so far?
ANDY: I’d have to say the Pinnacle Park Run/Walk we did last weekend. It might not seem like a massive achievement to others but completing 3.3kms in 37 minutes proved to me that I’m doing all the right things. Previously the farthest I’d attempted to walk was 2.5kms and that took me at least 50 minutes – if not longer!

SARA: The first time we did the 1000 steps – this was a big moment for me. Having lived around the hills for most of my life I have used every excuse to not attempt the 1000 Steps. The first time we did it as a 12WKC group, we were two weeks in and I was really nervous – I even hoped it would be cancelled due to rain but it wasn’t and I went. Coach Elise and Allie (challenger from another club) were with me the whole way and when I got to the top I was ecstatic and emotional (lots of tears at the top!) Seldom have I been proud of a physical achievement and it felt like a real turning point.

Toughest part of the 12WKC and how you got through it?
ANDY: I’ve struggled with tiredness, energy levels and an injury to my quad. In previous attempts to lose weight the injury would have been all the reason I needed to pack it in and declare it “all too hard”. Coach Ryan has been fantastic – helping me train through the injury, constantly checking-in to make sure what he has planned isn’t too strenuous on the quad and suggesting suitable (and I’m sure, often harder) alternatives!

Sara has kept me on the straight and narrow at home, making sure I haven’t undone the hard work when tiredness (and laziness) have started to creep back in as a convenient excuse.

SARA: Remaining consistent, turning up three times a week and giving it my all. It’s hard to change habits and push myself week-in-week-out.

How has Pinnacle’s Nutrition App helped you?
ANDY & SARA: We used the Nutrition App a lot in the beginning to re-educate ourselves on the types of foods we should be eating to support good nutrition, how often and how much of each macronutrient we should have. Coach Ryan has also checked in with us a lot with regards to nutrition and that has kept us on the right track too!

Any healthy habits to share? 
ANDY: I’ve rediscovered a love of eggs! I think I’ve had an omelette every morning Monday to Friday since we started the 12WKC and my personal favourite would have to be blue cheese and chipotle tabasco sauce!

SARA: The biggest thing I have learnt is to be prepared. Be organised with healthy options so there is always a good choice on hand. Boiled eggs, cut up veggies, portioned out dips in the fridge all mean I make good decisions when I need to grab something quick. I also have things like natural popcorn portioned out in the cupboard so that if I do snack I’m not over eating.

I have often referred to the Pinnacle 12WKC Facebook group to ask questions and ask for inspiration and I think this platform has been incredibly beneficial. Having a forum to ask questions and see food photos and recipes has been great.

Your biggest learning so far?
ANDY: I’ve learnt that I have much more resolve and determination than I thought! And that its more than okay to put myself first rather than trying to please other people all the time. I’ve also learnt the importance of recovery sessions, daily foam rolling and a balanced diet.  My new diet is a sustainable lifestyle change rather than a short-term attempt that will ultimately crash and burn in glorious failure.

SARA: I have learnt that I hate spin classes (ha ha!). In all seriousness, I couldn’t articulate how much I have learnt as it has been incredibly eye opening. From learning a myriad of different exercise techniques and targeting specific areas to researching food and being far more aware of what I am eating and how it impacts my body – it’s been an incredible, life-changing journey.

PINNACLE: Sara & Andy have not only made each other proud, but their Pinnacle Coaches and team mates couldn’t be prouder. They’ve also helped motivate the Upwey 12WKC crew with their cheeky banter and positively infectious personalities! We’re so grateful they chose Pinnacle Health Club and can’t wait to see what else is in store for them.  

Meet Remarkable Rosie

Rosie Raftellis, 22 has been a member of Pinnacle Scoresby for over 3 years and despite being plagued by injuries that required her to undergo two shoulder and one knee reconstruction she has achieved incredible results! Rosie attributes her success to three things: Consistency, a healthy relationship with food and a positive attitude. Read her full story for some guaranteed motivation…

Rosie on her proudest achievements…
I’ve dropped 15 kilos, am no longer afraid of the weights zone and have hit some PBs with weight lifting, as well as learnt new techniques and exercises.

On the changes that helped her achieve these results…
Consistent gym sessions, healthy eating (specifically portion control and no more fad diet, as well as prepping for the week ahead), and most importantly, I’ve developed a better overall attitude to diet and exercise.

On motivation…
Looking at old photos of myself to see how far I’ve come is a great motivator, as are the other gym members. If I’m feeling lazy it’s great to have a good chat to someone else in the gym and feed off their energy.

On what she’s learnt about herself…
If I want it, I can achieve it.

On how Pinnacle has helped…
The 12 Week Challenge was a big turning point for me. The combination of member and coach support, along with fun (but tough!) challenges made it easier to turn up to every session. The friends I made during the 12WKC and the supportive environment you feel as soon as you walk in to any Pinnacle Health Club – along with the recent upgrades to the Scoresby club – have helped keep me motivated to work hard on my goals.

On her proudest moment so far…
Achieving unassisted pull ups!

Rosie’s advice to anyone wanting a positive change…
Negative thoughts won’t get you anywhere.


Leading a healthy lifestyle is all about balance, and balance means enjoying life’s little luxuries such as this delicious Pear and Apple Crumble. It’s perfect for warming tummies on a cold day and – while the apple and pear combination is excellent – it can be made using several combinations of fruit such as mixed berries (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and cherries). An easy dessert with ingredients you probably have on hand.

Serves 4


  • 4 green apples, peeled, cored, sliced
  • 3 pears, peeled, cored, sliced
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/3 cup traditional rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts
  • 6 tablespoons low-fat natural yoghurt, to serve


  • Preheat oven to 180.C. Place apples, pears, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon water into a small saucepan.
  • Cook, covered, over low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until fruit softens.
  • Spoon mixture into four 3/4 cup-capacity ovenproof dishes and place onto a
    baking tray.
  • Combine remaining sugar, flour, oats, oil and nuts in a bowl. Sprinkle over
    apple and pear mixture.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until topping is golden.
  • Serve crumbles with low-fat yoghurt.

Recipe courtesy of our Dietician Partners, Nutted Out Nutrition

Crispy Skin Salmon Recipe with Healthy Sides

This week we turn to Pinnacle’s April Ambassador, Joelle for kitchen inspiration…

Crispy skin salmon with parsnip purée and kale chips


  • 1 salmon fillet
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • A handful of green beans
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 milk (I use lactose free)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


1. Peel and roughly chop your parsnip into small pieces and place into a saucepan with boiling water until soft.

2. Cut the woody bits of the kale off, wash and dry thoroughly. Place onto a baking tray and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and put the tray into a pre-heated oven (170-180c) and bake until crispy (approx 15min).

3. Scale and clean your salmon and dry thoroughly with paper towel. Season the skin with salt and pepper (be generous because the salt will help it crisp up). Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the fry pan and heat to a medium heat. When the oil is hot place the fish skin down in the fry pan. To prevent it from sticking shake your pan every now and then. The salmon will be ready to turn when its soft pink colour starts to get nearly halfway up the fish (3-4min). Turn the fish over and cook for a further 2 minutes. Take off the heat and rest for 5 mins (it will continue to cook whilst resting).

4. Remove parsnip from saucepan and keep the hot water. Place parsnip in a good processor with 1/2 cup milk, 1 clove of grated garlic, 1 teaspoon of butter and salt and pepper to taste. Process until you get a smooth consistency.

5. Blanche your beans in the boiling water for no more than 1 minute.

6. To plate, smear your parsnip purée on your plate, place your beans on top and your fish on top of the beans. Kale chips are just as delicious on the side or great on top of the fish for that extra bit of crunch. Enjoy!

Thanks JoJo! Sounds delicious, we can’t wait to try this one ourselves. 

Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad Recipe

Whether you’re wanting new ideas for Meatless Monday or simply want to swap your lunchtime sandwich for a hearty salad, here’s a yummy recipe from our Dietician Partners, Nutted Out Nutrition that will tick all the boxes!

Serves: 4


  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained, patted dry
  • 2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup flat parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mint, chopped
  • 80g reduced fat feta


  • Put cauliflower and chickpeas in a large bowl, put in curry powder and olive oil.
  • Mix well until evenly coated.
  • Roast in the oven on 180oC for 30 minutes or until golden.
  • Toast pine nuts in a small pan over low heat until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Using the same pan, heat it over medium high heat, simmer currants in red wine vinegar for 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
  • Combine all ingredients in a salad bowl with the herbs. Sprinkle with feta
  • Serve & Enjoy!

Protein-Packed Autumn Smoothie

Fill up on the good stuff at breakfast time so that you feel fuller for longer and don’t find yourself reaching for the snack draw at 10am.

Protein-packed meals – like this healthy Autumn protein shake – will help keep you lean in a season when many people find it more difficult to stay in shape.

Serves 1


  • 1 Weetbix
  • 1tbs peanut butter
  • 1 banana
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup low fat Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 3-4 blocks of ice


  • Blend all ingredients in a blender or nutribullet
  • Serve and savour the deliciousness!

Recipe courtesy of our Dietitian Partners, Nutted Out Nutrition – thanks ladies!