Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tababa and other Workout Adventures

One of my goals for the month of January was to try a new work out class at the Y that I have never done before. It may sound easy, but I've tried a wide variety of workout classes over the years. A few weeks ago, my friend asked me to try a class called Tabata. I had never heard of it, so I looked it up, and still not knowing much decided to give it a try on Tuesday night. 

It turns out, Tabata was developed by a Japanese scientist, who did some research and learned that high intensity exercise, even when short, is more effective than longer moderate intensity exercise. In Tabata Training, you have 20 seconds of high intensity exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This is repeated for 4 minutes, which is considered one Tabata session. Then, you have 8 sessions, so the whole work out takes approximately 32 minutes. If you are interested, you can read more of the back story of Tabata. 

From my understanding, this is basically all the rules of Tabata, so my class may look different than others, but here is what it looked like:

We needed 2 sets of weights, a heavy and a lighter, as well as a step used in a step aerobics class. We started first with a quick cardio warm up and then started on the first Tabata session. In each session we alternated between 2 workouts, a strength workout and a cardio workout. We followed the 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest throughout. We repeated each individual exercise 4 times, for 4 minutes. After the 4 minutes, we got a new strength exercise and a new cardio exercise to repeat. 

Some examples of the strength exercises we did are: bicep curls, tricep extensions, and squats with weights. For cardio, we did a ton of jumping: jumping up on the steps, jumping jacks, side shuffles, high knees etc. I had to modify some of the jumping after awhile because my knee was not impressed but it still felt like a good workout. 

At the end of the 32 minutes, we did about 10 minutes of abs and a cool down, so the entire class was 45 minutes long. It went by really fast because we kept changing things up a lot. It was very similar to a bootcamp class in a lot of ways, but I feel like we changed activities even more often, which I really liked. 

Other awesome gym classes I have tried include Urban Rebounding (my absolute favorite), Hula Hooping, Kickboxing, pilates (an old favorite I would like to start going to again) and Kettlebell Training. The only time I ever had a major gym class fail was when I went to "Boxing" when I was studying abroad in Australia. Though literally nothing else I did in Australia was healthy, I was a very consistent gym goer and I managed to convince a friend of mine to attend the "Boxing" class with me. For some reason, I decided in my mind that Boxing = Kickboxing. Well, it doesn't. It was ALL arms, no kicking at all. Ow. My arms hurt so much the next day I was struggling to take notes in class. I was sore after the Tabata class the other day, but still managed to continue on with my busy week without any difficulty. It was the good kind of sore :) 


Do you like to try out new workouts? What's your favorite class at the gym? 


  1. I have not tried Tabata workouts, but have heard great things about them! I don't belong to a gym so I would have to do it myself and I don't know if I have the discipline to really have an effective tabata session... We'll see...

    My favorite class to take at the gym is definitely bodypump. I like not paying for a gym membership, but I really miss having access to classes like that!

  2. I have never tried a Tabata specific class but I have heard lots about how awesome of a workout they are. The way you described it kind of makes me think of crossfit since you go HARD for anywhere from 8 - 20 minutes during a WOD. But it's not as much getting your heart rate up and back down, up and back down again.

  3. I've heard of Tabata, but never tried that kind of workout on my own. Sounds intense (in a good way). I'm not really a class person. But, if you ever have the chance, you should try Piloxing. One of the teachers at my son's school is a Piloxing instructor. I *think* it's a combination of boxing and Pilates.

  4. Interesting! I'm all about quick, efficient workouts so I feel like I would like this. I don't normally try new classes.. mainly because I'm lazy haha. You should try Pure Barre though, so put that next on your list! : )