Why we LOVE Tabata Workouts

Just like you, we get challenged to find time to fit in a good workout weekly.  There will always be the excuse to bag the goal (of at least 30 minutes) of daily movement or exercise.  But what happens when we can't commit to 30 minutes or more a day?! What should we do then? 

Our intern, Kara, shows us how to do a perfect squat!

Our intern, Kara, shows us how to do a perfect squat!

First, let’s just ground ourselves in the fact that we need to be doing something that we enjoy, or it's very likely that we will not be successful with our goals of movement every day. We all favor certain activities. For us, we love to add variety into our routine; for us, it needs to be a "must love" activity, or it just ain't gonna happen (no matter how strong our conviction to move is)!

We both love yoga, especially those end of the week Friday night sessions. It is such a great way to release the week and celebrate a solid week of good work.  We also enjoy a few sessions of weight lifting to build muscle, which we know helps improve our metabolism and improve our bone density.  Plus, isn’t strong the new sexy?! We say yes! With the nice weather coming in Minnesota, we love to get outside for nice trail walk or hike. What a great way to get movement and self care all at once. Fresh air, smelling the flowers in bloom,  movement and Vitamin D... we call that a win!

Then life happens and that 30 minutes or hour you had carved out to get moving gets snatched away with work deadlines, weekend chores or the brunch that is a must with your SO or BFF. This is when we welcome the Tabata.  Well actually, we  love to hate it!

Here's a little 101 on Tabata:

  • Tabata is a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout that can be done using just about any equipment or just your body weight.  
  • The idea is to workout at full intensity for 20 seconds, recover for 10 seconds and go again for a minimum of three rounds, five preferably.  
  • Tabata is generally not recommended for beginners or those of us who have stepped away from our movement regimen for a period of time.

We have to admit we hate the thought of five minutes of serious high intensity, no holds bar, kick ass, get it done, rip your heart out sessions. And you know you have killed it when you're sucking wind and seeing stars (well within reason)! Hate it yes, but we love it too!

As much as we hate the truth of the hardest five minutes of the day waiting to kick our butts, we love, love, love the fact that we will be done in ten minutes (includes a brief warm up and cool down).  And there is never a day we can not find ten minutes, no matter how hard we try to find an excuse to say no.  What we love even more than being done, is the amazing health benefits. Fat loss through increased metabolic rate, muscle tissue retention/building muscle, anaerobic and aerobic capacity increase and, of course, time savings.

Kara shows us an elbow plank. Remember to keep your butt up and your back flat! 

Kara shows us an elbow plank. Remember to keep your butt up and your back flat! 

There is so much supporting clinical research that proves a five minute Tabata session has the health benefits equal to a thirty minute cardio session. If you have time check out the One Minute Workout book by Martin Gibala, he packs this book full of research supporting the benefits of Tabata and shares results of comparative research to standard cardio protocols.   A particular side benefit is that there are so many Tabata protocols designed that you can easily do a bodyweight workout in your hotel or small apartment.  One of our favorite series can be found here by Pop Sugar, but really all you need to do is Google 10 minute body weight tabata and bam, you have endless options and no excuses!