Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tabata My Glutes Off

I felt like a veritable beast during my yoga teacher training. I was out there taking two or more yoga classes a day, running on the trail, and doing "core-ture" workouts. Get it, torture, core-ture. Not only that, I did other completely random things: hooping, acro-yoga, arial yoga, stand-up paddle boarding, and whatever else I could find that was free and not at some ungodly early morning hour. Having been transplanted to Austin just for training, I didn't have a job or family obligations to deal with. So I had all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted. Plus, it was nice that the friends I had made were right there next to me on the mat, trail, or paddle board. My yoga practice benefitted greatly through my recreation. I became strong and active because I had a well-rounded practice. I didn't focus on just one form of exercise, I balanced it out through cardio, flexibility training, and strength building. 

Now, I've returned to real life where I do have jobs, obligations, and so do most of my friends. My activity level had waned, not to mention the freebies here in Columbus are significantly fewer in number. Time and money got in the way and well, to be honest, the polar vortexes of this winter has prevented me from wanting to go outside at all. My well-balanced exercise regime have declined. While I can do sun salutations without breaking a sweat, I didn't feel an overall strength anymore.

It's made me realize how beneficial cross-training is. One person can practice running forever until they win a marathon. But for me, I don't want to just win a marathon, I want to take a weekend off to go rock climbing, drop in on a yoga class, then try flipping myself through the air on a trapeze. But again, we come back to time and money. How can I continue my badassary if I don't have the means to do so yet?

One word: tabata. For those in the know who I've talked to, it basically strikes fear into their hearts. Really, I should be terrified of it as well but we're still going through that delicious honeymoon period where I'm all, "This only takes 20 minute and I've burned off that slice of cake I just shoved in my mouth!" and tabata's all like, "Aww, this girl's really into me even though everyone else is scared of me. We must have something real!" Give me a few more weeks, then we can talk.

Basically, tabata is like a high intensity interval training exercise. You do various exercises and plyometrics at high speed for 20 seconds with 10 second breaks in between for 4 minutes for a total of 4 rounds breaking for 1 minute in between. With me so far? To be fair, I'm still very new to this and don't know very much about it. However, I do know that it has been an awesome addition to my practice and it only takes about 30 minutes altogether with warm ups and cool downs. 

Here's the first tabata work out that I've ever tried and that got me hooked on this whole idea. I begin with a set of pretty vigorous sun salutations to stretch out my muscles and get my heart going. Any cardio exercise is fine, whether it's running, biking, or getting a heart attack. Just kidding. Then, I did two sets of each round, totaling in four sets with one minute breaks in between. 

A timer is necessary to help keep track. I use my regular iPhone stopwatch but there are special tabata apps that can help you. Set it for 4 minutes for the first set and do each exercise for 20 seconds, taking 10 second breaks in between. At the end of the first set, take a 1 minute break, then repeat the first set. Do again with the second round for two sets. 

Then cool off. I walk around a little bit to get my heart rate and my shaking legs, oh my shaking legs, back under control. Then, I finish off with some yoga poses that stretch out my hamstrings, quads, glutes, and side body. Pyramid pose, side triangle, half split (or full,) lizard, and low lunges are pretty good. 

Many tabatas vary slightly in timing and exercise. This is what works best for me and I've modified it with different exercises, adding weights, alternating abs moves to keep it well-rounded. Just a quick Google or a search on Pinterest will yield so many options. Plus, the weather is finally beginning to warm up, so that just means I get to take this outside and try some of the sprinting moves!

How do you keep yourself in shape and balanced? Do you cross-train or prefer to stick with one type of exercise?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Beatrice! I'm Heather and I have a quick question about your blog that I was hoping you could answer! If you could email me at Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com I would greatly appreciate it!