So this is Tabata at Flow Fitness Boutique in Riverview. Are you looking for a military-style boot-camp class that (literally) brings you to your knees? You know, a killer class with non-stop burpees, mountain climbers and planks?
Good. Neither am I.
But if you’re someone who’s interested in a high-intensity, full-body workout with enough lunges and squats so you feel the burn (without being killed by it) then read on.
I took the 11:45 Tabata class last Thursday with Leah. I’m not going to lie to you — I was apprehensive. As a runner, I’m used to giving my legs a workout. But the rest of my body? Not so much. My arms are weak, my belly is squishy and my balance, well, let’s just say I have all the balance of a three-legged table (my heartfelt thanks to whomever had the brilliant idea to put hand bars on treadmills).
A little background: Tabata is one part CrossFit, one part circuit training. It involves working out hard for 20 seconds then resting for 10, for a certain number of sets. It takes its name from the Japanese researcher, Izumi Tabata, who tested this high-intensity interval workout on a group of speed skaters and found that the athletes improved not only their aerobic endurance (cardiovascular fitness), but also their anaerobic systems (the building of overall strength and muscle mass).
What did I love about the class? The pacing. For 20 seconds we’d put everything we had into an exercise (crunches, weighted squats, side lunges — all the things you might find in any fat-busting, body-sculpting class). And then — and herein lies the beauty of Tabata — a 10-second rest.
I don’t know about you, but I can endure pretty much anything – natural childbirth, Chinese water torture, being forced to look at pictures of myself from 1985 — for 20 seconds if at the end I get a much-needed 10 seconds to regroup. After the round of exercises and rest periods were completed, we’d begin a new set of moves to keep us challenged and chiseled.
What else did I really love? Leah, and her expert way of explaining the exercises without overcomplicating them. She’d also demonstrate exercise modifications to accommodate those of us with knee issues or back problems. When I grabbed the ballet bar in the studio to steady myself while doing squats (see above reference to nonexistent balance), Leah praised my ingenuity instead of making me feel like a slacker.
When I found I could only do 90-degree squats instead of 180-degree ones (for a visual, imagine you’re in a squat position and then jump and rotate your body 180 degrees while holding the squat), she told me that it was completely acceptable — I was still working and toning my quads. Okay, so maybe I wasn’t making a full turn. But I was getting a full workout.
If, like me, you love the idea of exercise with rest, then give Tabata a try. It’s rigorous without being so ridiculous it will turn you off exercise forever. You’ll sweat. You’ll be sore. But you won’t be sorry!
– Donna Campisano, staff writer for Flow Fitness Boutique in Riverview
If you’re looking for another heart-pumping class offered at Flow Fitness Boutique, take a look at this article all about Boot Camp!
And if you don’t know how Flow Fitness Boutique came to be, here’s the story from owner, Kara Birkey