TABATA whaaaa? who?

Okay but seriously… One of the questions I get CON. STANT. LY. is “what simple exercises can be done at home?” Of course there are a bunch I can rattle off. I’m sure you guys reading this are even thinking of a ton in your head right now. My issue with this question is that I can tell someone all these simple, equipment free exercises they can do at home but that usually means little to nothing…

Think about a time where you decided to do a “simple at home workout”. Let’s just use the basic things like push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, squats, planks, or whatever tickles your fancy. So you set out to do these pre-determined 5 sets of 30 crunches and 30 squats… You do the first 30 crunches and then it seems like a good idea to lay there for 5 seconds to catch your breathe. That 5 seconds turns into 30 and then you start your squats and that same thing happens after those are completed. You sit down on the floor to do your crunches and then maybe you feel like you just HAVE to change the song on your iPod and then… Well you get the picture. We are all guilty of this at some point.

So what is the problem with that not so pretty little picture I just painted for you? The fact that, yes even though the exercises are being completed, did that person’s heart rate spike even once? I can basically guarantee not. Progress isn’t made, muscle isn’t toned, and FAT IS DEFINITELY NOT BURNED without an increase in your heart rate… Unless you have some magic potion that you aren’t sharing with the rest of the world… And if that is the case you are a bad person and someone should have taught you that sharing is caring when you were a child hahaha…

Okay okay okay I realize you guys are probably sitting there like WHAT IN THE WORLD DOES ANY OF THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THAT RIDICULOUS WORD IN THE TITILE?!! Curb your frustration my little fitness hungry darlings. I am getting there… riiiiight…. now!
Ahhhh Tabata tabata. My darling tabata…
That my friends is one of my favorite words. Say it, savor it, learn it, love it.

Basically, TABATA is a way of exercising. It is not a specific movement. It is just a way in which movements, even the simplest of them, are done in order to motivate and spike heart rate.  Tabata basically just means you do 8 rounds of an exercise with 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off.  So, for example, if you choose squats you are going to do those squats at a rapid pace for 20 seconds setting the goal of seeing how many squats you can get in that time. Then you have 10 seconds rest. After which you IMMEDIATELY start the next 20 seconds of squats and repeat that sequence 6 more times. The trick being that you are aiming to maintain the same number of squats over all 8 rounds. This can be very deceiving my dears so don’t discount it as tough workout but that is why it is SOOOO AMAZING!

You can also do tabata style with multiple exercises. This is a good example….

The key to this all is really making sure that you are pushing yourself for the FULL 20 seconds. After all it is ONLY TWENTY SECONDS OF HARD WORK! SO STOP DOGGING IT BRO!
If you have an iPhone, there is an app that I have that is called Tabata Timer. Get it. Use it… I’m sure there is the equivalent to that on all other smart phones too so no you don’t have an excuse haha. If you don’t have a smart phone then I’m not quite sure what century you think you are living in? Kidding. There are plenty of other, traditional ways you can time yourself so stop pretending there aren’t.
Basically TABATA is the no nonsense, I-actually-want-results way of doing EXACTLY the same exercises that you already do. It forces you to race against the clock and push yourself further than you would if you were just doing these exercises at your own turtle like speed. When I say you can use tabata for any exercise I really do mean any exercise! Some will gas you a little faster than others so be smart about what you choose but I’ve used this at home for everything from plank and handstand holds to crunches and pushups to hang power cleans and push jerks. It is my absolute favorite way to get in my high intensity workouts when I cannot make it to my CrossFit box. Give it a try folks! I promise it will not disappoint. 🙂

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