I really don't like exercising. And I still try to find every excuse to not do it. "I have a headache... I have to wash the toilet... The kids are awake... The cat needs a bath..."
But to realize my goal of 24% bodyfat, I knew I had to get moving. Eating clean and healthy alone won't cut it. Exercise is needed to build bone density, sculpt and maintain muscle, and of course, burn fat, among other things. And without it, any benefits of any healthy diet will stall. This, I know from experience.
But not just any exercise program would do if I wanted to be successful. I had to design one that fit my lifestyle and preferences...
(1) short - My morning yoga and occasional hula practices get interrupted often by the kids because they take more than the 10 minutes needed to feel any benefits.
(2) something I can do at home - Getting dressed and traveling all the way to a gym takes too much time, effort and money.
(3) something that doesn't need equipment - I like mat work... I hate weights and machines.
And I want a million dollars!!! Yeah, tall order... :)
But according to the Tabata Method, it's not.
The Tabata Method is the 4-minute HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout named after Dr. Izumi Tabata at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan. Dr. Tabata's group found that these short intervals of hard exercise followed by rest are highly effective in strengthening aerobic functions and burning fat without compromising lean muscle.
Here's how it works:
(1) 20 seconds: Perform an exercise for as many reps as possible - but don't be sloppy... always use proper form!
(2) 10 seconds: Rest
(3) Repeat steps (1) and (2) again 7 more times.
Done right, this workout should leave you huffing and puffing and covered in sweat.
Please note that this is a very intense 4 minutes. Dr. Tabata - and I - stress that this type of exercise is not for the obese or for those with existing health problems, so see your healthcare professional before starting this or any other exercise program.
One of my most favourite things about this workout is that it's highly customizable. Here's mine:
Interval 1 - pushups (chest and arms)
Interval 2 - squats (legs)
Interval 3 - v-sit rotations (abdominals)
Interval 4 - breast stroke prep (back)
... then I repeat the entire cycle once. At the moment, I do this workout once a week... I really need the recovery time between!
If you want to try this out and customize your own routine, be sure to do your research as not all exercises are suited for Tabata.
27 January 2008
TAGS: fitness + health