Whata is Tabata?

Whata is Tabata?

Well, Tabata is a super fun word to say (yep, I’m smiling like Will Ferrell in ELF).  Tabata. Tabata. Tabata.  Say it three times fast, click your heels together, and voila, YOU’VE GOT A SUPER BANGIN’ BOD!!!!!

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Did it work?

No?!?!?

Maybe you should try again…

Ok, ok, Tabata doesn’t work quite like that.

How does it work?

Tabata is just one, in a list of 5.895 BILLION, workout styles.   Tabata also falls under a popular style you may have heard of before, high intensity interval training (aka- HIIT).

Tabata gets its super fun name from Dr. Izumi Tabata, a Japanese scientist.  He and a team of researchers discovered the benefits of this style of workout at the National Fitness Institute in Tokyo.

Dr. Tabata found that:

  • 4 minutes of Tabata = 60 min jog (same # of calories burned)
  • High-intensity exercise is more effective than moderate-intensity exercise at improving BOTH aerobic & anaerobic capacity.
  • The body burns calories for up to 12 HOURS after a Tabata workout

Tabata, when done right, is INTENSE*!

*If you are new to this whole working out thing, don’t let that scare you away. You can still give Tabata a go…Just LISTEN to your body. 

How to Tabata…

To perform a true Tabata workout :

  • 10 minute warm-up
    • This is IMPORTANT! Warm up those muscles.  Get those juices flowing.  Don’t skip this step!
  • 20 sec of HIGH-INTENSITY movement
    • Seriously, HIGH-INTENSITY…SWEAT IT OUT!!! You got this!
  • Follow with 10 second rest
    • It will be the shortest 10 seconds of your life!  I promise!
  • Repeat for 8 rounds
    • As long as your body can handle it, just LISTEN to your body!! (I like to say that…have you noticed?)

Yep that’s it 4 minutes.  Just 4 minutes.  These should be the most intense 4 minutes of your life.  If not, go HARDER the next time!

Can’t make the 4 minutes?!?  Don’t sweat it…ok well, you aren’t going to be able to help the sweat, but it’s ok if you need to do 4 rounds, or 2 rounds for that matter. This workout style is TOUGH!!!!

How NOT to Tabata…

Although short, this workout is not meant to be easy. If it is easy, you are doing it WRONG!

Do NOT skip your warm up (For real, just DO IT….don’t get an injury b/c you are TOO TOUGH or TOO BUSY for a warm-up!).

True Tabata does NOT work with EVERY exercise.*   (Yes, you can do ANYTHING for 20 seconds…but you gotta make sure it’s INTENSE!  Depending on your ability, it may be hard to push certain exercises to the intensity you need to get true Tabata results.)

*Unless you’re that person I talked to earlier…the beginner, or the beginner-again (like me the 101st time I went back to working out after a loooong hiatus).  For you, my friend, I have good news and bad news.  Good news!  If you haven’t been active pretty much ANY movement is gonna be intense for you!  Bad News!  If you haven’t been active pretty much ANY movement is gonna be intense for you! 😉

Now you know, so…

Get on it!!  Seriously, quick and efficient, Tabata is an awesome workout style to add to your fitness arsenal.

Not sure where to start?

To get you going here’s a list of Tabata-friendly exercises.

tabata-exercise-list Pick one and get started on some SUPA INTENSE 4 minutes!!

Need more?  Check out my infographic, 10 Tabata Tips.

 

 

 

 

Progress Not Perfection

Success…

Amazing.  Awesome.  Fantastic.  Incredible.  Invincible.  Inspired.

These words describe what I felt like after reaching my weight loss goal and becoming a personal trainer.

My life was completely changed by fitness.  I felt younger, happier, healthier…just plain AWESOME!

Years passed…

Obsessed. Critical. Self-deprecating. Labeling. Judgmental.

These words are what I allowed myself to become.

Never Enough

For YEARS I struggled with the issues above.  Instead of focusing on my accomplishments and how awesome I was feeling, I focused on my weaknesses and my feelings of inadequacy.

In my eyes, I never measured up.  I was never fit enough.  My arms: not defined enough.  My butt: not firm enough.  My stomach: not flat enough.  I needed more muscle.  I needed a lower body-fat percentage. I needed a better tan.

Nothing was ever ENOUGH. I was never enough.

Due to my constant need for comparison, I began drowning in negative thoughts.  I compared myself to every female I saw.  Ladies at Target, chicks in magazines, fitness competitors, skinny chicks, muscly chicks, girls at my gym, ladies at the grocery, TV stars…. You get the picture.

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So, I trained HARD in the gym.  Is that a bad thing?  Not necessarily, but…

Working out TOO hard or TOO often can be a bad thing.  Your body tells you when it’s had enough…mine was screaming for me to slow down, back off, REST!!  I just wouldn’t listen.  This mentality landed me a couple lovely shoulder and back injuries that haunt me to this day.  If only I had listened to my body, these injuries were entirely preventable.

My unhealthy obsession continued to grow.  I began to weigh myself… EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  If the scale had moved up…AT ALL…I would begin to panic, or feel like a failure.  Eventually, once a day was not enough.  I began to weigh myself every time I stepped into my bathroom!

I felt as if I had something to prove.  I was vocal about health and fitness. I ate healthy and made sure everyone knew.  I drank TONS of water.  I downed protein shakes. Ate loads of veggies.  Took my vitamins. Timed my meals. Planned my workouts in advance.  All the while, making plenty of time to judge others who weren’t as “dedicated” or “healthy” as I was.

Still despite all of I effort, it was never enough.  At least not in my mind.

I constantly felt like a failure.

Eating a bad meal? That one bad meal would ruin my whole day.  Eating ANYTHING not considered “healthy” made me feel an overwhelming sense of guilt.  I would berate myself.  I’d call myself names while looking disgustedly at my reflection.

My thoughts: “Ooooooo, you had a piece of chocolate cake?!?!  Throw in the towel, fat kid!”

Missing a workout?  I would worry about the weight I would put on because of that missed workout.  Missing one workout made me feel like a phony.

My thoughts: “Personal Trainer?!?  You can’t even get your own ass to the gym!  You are a joke!”

I had an ALL or NOTHING mentality.  If I failed miserably at one meal, I’d follow up with even crappier eating choices the rest of the day.  If I missed a workout, I would miss five.  Makes sense right?!?!  (Why the heck do we do this crap to ourselves??)

your-journey-toward-your-health-goals

Why???

What started out as a journey to freedom, became my own personal prison.  I was not free to live.  I had to stick to a certain diet.  A certain workout.  A certain number on the scale.  A certain persona.

At some point, I began to come to my senses.  I began to think, WHY?  Why am I so concerned about how other people view me?  Why am I so hard on my body?  Why is this no longer fun for me?  I was letting my comparison mentality rob me of who I was.  Of my goals.  My desires.

My health and fitness journey began as a way for me to better MYSELF.  Not to impress anyone else.  I go to the gym for me!  I eat well for me!

My journey is just that…MY journey.

People-pleasing used to run very deep in my DNA.  So it’s a disease that I’ve had to work hard at curing. I am slowly, but surely, cutting this mentality out of my life. Trying to measure up to someone else, trying to meet someone else’s expectations, trying to be someone you aren’t…All those things are ridiculous, and not to mention, EXHAUSTING!!!

Shaking off that mindset, feels like coming alive.  Many of us live daily under the weight and baggage of social constraint.  Why?  Why do we let society dictate our “norm”?  Have you seen the state of our society today?  WHY would we want to let THAT dictate who we are?!?!?!?

News Flash:  This isn’t high school anymore.  Time to leave the childish thought processes behind.  Time to grow up. Time to live life for YOURSELF!  Who the hell cares if you’re the cool kid?  Who cares if you are the most good-looking? Who cares if you are the strongest? Fittest? Most disciplined? Who told you that you had to be defined by a number on a scale?

So what if you don’t look/act like everyone else.  You are YOU!  You are not better than anyone, and there is NO ONE better than YOU!

just-be-you

Finding Balance

Ongoing theme of my life at the moment = “Finding Balance”.  Why do I want balance so much?  A balanced life = a happy life. Sounds easy enough right?  Ha!

In order to find balance, I had to completely change.  Not my diet.  Not my workouts.  Not my beauty routine.  Instead the thing that needed the most change was my mindset.

I began to view my life as a whole.  Fitness and nutrition are just two of the puzzle pieces that make up my life.  Just two words in the definition that is Kristal.  I am so much more.  Taking a step back, looking at the big picture, makes it much easier to see where adjustments must be made.

I want a life filled with peace and happiness.  I want a life that makes my heart smile.  I found that the negative vibes I was drowning in were coming directly from me.  My own thoughts toward myself and my body were poisoning my life.

So I threw out the scale (ok,ok…it’s still around, just not easily accessible).  And now, instead of beating my body up about not looking up to par, I thank my body.  I began to allow myself to feel comfortable in my own skin.  I accept that I am flawed.  We all are.

It’s ok.  I’m ok.  You’re ok.

The key, to overcoming this negativity, lies in knowing you are amazing.  Your body, no matter the shape or size, works miracles for you every day.  Mine has done some pretty awesome stuff:  run miles, jumped hurdles, hiked a few mountains, and given me five amazing kids.

Balanced Eating

Here’s a secret: there is no miracle diet.  No juice cleanse, no Dr. Oz concoction, no cabbage soup or lemon drink  is going to make you healthy.  You may lose a pound or two, but nine times out of ten you are gonna gain those pounds back and they will bring their friends. You’ll end up weighing MORE than you did before starving yourself in the name of “detox”.

Your body needs FOOD. Eating is a GOOD THING!  Just remember…. Find balance…

For me balance in nutrition is not about finding the perfect diet.  Instead it’s about being mindful of my choices.  I try to eat whole, healthy foods on the reg.  I stay hydrated and I still take my vitamins (just not the 52million supplements I thought I needed before).

The difference is, I also allow myself to indulge in the occasional chocolate cake, Starbucks coffee, and slice (or two) of pizza, WITHOUT FEELING GUILTY!!  I allow myself to live. (Funny, now that I allow myself to eat these things without guilt, I don’t eat them nearly as often!  Mind over matter?  Who knows…all I know is I LOVE that it is working for me!)

We are all SOOOO different.  That’s the beauty of life.  What works for me, may not work for you and that’s OK!  Find what works for you, find what balance looks like in your eating habits and roll with it!!

Perfection is a Myth

Before I wrap up this post, I want to let you in on one more secret.

Perfection doesn’t exist. 

We are all human, it is in our very nature to be flawed.

Not one person, on this Earth, is perfect. 

I have a friend who runs an awesome personal training studio in West Georgia.  His motto is, “Strive for progress, not perfection”.  I LOVE THAT!  I’ve made it one of my mantras.

strive-for-progress-not-perfection-1

Progress!!  It’s all about the progress…Keep striving for progress.

Maybe you aren’t the super fit guy/gal at your gym.  Maybe you’re not be the skinniest person in your circle of friends.  Maybe you LOVE pizza and ice cream way too much.  Maybe you’re not be at goal weight.  Maybe you aren’t society’s idea of beautiful.

Let me tell you right now…

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!!*

(*Unless you are ugly on the inside, that’s an entirely different can of worms…a post for another day? Ha!)

What matters most is…YOU are YOU.  Be true to who you are.  If what you are doing is not making you happy, STOP doing it.  If the people that you are associating with don’t see your worth, find a NEW circle of support.  You are in charge of your life.  Stop letting society and negative thought patterns tell you otherwise.

Fail, Fail and Fail Again

My last tidbit of wisdom on this topic: Don’t be afraid to fail.

We all fail.  We all eat bad shit.  We all skip workouts.  We all have bad habits.  We all struggle.  It’s OK!!!

fall-down-seven-rise-up-eight

Don’t let your short-comings stop you from being who you were destined to be.

You my friend are DESTINED to be happy, healthy and balanced: Mind, Body and Soul!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50 Reasons Exercise = Magic

I’m constantly saying, “Don’t you wish there were a magic pill you could take that would immediately make you healthy, happy, and HOT?” You may be laughing but I bet you’ve said the exact same thing!

I’m happy to inform you today that there IS a MAGIC PILL!!!  One that cures just about anything that might ail ya!  One that EVERYONE has access to!  One that has NO nasty side effects!  One that is FREE, even if you don’t have awesome insurance!  One that begins working IMMEDIATELY!

Yep, you guessed it…EXERCISE = MAGIC PILL!

Look, I know this is not rocket science.  I know that most everyone on the planet has heard the benefits of exercise over and over.

My question is, WHY AREN’T WE LISTENING?

I  read an article in TIME magazine discussing the science behind exercise.  Exercise is scientifically proven to alleviate and aide in numerous body functions.  Exercise can regenerate neurons in the brain…holding off nasty disease processes like dementia and Alzheimer’s.  Exercise boosts your brain power!!

Exercise is really the FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH!  Who doesn’t want to stumble into that and come out with shiny hair, glowing skin and a toned, firm body??  I do! I do! Exercise reverses aging on a cellular level!

This information has my mind going in a million directions…

Why do we run to chemical medications to heal our body, instead of doing our best to prevent the illnesses in the first place?

Why do we fill our bodies full of junk and then expect them to function normally?

Why do insurance companies pay for preventative medicine, but not gym memberships?

If we know how to prevent sickness, if we know that exercise changes a person all the way down to their cells, why are the masses not taking advantage of this miracle cure?

The excuses are always hanging around.  Not enough time.  Too hard.  Not fun.

It’s time to kick those excuses to the curb.  Exercise doesn’t have to be a marathon. You don’t have to take on CrossFit or American Ninja Warrior workouts.  If you are new to the world of movement, start small.  Take a thirty minute stroll through your neighborhood.  If you are pinched for time, make it snappy.  Doing a 10 minute high intensity interval workout is just as effective as a longer, lower intensity, workout.  Do anything that makes you feel good, the only requirement = MOVE YOUR BODY!!

You are now my witnesses.  I am going to do my best to educate every person that I know about the miracles of exercise (even though that sounds super cheesy).  I am going to sing it from the rafters (ok, maybe not the rafters because I’m scared of heights)!  A magic, miracle drug is out there!  Waiting for you to take advantage of it!!!

Who’s with me?  Let’s dive into the fountain of youth!!!

If you aren’t convinced already here are 50 more reasons to get that body moving!!

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My Fitness Journey: Part Two

I’ve been a personal trainer for 10 years now…whoa…. it’s been a minute!

Thanks to personal training I’ve had the pleasure of working with some pretty cool folks! I landed my very first personal training job working for two professional bodybuilders John DeFendis and the late Mat DuVall (…talk about an intimidating interview! These guys are HUGE!). I owe my start in the business, and a lot of knowledge about training/nutrition, to them.  They gave me a foundation that to this day remains timeless.  In a world of fitness fads, they taught me that new isn’t always better.

Many trainers and individuals have served as inspiration for my fitness journey.  Each and every one of them pushed me to break past intimidation and reach for what I wanted out of life.  There is one trainer that does happen to stand out from the rest…

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Love this guy!

I met my handsome husband, Brent, at the gym.  He was a fellow trainer, just some crazy guy that tended to loiter in my office a little too long.   He and I began working out together and to be honest I stole a LOT of training ideas from him (shhhh it will be our secret).

Fact is, no one has been more inspiring/encouraging to me than my hubs, Brent (note: no one has ever driven me more crazy either!).  He has taught me tons in our crazy life together. He helped, still helps me, face my fears. My fears of not being good enough.  My fears of being left behind.  My fears of other’s opinions.  He taught me it was ok to fail (in & out of the gym).  He held my hand and led me to accept myself for who I was.

Enough of the sappiness…he also taught me proper form, weight-lifting technique, how to use hand wraps, the importance of having a decent spotter and a TON about eating to be lean. Brent is an old-schooler when it comes to fitness.  If you wanna know how to get the best physique quickly and efficiently he’s your man! He is responsible for the fact that I am, and forever will be, a lifter at heart. I mean for real, I like the movie Pumping Iron.  I blame him completely.

I have lazy days (ok, weeks).  I am a real person (with real shit to deal with). I work a full time job. I am no longer able to spend hours and hours at the gym.  But…

I still love all things fitness! While Brent is an old-school iron pumper.  I am random.  Especially in fitness!  I get bored with the same ol’ routines, same ol’ classes, same ol’ results.  I am constantly switching things up.  I am a lover of Crossfit, Yoga, Zumba, Kickboxing, Boot Camp, Bodybuilding, Tabata, Cycling, Hiking, etc.

I have recently been slacking off in my eating and exercise routine!  What a difference in how I feel.  I am dragging!!  I am logging off now, I have a hot date with my stairs…Look for a full body stair workout post soon!!!

I hope that by sharing my story I can inspire someone else to push past the fear! Take charge of your life! If I can do it, YOU CAN DO IT!!!!

Give me a shout out! Tell me about your fitness routines!