Jessica Ennis-Hill's Jennis Fitness exercise programme has a series of Outdoor Body Blasts (OBB), which make a great outdoor addition to your weekly workouts. So, what is an OBB, why are they good for you and how can you try one today? Jessica Ennis-Hill explains all…
As well as doing my Jennis Fitness Circuits (JFCs), I try to get an outdoor exercise session in once or twice a week, which is something that I call an Outdoor Body Blast (OBB).
Within the Jennis Fitness programme, there are currently three varieties of OBB that you can choose from – HIIT Run sessions, Short Jennis-Hill Repeats and Sprint Diagonals. They’re all 29 minutes long or under, and each is tailored towards beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.
Research shows that when people spend more time outside, it reduces anxiety levels and improves mood
Why do you recommend OBBs?
In addition to being fantastic cardio blasts, exercising outdoors is proven to be great for your mental health. According to my coach Toni Minichiello: “Research shows that when people spend more time outside, it reduces anxiety levels and improves mood. It also supports an increase of serotonin, dopamine and endorphins, which are the feel-good hormones that help you feel calmer and happier, relieve stress and boost happiness.”
Add the endorphin-boosting benefit of exercise and an outdoor session (if you can fit one in) is a double whammy of goodness. The other reason I recommend OBBs is that they can add variety to your sessions, which confuses your body and helps you get fitter.
Want to know more about our three different OBBs? Read on for a brief overview. For more info on each, click on the link below each one…
OBB 1: HIIT Runs
These are bursts of running of different lengths and intensity, followed by short rest periods of slow jogging. (Don’t worry, if you’re struggling, you can walk or stand still.)
There’s a programme to follow but to make it super-easy, the sessions are audio-guided, so bring your running headphones and I’ll talk you through when to run, how long for and how long to recover. These sessions work because, like other HIIT sessions, HIIT Runs force our body to switch between anaerobic and aerobic systems for energy – fast-tracking biological reactions that improve fitness and cell health.
They are tough sessions and were always mega-challenging when I was training professionally – but they are quite fun in a weird way, too.
OBB 2: Sprint Diagonals
Sprint Diagonals were one of my favourite training sessions because they’re really simple and really effective. What’s even better is that they use the markings of a football pitch to let you know when you should sprint and when you should jog, so you don’t need any fancy equipment.
Just as with HIIT Run sessions, it works by alternating high-intensity exercise with recovery periods – forcing your body to adapt to different paces, which improves cardio efficiency. With the Jennis Fitness Sprint Diagonals, we have helped you adapt the session to your fitness level but adapting the number of reps and sets you do. You can find out more in the link below.
Running on an incline raises your heart rate, oxygen consumption and calorie burn, while also providing brilliant resistance training for your legs and bum.
OBB 3: Short Jennis-Hill Repeats
This is another favourite of mine and one that I still do regularly around the hills of Sheffield. In essence, Short Jennis-Hill Repeats are when you sprint up a hill as fast as you can, walk back down to your starting point, wait there until two minutes is up – and then do sprint up the hill all over again!
Hill repeats are a key feature of any training programme because they’re such a challenge to the body. Running on an incline raises your heart rate, oxygen consumption and calorie burn, while also providing brilliant resistance training for your legs and bum.
For the Short Jennis-Hill Repeats in the Jennis Fitness programme, we have adapted sessions to suit your fitness levels, so you can choose the one that suits you. All you need to get going is a a long-ish hill to challenge yourself up, plus a phone or a watch so you can time your rest periods after each sprint. This one is fun. Honest.